This permanent pooch-sized pooch is not short on love.
Two year old Ranger, a purebred German Shepherd, is not a puppy. His small stature is due to pituitary dwarfism, a genetic condition that occurs in some dog breeds, including German Shepherds, Corgis and Basset dogs.
Ranger's owner, Phoenix-based Shelby Mayo, knew she chose the hill's movement. when she found the petite puppy. But she did not know that he would stay so small forever.
"When we originally got the Ranger from the breeder, he was smaller than all his other littermates, but we thought it was because he had a parasite," Mayo told the South Wales News Service.
She treated Ranger for the parasite, but later found out he had an extra parasite, giardia, plus an "infection" in his throat, so Mayo took him to the vet for treatment. That's when she found out how special her sick dog was.
"During this time, the Ranger remained very small," says Mayo, "[And] the veterinarian had suspected that he may have pituitary dwarfism."
"Over time, Ranger still didn't get much bigger," says Mayo, who was eventually convinced that he had the recessive genetic disorder, which means both parents must be a carrier of the mutation, even if they don't exhibit it themselves .
Unfortunately, bad Rangers health soon went from bad to worse.
"After a few months we got him neutered and that's when we started to see big changes," says Mayo. "He lost his appetite, began to lose weight, lost almost the entire coat, and had extremely dry and flaky skin. "
On Rangers' Instagram page, which has nearly 66,000 followers, fans had warned his guardian that dwarf dogs were prone too many health problems, with some chips to help the pitiful puppy.
"One of our followers," Guardians Farm, "a small company that produces handmade soaps [and] lotions. … sent us goat's milk soap, which ended up helping Rangers skin tremendously, "says Mayo.
The following pet parents to dwarf German shepherds advised the Mayo family to stay on top of Rangers' thyroid levels as their kind tends to suffer from hypothyroidism.
Sure, a visit to the doctor confirmed that Rangers' thyroid hormones were low, causing his fur and appetite loss.
"After getting Ranger on levothyroxine and using soap, [the] fur grew back and the dryness disappeared," Mayo says.
Ranger will need a lot of care throughout his life. According to veterinary scientists at Utrecht University in the Netherlands, German shepherds with the rare disease are prone to various developmental barriers, behavioral problems, a compromised immune system and a shorter life span of usually no more than five years, although some are reported to have beaten the odds by reaching twice that age.
Currently Mayo that Ranger loves life: "He is healthy and happy who can be now and loves to jump around and play with his ball and tricky toys with his two sisters Hazel and Jessie."