Two-legged puppies defy the odds

Maverick and Moose, two Chihuahua mixes from Texas, don’t look like your typical dogs — due to a birth defect, both of the brothers were born with no front legs.

Dr. Erin Schults, Maverick, and Moose. (Photo credit: CNN)

Abandoned at Dallas Animal Services shelter drop box with their mother and healthy sister when they were only a few hours old, it was clear from the start that Maverick and Moose would have a long, hard road ahead of them.

With four legs between the two of them, veterinarians questioned whether or not the brothers would even survive.

The puppies, now spunky 6-month-olds, have surpassed everyone’s expectations. Not only are they thriving, learning to navigate the world on their hind legs—veterinarian and founder of the nonprofit rescue organization Mazie’s Mission Dr. Erin Schults, who has been caring for the puppies in her home since they were abandoned at Dallas Animal Services, says that Maverick and Moose play and wrestle with each other just like any other pair of puppies.

“They don’t see that they’re different at all,” Dr. Schults told Dallas CBS 11 News.

When she first met them, however, Dr. Schults admits that she wasn’t as optimistic about Maverick and Moose’s chances.

“At the very beginning they were just pushing themselves on their face,” Dr. Schults told CNN back in June. She describes how challenging it was for the pups to get around at first, saying that she often wondered if euthanasia would be more humane than allowing them to suffer in their condition. “The first three weeks I wasn’t sure if I was doing the right thing by, you know, keeping them alive,” she said.

But as Dr. Schults got to know Maverick and Moose, it was clear that they were not suffering, that the brothers were survivors. “In my mind, I was prejudice in thinking they couldn’t have a good quality of life,” she later told Dallas CBS 11 News.

Dr. Schults also knew that if the pups were to have a shot at a normal life, Maverick and Moose would have to learn to move around upright, using only their back legs.

To get the pups to strengthen their hind legs, Dr. Schults created a special slanted food bowl. In order to reach their meal, Maverick and Moose have to push off on their back legs and scoot up a short ramp, building their leg muscles and teaching them to balance.

“It encourages them to use their back legs to come up to get the food,” Dr. Schults explained of the specially-designed food bowl.

With Dr. Schults’ help, Maverick and Moose are now getting around the house and yard with ease.

“They absolutely have no problem with anything,” Schults said proudly.

Maverick and Moose now accompany Dr. Schults to visit the kids at a local daycare for the homeless, and she says that the brothers have become quite the stars at the facility.

“I think they teach the kids it’s okay to be different,” Dr. Schults said of Maverick and Moose.

The pups will soon be available for adoption, and Dr. Schults has received applications from as far away as New York. She has, however, grown quite attached to Maverick and Moose, the puppies that defied the odds and continue to inspire her and so many others, so Dr. Schults says that she isn’t quite sure when she will be ready to let them go.