An adorable puppy with potentially deadly double-sized paws has his ‘fat legs’ to thank for finding him a loving home.
39-year-old Michael Swan adopted Sherman due to his large legs, which he said resemble those of Eddie Murphy’s character in The Nutty Professor.
The eight-month-old pup has lymphedema, a condition which causes a blockage in the lymphatic system – meaning fluid builds up in his hind legs, swelling them out of proportion.
The father-of-three, from Staten Island, New York, admitted the pitbull’s ‘fat legs’ attracted him to the dog, describing it as ‘love at first sight’.
If Sherman sustains a cut or infection to the area it could prove fatal, but Michael is determined not to let this risk limit his life – and wants to ensure the pup has his ‘best possible life’ for however long he lives.
Michael, a bus conductor, said: ‘Sherman is great, he’s a great big lug that’s for sure, we love him and it feels like he loves us too.
‘We noticed his legs will bother him if we run around a bit because he gets tired and will lay down.
‘But apart from that it doesn’t affect his everyday life, I don’t think he realises he has big fat back legs.
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‘I thought that if god forbid, he lasts only five or six years, I will make them the best years of his life with me.
‘If he gets a cut on his back legs it could be fatal, I don’t want him to stop running around or going through sticks though so I try not to limit him.
‘He could die if he gets a cut, I don’t send him into rose bushes but don’t want to stop him being a puppy and living his life.
‘I looked up the disease online, it’s something you see more often in humans than canine, but it’s what drew me to him.
Life as a pariah sees it
‘If I hadn’t seen those big fat legs I may not have honed in on him that day.
‘I take him on long walks in the wooded area and to the dog runs, I will give him the best doggy life that I can.’
Sherman, who at the time of rescue was named ‘Mikey’, was rescued by Fur Friends In Needs – a team that has being running for over two decades.
The condition has been caused by ‘bad breeding’ according to Suzanne Cappetta, 52.
Suzanne, from Middlesex County, New Jersey, was tipped off about Mikey through connections and decided to take in the dog.
She said: ‘I guess they were just breeders for money who didn’t want to spend money.
Why do they do that? When dogs kick after going to the bathroom, they are using the scent glands on their paws to further mark their territory.
‘The owner told my contact that he wouldn’t take the dog to the vets and that he could have him if he wanted, that’s when I was called.
‘I was told he had a swollen leg, which I thought maybe a sprain or something, but when I got him, I realised they were both swollen and knew something was wrong.’
While Sherman has since been on medication, there is lot research into helping to battle the condition, which is more typically seen in humans.
Suzanne said: ‘It was an exorbitant amount of fluid in his legs.
‘I was told it’s rare to appear in dogs, could shorten his life and that we had to be very careful to avoid it getting infected.
‘People often shy away from dogs with special needs but it’s not always as it appears, in the right hands love can perform miracles.’