March 26, 2018 03:20 PM

Some pets leap into your heart, while others may slink, crawl or wobble. Antilles, an orphaned 2-month-old German shepherd-mix puppy, was in the latter category when he was first brought to the Helen Woodward Animal Center in Rancho Santa Fe, California — but not anymore! Thanks to the efforts of the veterinary team at this dedicated rescue organization, little Antilles has a bright future.

The pup arrived at Helen Woodward Animal Center on March 1. His furry little legs were so extremely bowed they could barely support his body weight. Vets were uncertain why or how this happened, even initial exams didn’t provide a clear answer.

“There were no fractures or dislocations,” veterinarian Dr. Stephanie Oba said in a statement from the Center. “It’s possible that he has a growth plate defect from birth or that there was malnutrition that caused the bowing. We will probably never know the answers to his past or why he ended up in this condition.”

Mindy Wright/Helen Woodward Animal Center


However, the vets knew Achilles needed a serious medical intervention, which included special splints, medical monitoring, and around-the-clock care, in order to help him regain movement and proper use of his weak legs.

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Mindy Wright/Helen Woodward Animal Center

Over the past three weeks, Antilles has been fitted with a medical cone and rigid splints on both front legs. These devices don’t allow much freedom; he couldn’t jump or play like a typical puppy. But the ends have justified the means. When Antilles’ splints were removed on March 19, his newfound, happy puppy spirit was in full effect.


Mindy Wright/Helen Woodward Animal Center

After a few challenging weeks, Antilles lept and celebrated, playfully cavorting around the medical office like never before.

“He still has a way to go,” said Dr. Oba. “We tested him for a few days without the splints and his legs still need them as he grows and forms. But the improvement he has made is remarkable. He has improved range of motion on his metacarpal joints and drastically improved strength which means he will eventually run around like a normal, happy pup.”

Mindy Wright/Helen Woodward Animal Center

You heard that right: A normal, happy puppy! The Center says this revitalized cutie will stay there for the next few weeks while it monitors his progress and he continues to receive medical care.

Antilles will be available for adoption once he’s cleared by the Center’s veterinary team. The puppy will also need regular checkups to make sure his legs continue to heal and grow. Anyone interested in adopting this special needs dog should think of him as a family member and plan on providing love and life-long dedication, just like any other dog would require.

Mindy Wright/Helen Woodward Animal Center

For more information about donating to Helen Woodward Animal Center, or to adopt Antilles, please go to, or contact the  Adoptions Department at: 858-756-4117 ext. 1.



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