Anna Marie Giannini knew Tilly was special the moment she saw the Tibetan spaniel puppy. Giannini had responded to an internet advertisement for a litter of puppies being given away, but one of them was unique.
Giannini didn’t mind that Tilly wasn’t an ordinary puppy; she liked being unusual.
“When I came, they informed me that one of the puppies was defective and that they couldn’t find her a home, which may lead to death,” Giannini explained to The Dodo. “I had already fallen in love with her and planned out our future year together in my head before he finished delivering that dreadful sentence.”
Tilly was born with short spine syndrome, a rare disease in which her compressed vertebrae give her to have a disproportionately short back and no neck.
Tilly was placed in the arms of Giannini, and she couldn’t believe no one wanted such a cute puppy.
“When I acquired her, she was this dirty little fluff ball,” Giannini recalled. “She fit perfectly in my hand, and as we drove home from where I picked her up, she rested in my lap and gazed up at me with her large brown eyes, and I knew she needed me just as much as I needed her.”
Giannini told Tilly that she would never feel unwanted again.
Tilly’s short spine became more visible as she aged. But it hasn’t prevented her from following in her puppy buddies’ footsteps. “She was born with a condition, and her body, like humans born with a syndrome, has learnt to adapt,” Giannini explained. “She has had no health difficulties or complications as a result of her short spine, and [we] expect her to have a long, healthy life.”
Giannini frequently overlooks the time when Tilly is unique. The only time the small dog needs help is when she has to go on and off of furniture, which she does by utilizing special steps. Because of her inflexible spine, she can’t turn her head to scratch or chew herself. So her mother makes it a point to scratch her and massage her throughout the day.
Tilly makes it a point to express her gratitude to her mother for raising her in a caring home.
“She sleeps like a small human in my bed,” Giannini recalled, “with her head on the pillow and her legs snuggled into the blanket.” “She has to be with me at all times, touching me.” When I’m cooking, she stands between my legs. She’s always there next to me, paws on my lap, when I’m completing my homework.”
“Every hour or so while we’re home, she’ll randomly come up to me and give me kisses and then go back to laying down,” she continued, “it works like a clock.” It’s as if she can’t operate without kisses!”
Tilly doesn’t realize she’s strange, but her unusual look draws a lot of attention from both humans and dogs on the street.
“Other dogs are typically charmed by her and treat her gently,” Giannini explained. “Tilly, on the other hand, is unconcerned because she knows she’s capable of anything; she’s a determined young woman who wants to play with any dog, no matter how big or small.”
Tilly has learnt a lot from Giannini and wouldn’t exchange her time with her for anything.
“Tilly reminds me every day to be glad for another day,” Giannini added. “I’m grateful I get to be the one to give a wonderful life for her and that I get to spend all this time with her since she was so special and loving when I acquired her.”
“She continuously tells me that being different is a special thing,” she continued.