It turns out that a love of tug can pay off – if you’re a puppy with “swimmer syndrome.”
Duckie, the 5-week-old Labrador taken in by the Sacramento SPCA last weekend, has already started standing and taking steps, thanks to his enthusiasm for the game, according to the SPCA.
A video captures his first shaky steps and how tug is helping him use his rear legs.
The SPCA originally posted on Monday that Duckie would need “several weeks of therapy and love before we can help him take his first steps,” the SPCA said on Facebook.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to The Sacramento Bee
It seems that he’s beating the odds.
“We are very surprised, and thrilled, that Duckie is progressing so quickly!” says Sarah Varanini, public relations and social media specialist with the SPCA. “He has an amazing drive (especially for his toys) which is helping to speed up the process!”
Swimmer syndrome is used to describe a puppy who paddles its legs “much like a turtle” and can’t stand, according to The Mia Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps animals with birth defects. This is normally due to weak rear leg muscles.
Duckie is now the second case of swimmer syndrome dealt with by the Sacramento SPCA.