Cuda, Kingston, NY

Hi, everyone! My name is Cuda and someone bought me for $50 from a man in Jacksonville, NC, who kept making my mom have puppies and even worse, with her own family members.

The people who bought me was trying to find a home for me. They were at a gas station, holding me (I was about 5 months old then), when this woman came across us. This woman went on her phone and apparently got into a texting match with her husband because they already have four dogs at home. Her husband kept saying “no” until finally his last text back said, “Do what you’re gonna do because you’re gonna do it anyway.”

We never looked back.

Even though I don’t know that I’m different, when you look at me, you notice the differences. I’m a little white and black pit bull with a huge under bite, a tilted rib cage, a crooked spine, a fused neck, feet and ears that didn’t match each other, and a tail that looked like an accordion. But let my mom tell you a little about me and you won’t see those things anymore.

I’m sweet and gentle and shy. I didn’t say much the first few months in my home. I liked my new fur siblings — all 4 other dogs and 3 cats — very much. I had a hard time getting on the bed or the couch but I tried.

After a few months, I barked, I ran and I kissed my mom and dad. Everyone who meets me sees my beauty and not the odd shaped body that is wrapped around my heart.

I became an integral part of our family. By chance my mom caught a news clip announcing a dog with a curved spine had won the World’s Ugliest Dog Contest. She looked at me and thought, “I can top that,” so she entered me into the contest.

To promote me, my parents created a Facebook page and began a 10-month long campaign that quickly turned into a life-changing experience. By contest time my page had grown to 4,700 fans!

I carry the physical traits commonly associated with inbreeding, including weak rear “hocked” legs and my tiny size. X-rays show I have an enlarged heart and the vertebra in my neck and tail are fused. Still, despite my appearance, I show no sign of pain.

Since adopting me, my mom learned a lot about breeding. She learned that inbreeding and line breeding happens when breeders are trying for a certain color or other traits. When a litter is born, the “good stock” is removed, while the puppies that look like me are culled (destroyed), usually inhumanely because humane euthanasia costs money. She has learned this is common practice for many breeders and causes increased health problems.

There is one good thing about my unhealthy appearance; I don’t invoke “pit bull fear” in people. My appearance affords us the opportunity to educate people on the breed and expose people to the horrors of inbreeding. People who once thought shelter dogs were damaged have told my mom that I changed their mind and that they will be more likely to adopt shelter dogs.

My mom says the response I bring out in people is overwhelming. I make people want to find out more about pit bulls. My parents decided to have my DNA tested, and I came back a Staffordshire Bull Terrier. She is truly part of the world class.

In case you’re wondering, I never won the contest, but we did. As a recent transplant from New York to North Carolina, my parents had a hard time making friends and were so lonely. Through the common love of pit bulls and all dogs, they have made a network of friends we love. People thank my mom for rescuing me, but she said it is me who rescued her.

Everything seemed great until I got this thing called diabetes a few months ago. My mom once thought I was invincible and had beaten the odds of my twisted little body, but reality hit hard. Now I have to get two shots a day and I don’t like it. My mom gives me good treats while she gives me my shot. If I don’t take the shot then I get very thirsty and feel very sick. Mom says this can kill me. My parents don’t know what my future holds, so they love me as much as they can and will do what they can to keep me as healthy as possible.

My parents, along with friends they have made through my page, formed and we are determined to change the way breeders do business. Our goal is to require breeders to become certified through classroom education, inspections and cost to them to meet the criteria set forth in “Cuda’s Law.” We know this will be a difficult task, but because of me — a little dog that wasn’t supposed to be — we know we will achieve it.

No one knows how long I’ll live because no one has ever seen a dog like me. Some people look away and some people can’t stop looking at me but it’s only because my beauty challenges all.

I’m one little pit bull trying to change the world one breeder at a time. Thanks for reading my story!

Don’t forget to sign the petition for Cuda’s Law and check out my Cuda Gear!

Parents: Julie & Scott

Proceeds from Cuda Gear goes to help Cuda’s medical fund.