By John Balson @JJBalson

A HUNCHBACK dog who found internet fame after being rescued from the street has found a loving new home

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Videographer / director: Jeffrey Fuchs
Producer: John Balson, Nick Johnson
Editor: Joshua Douglas, Ian Phillips

Quasimodo is one of 15 dogs worldwide known to be suffering from short-spine syndrome

Four-year-old Quasimodo is believed to be one of just 15 dogs worldwide living with short-spine syndrome.

Discovered as a stray it took authorities five days to capture Quasimodo

The rare condition has left him with virtually no neck but his new family say he is enjoying a new lease of life - and even earned nearly 100,000 likes on his Facebook page.

“I think that anyone who sees him falls in love with him,” said Rachel Mairose, of Secondhand Hounds, ​Eden Prairie, Minnesota, USA.

Rachel Mairose has been looking after Quasimodo ever since he arrived at Secondhand Hounds

“The first day I met him he was so scared and shy and I wondered if he was really enjoying life.

“I soon realised that he was. He is playful, he is goofy and he loves girl dogs. He thinks he is Casanova not Quasimodo.”

Quasimodo has to eat small meals due to his vertebrae being pushed together

Quasimodo was discovered as a stray in Kentucky and it took authorities five days to catch him in ​December.

They used a food trap to lure in the elusive German shepherd and found he had an embedded collar, which is where a collar is too tight and skin begins to grow around it, but they were able to remove it.

Rachel claims Quasimodo is not in pain even though he suffers from short-spine syndrome

On arrival at Secondhand Hounds, the most obvious cause for concern was his shortened body, which had left his head with virtually no support.

Scans revealed his vertebrae were pushed together and he was also missing a few. The resulting pressure meant he could only eat meals in small amounts otherwise there was too much pressure on his lungs and organs.

Vials of Quasimodo's blood has been taken for research into his rare condition

The condition, short-spine syndrome, is known in just 15 dogs worldwide, according to Secondhand Hounds.

In order to further research the condition, vials of Quasimodo’s blood will be sent to geneticists at University of California, Davis, who want to study the causes and whether it is due to inbreeding.

Quasimodo's condition means that simple tasks like walking down stairs is more difficult for him

But the main concern was to make sure Quasimodo was comfortable and not suffering.

Rachel, a mother-of-two, is confident he is not in pain and does not need to be euthanised.

The german shepherd however is just like other dogs as he likes playing and jumping

She said: “Quasimodo can do most things that a normal dog can do, with just a few limitations.

“He really likes jumping onto the sofa and the chairs, which I didn’t expect. He loves to nibble, he is very mouthy and he loves running and chasing after things.

The popular pooch has nearly 100,000 likes on his Facebook fan page

“He is definitely not in pain. He is a true German Shepherd - just shortened.

“He does have some problems going down stairs - he backs down them instead, and it’s quite cute to watch as I’ve never seen a dog do that, in general.”

Secondhand Hounds have received more than 1,200 offers to adopt Quasimodo

And thanks to his Facebook page Quasimodo has become something of a global celebrity - receiving nearly 100,000 likes to date.

Secondhand Hounds, which has rescued almost 10,000 dogs since opening in 2009, has also received more than ​
1,200 offers to adopt Quasimodo full-time.

Secondhand Hounds first opened its doors in 2009 rescuing 10,000 dogs since then

However, Rachel and her family are in no rush to move him on just yet.

She said: “He is a sweet boy. It is going to be hard to let him go.

Rachel and her family have no plans to give up Quasimodo any time soon

“We are just trying to find out about his personality so that we can make a perfect match for him.

“I urge everybody that hasn’t inquired about him to go to their local shelter and find a dog that’s a great match for them because Quasimodo is one of millions in shelters in the US and worldwide who need a home.”

Quasimodo's new found celebrity has helped to bring more attention to short-spine syndrome

For more information visit https://www.facebook.com/quasithegreat/ or http://secondhandhounds.org/