From the moment Anna Marie Giannini met Tilly, she knew the Tibetan Spaniel puppy was not like the others. There was something special about her. Anna Marie saw an online ad saying a litter of puppies was being given away, but one of them was odd.
That didn’t stop the young woman from getting Tilly. Different doesn’t mean bad. Different is good.
“When I arrived, they had told me one of the puppies was deformed, and they could not find her a home, which could lead to euthanization,” Giannini said. “I had already fallen in love with her and planned out our next year together in my head before he was even done saying that awful statement.”
So, what was wrong with Tilly?
Tilly was born with short spine syndrome. It’s a rare condition that affects her vertebrae and puts them under pressure, making Tilly look like she has no neck and a short back.
Giannini didn’t care about the condition. All the problems went away when she took Tilly in her arms. To her, Tilly was already so precious!
“When I got her, she was this dirty little fluff ball,” Giannini said. “She fit perfectly inside my hand, and as we drove home from where I picked her up, she lay in my lap and looked up at me with her big brown eyes, and I knew she needed me, and I needed her.”
As Tilly began to grow, her short spine became more obvious. But that didn’t mean she was left out. She was still friends with all the doggies at the park. She was like them, just slightly different.
“She was born with a syndrome, and just like humans born with a syndrome, her body has learned to adapt, and she is thriving,” Giannini said. “She has had no health issues or complications because of her short spine, and [we] expect her to live a long, healthy life.”
Anna Marie doesn’t see the short spine most of the time. Tilly’s as much a dog as the next one on the street. The only time Tilly needs some help is when getting on and off furniture, but she has special stairs for that.
Unlike other dogs, Tilly can’t scratch her back and nibble itches, so her mommy loves giving her daily scratches and massages. They both enjoy it!
And Tilly makes sure her mom knows she appreciates everything she does for her.
Tilly sits where Tilly fits #tillybean
“She sleeps in bed with me like a little human, putting her head on the pillow and tucking her legs under the blanket,” Giannini said. “She always has to be near me, touching me. When I’m cooking, she stands right between my legs. When I’m doing homework, she is laying right next to me with her paws on me.”
“Every hour or so that we’re home, she’ll randomly come up to me and give me kisses and then go back to laying down,” she added. “It is like clockwork. It’s like she needs kisses to function!”
Tilly’s unique look does make heads turn in awe on the street. Both dogs and humans look surprised when they see Tilly for the first time.
“Other dogs are usually intrigued by her and more gentle with her,” Giannini said. “Tilly does not care, though, and knows she’s capable of anything. She is definitely determined and wants to play with any dog of any size.”
Giannini has learned a lot from Tilly, and we can also learn a lot from this amazing pup!
“Tilly reminds me on a daily basis that I should be thankful for another day,” Giannini said. “Because of the unknown when I got her and her being so special and loving, I am very thankful I get to be the one to provide a good life for her and that I get to have all this time with her.”
“She constantly reminds me that being different is a special thing,” she added.