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SAN DIEGO — A German Shepherd-mix puppy who was so badly bow-legged that he couldn’t walk has come a long way since veterinarians began treating him at a local animal shelter, and now he has a permanent home.

Antilles the rescue dog has definitely had his share of trials, but his luck changed when he was brought to the Helen Woodward Animal Center on March 1.  A birth defect and possible overfeeding left his furry little legs extremely bowed. They could barely support his body weight. 

The vets at the Helen Woodward center monitored him and fitted him with special splints. Those splints were removed last month.

“First 30 minutes that the news story went out nationally, we just started getting calls from all over,” said Helen Woodward Animal Center spokeswoman Jessica Gercke. The Otsuka  family sent in an application that stood out and even included a PowerPoint presentation, Gercke said..  Their daughter Cassidy  has some health challenges of her own and Helen Woodward officials decided that Antilles and her would be a perfect match.

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“We’re super excited and happy haha,” said Cassidy’s mother, Desiree Otsuka. “I’m so happy I could do my happy dance.” .

Otsuka says she is grateful that Antilles is now part of their special family. She says the dog is a reminder tthat trials that don’t break us — they make us stronger.

“Everyone has their challenges and my own daughter, she actually suffers from absence epilepsy, which is a very unique condition,” Otsuka said. “She’s a little bit different, and she knows what it’s like to be a little bit different. And because of that, that really drew her to Antilles too, because he’s a little bit different.”

The news about Antilles went viral, and when the Blue Buffalo Dog Food company heard about him, they sent his new family a year’s supply of dog food.

“I think he’s going to live a very happy life and be able to run around like other puppies,”  Gercke said.