When he faces you directly, Quasimodo looks as princely as any other German Shepherd. His masked, mahogany eyes betray fierce perception. Two aerials for ears stand forever at attention. He lolls his pink tongue like it’s a proud length of baloney.
Quasi is quite another story when viewed from the side. The Creator gave Quasi neither neck nor tail, as well as too few vertebrae in between. To put it bluntly, he looks like a cartoon character who has been tricked into running headlong into a wall that had been painted to look like a tunnel. Quasi’s condition is called “short spine syndrome,” and his perpetually hunched posture leaves little question as to how he got his name.
Quasi’s original name is a mystery. He was discovered in the woods of rural Kentucky. He was believed at first to be a feral dog, but his sweet disposition proved he had already cozied up to at least one other person in his past. It would have been rather easy for Quasi’s former master to pick their sweet, condensed dog out of a lineup, but they never stepped forward.
The Kentuckian animal rescue had a connection to Secondhand Hounds of Minnetonka, so he was whisked away to the caring embrace of Mother Minnesota.
“Quasi had quite a few medical conditions when we first took him in,” said Teri Woolard, neonatal program coordinator for Secondhand Hounds and Quasi’s keeper. “His neck was bothering him a lot, and he had some arthritis that we’re now treating with fish oil and other supplements. He also had a very serious problem in a … body part I’m not sure you want to print in your magazine. Let’s just say his neck is too short for him to reach certain vital areas which need regular grooming or else they might get infected.”
Fortunately Quasi’s masculinity was preserved in full. But how do you know when a dog with no tail is happy?
“Quasi loves to headbutt,” Teri continued. “When he wants attention, he’ll walk up to you and almost knock you over with a well placed headbutt. I care for Secondhand Hounds’ puppies, and he headbutts them as well. He seems to have a special fondness for English Bulldog puppies. Maybe he feels some affinity for them because of his shape?
“He behaves just like any other German Shepherd I’ve ever known. He’s a natural guard dog and sleeps at the door to protect us. You’ve never seen an animal more content than Quasi when he’s plunked down in front of the fireplace. He looks forward to going to doggie daycare every Wednesday. If we leave even a few minutes late he begins pacing at the door and barking. (How does he even know when it’s Wednesday?) And he adores going to the dog park to play chase – even if he can’t catch any of the other dogs, he still thinks it’s the greatest game ever.
“Quasi doesn’t know it, but he has brought a lot of inspiration to people. Parents of children with special needs watch Quasi running around having a great time, or happily taking care of puppies, and they see that having a disability doesn’t mean you can’t thrive.
“He has also become a wonderful ambassador to Secondhand Hounds. His ‘Quasi The Great’ Facebook page has over 350 thousand likes, which has brought a lot of welcome attention and donations to our animal rescue.
“Secondhand Hounds was founded by Rachel Mairose in her basement. In only 11 years we’ve grown from her home in Eden Prairie to have our own veterinary clinic, a huge network of foster homes throughout Minnesota, and thousands of volunteers standing by to help dogs and cats in need. We take in animals from all over the world, even as far away as China. Since starting out Secondhand Hounds has found forever homes for more than 20 thousand animals.
“But none of them are quite so special as Quasi. Maybe I am a little bit biased. I’m the one getting headbutted, after all!”
To see countless photos of Quasi in all his compact splendor, you need only visit facebook.com/QuasiTheGreat. To learn more about Secondhand Hounds and support their fine mission, please visit secondhandhounds.org.