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German shepherd born without back paws learning to walk with prosthetics

July 22 (UPI) -- A 1-year-old dog born without rear paws is now learning to walk in Florida with a set of custom-made prosthetic legs and paws.

Dr. Marta Sanchez-Emden from the Animal Health and Rehab Center in South Miami said Ryder, a German shepherd mix rescued by Picolini's Animal Rescue in Coconut Grove, was born with incomplete hind legs.

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Ryder was rescued in April from a backyard breeder, and the rescue group worked with the Animal Health and Rehab Center to get the canine a set of prosthetic legs to allow him to walk properly.

"All his life, he walked like a kangaroo, with the stumps jumping at the same time. So we want to teach him, number one, that he can walk with his spine horizontally instead of down, like before, and that he can use one leg and then the other, like a normal gait," Sanchez-Emden told WFOR-TV.

Ryder built up his strength with water therapy.

"Before he would run a little bit, or try to run, and would just have to lie down because of his back or his legs would hurt," said Sofia Valverde, who runs Picolini's Animal Rescue.

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Valverde, whose rescue group is crowdfunding to pay for the canine's care, said Ryder is just as happy and enthusiastic as a typical 1-year-old dog.

"He's just full of life, a happy dog. He never really thought he was different from the other German shepards he was with," Valverde said.

She said Ryder is getting used to walking on his new legs and will soon be available for adoption.

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