Hettie was born with a twisted spine. She wasn’t expected to live past the age of four. She’s now 10. When she runs, her back legs have to hop, her feet pushed together giving her some stability.
When she turns a corner, it is cartoonishly adorable.
Imagine, if you will, a highwayman of yesteryear sitting atop a wooden carriage. The carriage clatters along pulled by frantic, rearing horses. Hettie changing direction is both horse and carriage, careering around a twisting mountain pass. Her back end swings around, feet together and rotating under her. Her back paws continue to slide wildly across the grass while her front ones scrabble on the grass and her head dips low as she struggles to gain purchase. Then, just as her rear end hits that weightless lift of the pendulum swing, her shoulders bunch, her front feet plant themselves and she rockets forward again.
We do the same walk every day, but each time it’s like she’s exploring the most exciting new wonderland you could possibly imagine. She’s beautiful and determined and lovely, even if she does keep depositing animal vertebrae on the kitchen floor.