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Lifestyle & Human Interest

Woman Starts Rescue for Special Needs Animals After Adopting Dog Born with Two Mouths

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Many people hesitate to add more responsibility to their lives, not wanting to bring on “more mouths to feed.” But it was precisely more mouths that got Heather Hernandez into rescue.

At first glance, Toad might appear to be mostly normal. A grayish, pit bull-ish looking pup, it’s when you see her head-on that you realize something about her is different.

Her ears look torn and hang unusually low, giving the 5-year-old dog the appearance of a Brahman cow. Her tongue is rarely in her mouth. But that’s not the weirdest thing about Toad.

On one side, where her ear should be, is a partially formed mouth. That’s right: there’s an opening with teeth that drools when Toad pants.

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“It’s attached to her esophagus and airways,” owner Heather Hernandez told News 9. “So, when she drinks a lot of water, when she runs a lot, she gets tired or excited, then it drools a lot.”

The mouth doesn’t work, and it has messed up her sense of hearing, but she also struggles in the vision and scent departments as well. Veterinarians have guessed that she might have absorbed a fellow fetus in utero, giving her these odd quirks.


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When mom catches you doing something naughty ??? ??? How could I possibly be mad at this face?! ???

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“Nobody ever knows what to make of it when we explain that she has a mouth in her ear,” Hernandez said.

“A lot of people say she’s ugly and I get it, I say it in jest,” she continued. “But ultimately, I think she’s absolutely perfect.”

While many people are put off by Toad’s appearance, Hernandez was drawn in, and now everyone knows that Toad is the ruler of the roost and Hernandez’s main pup.

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“Whenever I sit on the couch with all of my other dogs, everybody moves out of the way for Toad,” Hernandez admitted. “Everyone knows that Toad gets prime snuggle spot. It sounds silly, but she is very much my companion.”

Adopting Toad has helped Hernandez realize just what difficulties pups like her face when in rescues and shelters. Many potential owners are put off by strange appearances or requirements, and many perfectly lovable pups go homeless because of this.

So, she’s set out on a mission, and now runs Mutt Misfits Animal Rescue Society. “Part of our goal is we say we want to save the unsaveable,” she explained. They have homed over 300 animals to date, according to News 9.

They take in difficult cases, pulling dogs with major illnesses and broken bones that would likely be euthanized at county shelters, and give them a chance at life and love.

But Toad will always be top dog. “She came to me when I really needed her,” Hernandez said, “and I’ll never lose that part of my life.”

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Amanda holds an MA in Rhetoric and TESOL from Cal Poly Pomona. After teaching composition and logic for several years, she's strayed into writing full-time and especially enjoys animal-related topics.
As of January 2019, Amanda has written over 1,000 stories for The Western Journal but doesn't really know how. Graduating from California State Polytechnic University with a MA in Rhetoric/Composition and TESOL, she wrote her thesis about metacognitive development and the skill transfer between reading and writing in freshman students.
She has a slew of interests that keep her busy, including trying out new recipes, enjoying nature, discussing ridiculous topics, reading, drawing, people watching, developing curriculum, and writing bios. Sometimes she has red hair, sometimes she has brown hair, sometimes she's had teal hair.
With a book on productive communication strategies in the works, Amanda is also writing and illustrating some children's books with her husband, Edward.
Austin, Texas
Languages Spoken
English und ein bißchen Deutsch
Topics of Expertise
Faith, Animals, Cooking