This is a post I’ve been aiming to write for a while. It has sat as a draft on my computer since I started the blog, and today I felt it was the right time for it to come out. It’s the emotional story of a sweet whippet girl, Wendy, trapped in an oversized, overmuscular body.
Although whippets are generally a very healthy breed, there is one terrible genetic disease that can affect them – and only them – the “Bully Whippet Syndrome”. Although it does not affect their general state of health, this syndrome leaves the very few whippets who are born with it looking unusually big and muscular. Labels such as ‘monsters’, ‘freaks of nature’, ‘mutants’ and even ‘Arnold Schwarzenegger of the canine world” have been eagerly attached to these poor creatures by inconsiderate people who would undoubtedly call nasty names to humans suffering from any kind of physical disability or disfigurement.
But what is the “Bully Whippet Syndrome”? It is a genetic disease manifested by a mutation in the myostatin gene, which causes double-muscling. The myostatin gene regulates muscle mass and affects muscle composition, which can increase racing speed. Whilst possessing one copy of this mutation seems to be an advantage for racing whippets and does not seem to be regarded as a defect, dogs that possess two copies are severely overmuscled, well beyond the limits of normality. This makes them look like the cattle suffering from the same mutation, hence the name of the syndrome. Since I am not a geneticist, I will not plunge into the scientific details of this syndrome, which I don’t fully understand. However, if you are interested in learning more about this double-muscling syndrome – which can also affect humans – you will find an interesting article here.
With this, we’ve come to the end and most exciting part of my post. It’s time to meet Wendy and the woman who saw beyond physical appearance and loves her for who she is inside.