She's a four-legged creature with two legs, which makes her kangaroo walk not an act for David Letterman's "Stupid Pet Tricks," but an invention of necessity. The 4-year-old Chihuahua recently won The Robesonian's Most Unusual Pet contest and the prize that goes with the distinction - $25 worth of pet supplies, and Page 1A publicity.
Using her tail for balance, Tiny, born with nubs for front legs, moves in short hops. A purebred Chihuahua, Tiny avoided being put down at birth.
"Somebody had a lot of compassion," said Myra Jones, who has owned Tiny for about one year after taking her by request from her previous owner.
Jones, 61, frequently does animal rescues, taking in pets of all sorts and finding them homes. Tiny was supposed to go to another owner, but not after Jones and her husband, Raymond, saw her.
"It took me 15 minutes to get over the shock," Jones said. "He just looked at her. We all just looked at her. We were amazed she could walk so good. My husband said, 'She's not going anywhere.' "
Other than being two legs short, Tiny is healthy - and like any other dog: She bounces like a canine pogo stick when she needs to go out or wants to be fed. When she wants someone to rub the tummy, she lies at that person's feet. When it comes to feeding, she gets nothing but the best, Caesar dog food, with the occasional Cheeto.
"Cheetos are her favorite," Jones said. "But we've got to keep her under 8 pounds."
Her two legs are sinewy and strong, but Tiny can't afford extra pounds.
Tiny's veterinarian, Bill Bosworth of the 71st Animal Hospital in Fayetteville, said Tiny's condition is rare but not unique. Her survival and ability to adapt make Tiny special.
"I think at some point, the dog's either going to normally develop and want to get out and walk around, and the brain figures out a way to get around, or they're not going to survive," Bosworth said. "It's quite possible the previous owner had helped develop (her ability to move) ... It's amazing what pets can learn to do when they need to."
Bosworth recalls the first time he saw Tiny.
"I had heard about Tiny and wasn't quite sure what to expect," Bosworth said. "I was kind of amazed at how well she did get along. She's a happy, healthy dog. She's got a good owner who loves her and takes care of her and that's all we can ask."
Dianne Lee, one of the owners of God's Little Goshen thrift store in St. Pauls, displays Tiny's picture at the store.
"A lot of people don't realize she doesn't have front legs when they look at the picture," Lee said. "They say, 'Oh, look at the puppy,' and I say, look a little closer, there's something missing."