26 October 2010

Three extraordinary examples of animals walking on the wild side of life

For countless creatures great and small, walking on four legs is precisely what nature intended, and there are even quite a few members of the bird, primate and marsupial kingdom that take things in stride using just two legs. Every so often, however, there are unusual circumstances in which animals that are normally meant to hit the ground running with four appendages end up having to make do with just two.

Such is the case with a very special Chinese-born porker named Zhu Jianqiang (aka 'strong-willed pig') who – due to an unfortunate birth defect – was born without her rear legs. With regular balance training – in which her owner helped her to stand while lifting her tail -- the spirited piglet has remarkably learned how to walk on her front legs for limited periods of time. Now 10 months old, it appears as though the determined porcine has enchanted her guardian to such a degree that despite a local circus offering him a pretty penny for her, he refuses to part with her.

Eight-year-old Labrador-Chow mix named Faith shares equally inspiring origins. While today, she’s a poster-canine for disabled American war veterans, her story began with a sizable challenge. Born with a missing front leg as well as one that was severely deformed, the pup was initially rejected by her mother. Following amputation surgery and lots of TLC from her human adoptive parents, she learned to walk exclusively on her hind legs thanks to the motivational powers of peanut butter. Despite all odds, she now swiftly navigates her territory with the grace of a nimble little fox and serves as a reminder that beauty comes in all kinds of packages.

And then there’s LuLu. Blessed with all of her appendages intact, it’s not quite clear why the one year old miniature Pinscher decided to embrace a vertical approach to life, but she prefers perusing the Chinese city of Zhumadian alongside her guardian Zhou Guanshun solely on her hind legs. While such behavior might be deemed quirky, she ups the Vogue-factor by sporting a teddy bear dangling from a delicate chain around her right ‘wrist paw’ for a bit of puppy-panache while painting the town red. Talk about working it!

Video of Zhu Jianqiang:

Video of Faith:

Elizah Leigh | @elizahleigh
A dedicated green journalist and currently commissioned to write a comprehensive reference book on vegetarianism, Elizah Leigh hopes to inspire people through her words. Follow Elizah on Facebook.

Photo credit: cc: flickr.com/photos/oklanica