Neurologist adopts ‘special’ puppy

Sopaipilla, or Pia as she’s called, charmed her weebly-wobbly way into the lives of many, though her path may have teetered one way and then the other.

At 4 weeks old, she was found alone outside and brought to Española Humane. After a few weeks in foster care, it became clear Pia wasn’t just a normal clumsy puppy finding her paws — something was wrong.

The veterinary team at Española Humane took X-rays and performed other tests, but everything was normal. Pia and her lopsided ears continued to wobble, and soon, she had the good fortune to wobble her topsy-turvy way into the Animal Neurology & Imaging Center in Algodones. The specialists offered a neurological exam and an MRI of her brain yielded unexpected images.

Pia has congenital malformations called porencephaly. The large fluid-filled pockets are suspected to be caused by a virus or trauma during development in utero, which means she was born this way and she won’t outgrow it.

The damage is so significant, it’s a miracle this puppy can walk.

One of Pia’s neurologists, Dr. Michelle Tensley, said, “she’s special and she always will be.”

Tensley and everyone in her family — husband, toddlers, dog and cats — fell in love with Pia. They decided to adopt her. “She’s the perfect puppy for a neurologist!” Tensley said.

Pia thinks sideway somersaults are fun, balance is a state of mind and straight lines are boring.