If you do a Google image search for the rather generic search term “dog,” the very first image you’ll see (out of 128 million others) is a photo you’ll swear has been Photoshopped.
It’s an image of a big, muscular dog that looks like it has been given a pile of steroids.
In fact, some captions say this particular pooch is the “strongest dog in the world.”
Alas, the photo is not a hoax. The pictured dog is a whippet named Wendy.
Why is this dog so ripped, looking something like a canine Arnold Schwarzenegger?
Well, it turns out poor Wendy has a rare genetic problem known formally as myostatin. She’s basically “double muscled,” and weighs twice as much as she should.
She’s bulging from all quarters, and has not just 6-pack abs but something more akin to a 24-pack!
“Wendy Is Doing Great”
“Bully Whippets” like Wendy are currently the subject of frantic scientific research.
These normally sleek dogs (cousins to Greyhounds) have a fearsome, knuckle-dragging “I’m gonna kick yer freakin’ butt!” appearance, but Wendy’s mom says she’s friendly and enjoys nothing more than a good back scratch.
Although the famous dog photo is no fake, there is a bit of a myth going around on the Internet: namely, that Wendy is some sort of covert canine spy for the Russian Army.
That’s ridiculous. Wendy and her mom, Ingrid Hansen, live in British Columbia.
“She doesn’t know she’s got a genetic defect,” says Ingrid. “She might give you a nasty lick, that’s all.”
I spoke with Ingrid by email last year, and Wendy, soon to turn 9 years old, is still doing well. Here’s what Ingrid told me:
“Wendy is doing great. She slowed down a little over the winter, but now with the good weather is gearing up again. She does still like to play and wrestle with my two poodles, and acts like a puppy when she’s doing it. Mostly she does what she has always done; sleep, eat and play whenever she feels like it.”