Detroit Dog Rescue seeks help for hermaphrodite pooch

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

When “Cody” reached Detroit Dog Rescue this week, the canine was in rough shape, showing signs of pneumonia, distemper and malnutrition so advanced the animal’s ribs were visible, rescuers noted.

But through closer inspection after being released from Detroit Animal Control custody Tuesday, the approximately 2-year-old silvery-gray pit bull mix proved to be even more unusual.

Cody appears to have male and female genitalia — making it a seldom-seen hermaphrodite pooch, DDR executive director Kristina Rinaldi said.

Statistics on the occurrence are difficult to track, but such an instance is “not something that happens very often,” said the dog rescue veteran, who has noted only one other previous case in a cat.

DDR operates the city’s first no-kill shelter and works to rehabilitate as well as find homes for animals in need. The group has fielded dogs from Detroit Animal Control, which has been working with similar rescue outfits to transfer canines in its care.

Cody was among four animal control transferred to DDR on Tuesday, Rinaldi said. The dog was listed as a male, but few details were available about the animal’s background or how city officials found it, she said.

DDR took Cody to Greenfield Animal Hospital in Southfield, where the dog was quarantined and tested positive for heartworm, group leaders said on their Facebook page.

The dog’s case was so unusual, hospital staff sought insight from Michigan State University reproductive specialists, Rinaldi said. Cody’s handlers are “absolutely in love with this guy,” she said. “He’s just a big smush-ball. ... He’s coming through it like a pro and we’re proud of him. He’s a great dog and he’s going to make a great pet.”

Once Cody is stabilized, the plan is to secure spaying and/or neutering before adoption and then hopefully have the pooch serve as a therapy dog, she said.

“I think maybe Cody is here to open up some new doors and get some conversations started,” Rinaldi said. “We always look for ways animals can help humans.”

As Cody recovers, DDR is seeking donations to cover the costs of medical treatment, which could reach $4,000, she said.

Anyone interested in contributing can go to

Some supporters have already stepped forward to help.

“Hope Cody can pull through and be given a chance at life he deserves!” one donor wrote on DDR’s Facebook page.

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