Hermaphrodite Staffie seeks special home

We’ve covered quite a few unusual dogs in need of a forever home on DogCast Radio, but I can’t recall one quite like Jodie before. Jodie is an older Staffordshire bull terrier, and as such is not an uncommon resident of a rescue shelter. But Jodie is extremely unusual in one respect – she is a hermaphrodite. This means that she has the reproductive organs of both sexes.

The RSPCA took Jodie in when her previous owner abandoned her, and they are now seeking a special home for her. The search is proving to be a challenge.

“While this doesn’t cause her any issues or difficulties, I think this is putting off potential adopters,” says Kathy Butler, dog coordinator at the RSPCA’s Essex South, Southend & District branch.

“Jodie has been with us for a number of months now and we haven’t had a single enquiry for her. It’s such a shame because she is a lovely little dog.”

It was RSPCA inspector Marie Hammerton from Southend, Essex who rescued Jodie in October. Marie took Jodie into the RSPCA centre where staff were surprised to realise that Jodie had both male and female reproductive organs.

"Hermaphrodites have both ovaries and testicles and this is rare,” RSPCA chief vet James Yeates says. “Some of these animals have a mixture of genes in their cells.

“It is more common for some males to have some female genitalia and undescended testicles, known as hermaphrodites. But it is also possible to get females with some male organs which would be known as pseudohermaphrodites.

“The word hermaphrodite comes from the Greek gods Hermes (male) and Aphrodite (female).”

And London veterinary director Caroline Allen said the phenomenon is “very rare”, adding: “I’ve never seen a case in 19 years of practice.”

Despite being an older dog – she is 12 years old – Jodie relishes going for a walk. However, despite her years she will need an owner who can work on her recall, or be prepared to keep her on a long lead. Being around large dogs can make Jodie uncomfortable, and the RSPCA has been helping her build her confidence by providing positive socialisation with younger, smaller dogs, with whom Jodie has seemed happy. The charity is looking for a home where Jodie will be the only dog, with no cats.

Kathy adds: “As an older Staffie with an unusual physicality, we think Jodie is being unfairly overlooked as we haven’t had any interest in rehoming her. She is such a wonderful dog that she really does deserve a happy, loving retirement home where she can live out her final years in comfort.”

If you would like more information about Jodie go to the RSPCA website, or phone them on 07749 175023. If you could offer Jodie a home use this form: https://form.jotformeu.com/40501581675352.