Woman Agrees to Buy Puppy Born with 'Missing Toe' After Breeder Discovers Claw-Like Paw (Exclusive)

"We knew that she had to come home with us so we could be sure that nothing bad would happen to her," Deanna Crowder tells PEOPLE

<p>dannahhgibb/TikTok</p> Phoenix as a puppy


Phoenix as a puppy

A Charleston woman is going viral for her story of purchasing a golden retriever whom a breeder said was "missing a toe."

In a series of photos shared to TikTok, Deanna Crowder shares how she welcomed Phoenix, a pure bred golden retriever, as a 6-month-old puppy into her home.

Upon bringing the new addition home and taking her to a vet, Crowder learned that the "missing toe" was actually the result of something called ectrodactyly syndrome — a limb abnormality that leads to a claw-like appearance of the paws.

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Speaking to PEOPLE, Crowder explains how she reached out to the breeder that she got her 5-year-old golden retriever from, to inquire if they expected any puppies soon. Two weeks later, she got a call back.

"We put a deposit down on the only male available," Crowder says. "There were two other females but [the breeder] called us about a week before picking up our puppy to notify us that one of the females was 'missing a toe' and he couldn't sell her or do anything with her."

<p>dannahhgibb/TikTok</p> Phoenix



As the breeder knew Crowder, he offered to give her a second puppy — the female missing the toe — for $200 (versus the $1,000 price of the other puppy).

"We contemplated for several days but knew that she had to come home with us so we could be sure that nothing bad would happen to her — so we ended up with two puppies," Crowder says.

<p>dannahhgibb/TikTok</p> Phoenix



After the initial visit to the vet, Crowder and her family learned that Phoenix suffered from the limb abnormality, which required a corrective surgery.

As Crowder explains in a video on TikTok, the bones in the affected leg were restricted and unable to grow correctly without the surgery.

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"Basically what [the surgery] does, they go in and they cut a part of that [malformed] bone out," she explains in the video. "The surgery was never on her paw. They told us she could live the rest of her life with her paw like that, it's not hurting anything. What they wanted to fix was her leg because there was a several-inch-difference leg discrepancy."

<p>dannahhgibb/TikTok</p> Phoenix's toe


Phoenix's toe

Speaking to PEOPLE, Crowder says that the abornmality is evident when Phoenix walks — though it doesn't affect her attitude.

"She definitely has an abnormal gait pattern with her limb discrepancy and her claw foot," Crowder says. "It certainly does not stop her though! She is the most high spirited, running around, little puppy all the time ... Our other dogs don't act differently towards her or notice anything different about her."

<p>dannahhgibb/TikTok</p> Phoenix



Crowder adds that for those interested in adopting or purchasing a dog with a medical issue like Phoenix's, it's important to turn to the experts.

"Definitely do research, and most importantly make sure you have a veterinary medical team that is amazing and knowledgeable about the condition and surgeries and options," she says.

"I'm so thankful for knowing people in the veterinary world, and also getting to meet so many amazing people because of Phoenix and what we are all trying to do for her. It really has been so amazing."

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Read the original article on People.