Deformed dog named ‘Picasso’ becomes an internet star

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EUGENE, Ore. -- He was destined for euthanasia, but a rescue group saw a work of art.

Now Picasso, a 10-month-old pit bull-corgi mix who was rescued from a high-kill animal shelter in Southern California, is an international celebrity.

Liesl Wilhardt, executive director of Luvable Dog Rescue, the organization that rescued Picasso, said the bark around Picasso started after Luvable posted videos of him on its Instagram account. Other media outlets chased the story and now Picasso's out-of-kilter but loveable face has reached the eyes of thousands of people across the world.

Picasso has a misaligned snout that makes him look a bit unreal, like a subject in a Pablo Picasso painting. That's how he got his name.

But Picasso's breeder apparently has more traditional taste in art. Picasso and his brother Pablo were surrendered at 8 months old when the breeder failed to find buyers for the pair. The two were at high risk of being killed.

They were saved from death row by Luvable, a nonprofit animal shelter in Eugene, Oregon, that often takes "hard to place" dogs with medical conditions, like Picasso.

Picasso acts like any other dog. "He is completely not self-conscious about his looks and does not judge himself or others harshly on outward appearances," Wilhardt said.

Wilhardt said people from across the globe have expressed interest in adopting Picasso and Pablo, but the two aren't ready to leave the shelter just yet.

Picasso will have dental surgery to correct a painful condition caused by his misaligned snout. Then the shelter will evaluate what's best for Picasso and Pablo, who will be put up for adoption as a pair. Wilhardt said fans of the two should watch the Luvable social media platforms for updates.

In the meantime, the organization has received almost $2,000 in donations from animal lovers inspired by Picasso's story.

"Picasso could teach others what we share in common is more important than what is different," Wilhardt said. "People are the same. No matter where people are from, or what they look like, we are the same."