Hearts Melt as Puppy With Facial Paralysis Appears To Have Permanent Smile

This adorable dog might have a facial paralysis but he refuses to let it get him down, as the condition makes him look like he's permanently smiling.

Adri Pendleton, from the Netherlands, noticed something unusual about her dog Loki's face very early on as his mouth always seemed uneven, and then his left ear was always pointed to the side but didn't move like the right ear does.

When the smooth collie was 4 months old, Pendleton noticed the left side of Loki's face still wasn't moving, with his left ear always cocked to the side and sleeping with his left eye partially open. The owner started researching facial paralysis in dogs.

Testing her theory, while Loki slept she touched the left side of his face around the eye and there was no reflex or reaction as she did so. When Loki sniffed, she noticed that only his right nostril moved, the left stayed still.

Dog With Facial Paralysis Always Smiling
Loki pictured, showing the left side of his face which doesn't move. Despite his facial paralysis, Loki looks as though he's always got a smile on his face. @collieloki

The website PetMD notes that the cause of facial paralysis in dogs is an impairment of the facial nerve, blunting the electrical impulses that travel through the nerves. The symptoms include facial asymmetry, drooping of the lip, inability to close the eye, drooling and messy eating.

After discovering that the left side of Loki's face was paralyzed, Pendleton told Newsweek: "We don't know for sure, and probably never will, but we think he was born this way. It seems to be the entire left side of his face, including his ear, eyelids and nose that's affected.

"He's unable to move his left ear, blink his left eye, or move the left half of his nose. The right side is completely functional though! Plus his ear always pointing a bit off to the side makes him look like he's constantly smirking.

"Most likely it isn't treatable, and he will always be this way. The condition is so rare that our vet had only ever heard of it, but never actually seen it in person."

Despite his paralysis, Pendleton remained positive that the only thing it stops Loki from doing is blinking his left eye. He remains a happy puppy, she said.

Loki The Collie With Facial Paralysis
A close-up of Loki's paralyzed left side, showing the permanent smile on his face. @collieloki

The fact that he can't completely close his left eye can be managed too, as Loki gets daily eye drops to keep it clean and prevent infections.

Pendleton, who is originally from California, got Loki with the intention of training him as a service dog for herself, and although his training has gone well so far, they are mindful that his paralysis could be a hindrance to his ability.

"We actually got Loki with the intention of raising and training him as a service dog for myself. I live with fibromyalgia [a long-term condition that causes pain all over the body], and a task-trained service dog could be life-changing for me. As it is now, he seems like he's going to grow up to be a great service dog," she continued.

"But if the paralysis were to progress, or if he isn't a good match for service-dog work, he will still be staying with us as a pet. No matter what, he's ours forever. We say that he is perfectly imperfect, and we love him even more for it."

Pendleton shared a video of how she came to realize Loki has facial paralysis on TikTok, to his own account @collieloki, and since sharing the video on February 5 it has already been viewed over 600,000 times.

Speaking to Newsweek about the reaction to the video, Pendleton said it was "overwhelmingly positive and supportive."

"People absolutely love that he's a little lopsided and always smirking. It makes me so happy to see that he is bringing joy to so many people!"

With over 77,000 likes on the video, Loki has accumulated many new fans who admire his resilience and happiness. One user commented on the video saying: "He's a handsome smirking boy".

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