When Shana Stamey and her family welcomed their white German shepherd’s new litter, they got a little more than they expected.
All eight puppies were born healthy under the watchful eye of Stamey, 35, her family and their mother, Gypsy, on Jan. 10. But one of the puppies, born fourth in the litter, came out green.
The dog, now named Hulk, has taken the internet by storm.
“When he came out, he was bright lime green and he was super wild,” Stamey told TODAY by phone from Clyde, North Carolina, located about 150 miles west of Charlotte. She described him as “super moving and aggressive,” reminding her of the powerful green-skinned Marvel superhero. (And if Hulk's coat looks more highlighter yellow than green, Stamey explained that the camera had difficulty picking out the right color.)
So what exactly causes a puppy’s fur to turn green?
“The sack that they're in when they're in their mom, there can be meconium in there and that tends to stain them,” veterinarian technician Suzanne Cianciulli at Junaluska Animal Hospital in Waynesville, North Carolina, told a local news station. Meconium is an infant’s first stool.
Although Stamey was initially “freaked out a little bit” by Hulk’s color, she remembered seeing a Facebook post from years ago in which someone posted a similar story about their dog, and said that the coloring was not harmful to the puppies.
“I wish he would stay green forever,” Stamey said, “but as she (Hulk’s mom) licks him more and cleans him more, and once I can give him his first bath, it’ll probably fade away.”
Hulk’s internet fame also came with some criticism — particularly related to breeding dogs (the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals estimates that about 3.3 million dogs enter U.S. animal shelters nationwide every year). Stamey said the decision came at the “spur of a moment.”
“I think it’s kind of my dog,” she added. “She has been vet-checked and she is totally healthy. The dad is totally healthy.”
As for adopting Hulk and his siblings out, Stamey initially had friends interested in the puppies. But the viral pickup has generated tremendous interest, which she described as “overwhelming.”
“If it fell through and I was stuck with four, then I’m stuck with four of them, “Stamey said. “They’re my babies.”