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Peanut Needs Cleft Palate Repair Surgery
$20 Raised
1% of $2.5k goal
2 contributors
2 Years running
One night this past summer, my mother noticed a pregnant dachshund at the church across the street from her house. There are only a few houses on the street, and the dog did not belong to any of the neighbors. The dog could not have wandered ... More ...

One night this past summer, my mother noticed a pregnant dachshund at the church across the street from her house. There are only a few houses on the street, and the dog did not belong to any of the neighbors. The dog could not have wandered into the neighborhood by herself, as it is near downtown Ft. Myers, adjacent to a busy street and not near any other residential area, so it appeared likely that someone had deliberately left the dog there. My mother advertised to locate an owner and in the meantime put out some food and water. Two days later no one claimed the dog and she had not moved from the church steps, so my mother took her inside and started to feed and care for her. We first started to call her “Mamma Dog” and then officially named her “Wendy”. Wendy went into labor on July 27th, 2013. My mother called to inform me, and I hurriedly drove to her house. When I arrived, Wendy had already given birth to a stillborn female puppy. At this point we were not sure what to expect with the others, but one by one, four tiny puppies were born: 3 boys and 1 little girl, weighing between 4-5 ounces each. My mother had to help Wendy deliver by cutting the umbilical cord for each one, as Wendy was just a puppy herself. All of the puppies seemed to be doing OK, so after an exhausting morning I headed home. The next day, my mother phoned to tell me that the second-born boy had not nursed yet so she was taking mother and puppies to the emergency vet. The vet said that failure to nurse often meant that the puppy had a congenital defect and might not survive. The puppies were too young to draw blood or do other diagnostic tests, so the vet suggested we could try to bottle or syringe feed in hopes the puppy would at some point start feeding from Wendy. My mother wanted him to at least have a chance at survival and started feeding him from a small syringe every 2 hours around the clock, weighing him twice daily. Weight gain was so small that it was measured in kilograms rather than ounces. Each time my mother went to the nest box to feed him, she expected to find him declining. Instead, she was surprised to find that he was steadily improving. As exhausting as it was to care for this puppy, it was impossible to give up, and we started calling him “Peanut”. Peanut was never able to feed from Wendy, though we kept trying. She never rejected him, and he very much enjoyed climbing all over her and his siblings while they were feeding, but he just could not latch on. My mother took him back to the vet at a week of age, when it was discovered that he had a cleft palate. The vet was not very encouraging about the prognosis, and it was suggested that we might consider having him euthanized since most people are unable to keep up with the necessary round-the-clock care. However, my mother was determined. She learned through Internet research that it is possible for many cleft palate puppies to live and thrive with the right care, so the journey with Peanut's continued. When Peanut was 2 weeks old, my mother started feeding him by inserting a tiny tube through his mouth into his stomach, and his growth really improved. My mother had to take an out-of-town trip for work, so Wendy and puppies came to stay with my husband and me. I became an expert in tube feeding and really started to bond with Peanut. He continued to thrive over the next few weeks and at 4 weeks of age he began eating dry kitten chow and drinking from a rabbit water bottle. At 8 weeks of age, my mother started feeding Peanut minced beef heart and dry puppy chow and was able to completely stop tube feeding him. By that time I was hopelessly in love and had decided that I wanted to keep him permanently. I started posting pictures of him and telling his story on my Facebook page, and Peanut started to develop a following! Today Peanut is almost 5 months old and weighs just over 6 lbs. He is doing well overall, but my mother and I recently started to seek opinions regarding surgery to close the openings in his palate. Peanut has multiple openings in the roof of his mouth that have enlarged with his growth. He has already experienced one infection from food particles getting into his sinuses through the cleft and is at risk for developing more infections. He also continues to be much smaller in size than his siblings, as the amount he can eat is limited before interruption by sneezes and coughs due to food entering his sinuses. We have found a veterinary dentist to perform the surgery, but it is very expensive. We are hoping that some of Peanut's fans will help to ensure a happy ending/new beginning for him.

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