A Heart on Wheels

We take all animals in need and care for them regardless of their condition. Often we rescue animals that need special care to overcome severe illness, but our team never gives up hope despite having limited resources. In June, an adorable leggy young chihuahua mix, Charlie, came into our shelter as a stray. Upon examination, Charlie was found to have a very severe heart murmur. He showed no clinical signs of heart disease, but we knew that without more testing, anesthesia might be too risky. 

Knowing how urgent the situation could be, we quickly arranged for a cardiologist to come to the shelter. Charlie was diagnosed with a congenital heart disease called patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), which is a persistent opening between the two major blood vessels leading from the heart. The opening, called the ductus arteriosus, is a normal part of a puppy’s circulatory system before birth that usually closes shortly after birth. However, if it remains open it becomes PDA . If the opening is large, as in Charlie’s case, it eventually weakens the heart muscle and can lead to congestive heart failure and death. 

after the surgery, Charlie the dog
Charlie the dog

Despite all the challenges, our team was determined and committed to save Charlie. Thankfully there is a surgical procedure available that can close off this vessel and give Charlie an excellent prognosis for a long healthy life, free from the worry of heart problems. However, the closest facility that can provide this surgical procedure is the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine in Davis, CA, which is over 100 miles away from our facility. Nevertheless, we decided to proceed with this option and were able to secure an appointment at UC Davis in October. 

Two of our kind volunteers stepped in and gave Charlie a lift to Davis. After two and a half hours of traveling on wheels, Charlie made it to his first appointment on October 7, and was deemed a good candidate to undergo the surgery. Two weeks later Charlie went back to Davis to receive the surgery. The procedure was smooth and successful. Charlie is now back at the shelter resting and being cared for by our staff and volunteers. 

Slowly but steadily recovering, Charlie looks forward to a bright future filled with playtime and love. Thanks to the efforts of our amazing staff team and wonderful volunteers, we saved Charlie's life. Like Charlie, many pets came into our shelter sick or injured and we always work to save them, even if it means traveling over a hundred miles to find the cure. You too can save the life of an animal like Charlie today by volunteering or donating​ to our shelter. 


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