ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Albuquerque Animal Welfare is looking to save the life of a young pup, but they need the community’s help to do it. Not only does Susie need a forever home, but she also needs a surgery that will save her life and fix a rare heart defect.
At just six months old, she already has a “broken heart.” The Shepherd-Husky mix has had a rough start to life.
“Susie actually came to our shelter as a stray with her brother,” said Stacey George, who is currently fostering Susie. “They came in as bottle babies, so they didn’t have a mother, they were still nursing, their eyes weren’t open.”
George decided to foster Susie. However, she noticed immediately that something was wrong.
“We noticed she was a lot smaller than the other puppy that came with her,” said George. “She wasn’t really playing with the other dogs and she was really tired and always out of breath.”
Bringing her to the veterinarians at the shelter, they were able to perform some tests. Vets found the young pup was born with a rare heart condition that means one of her valves doesn’t work properly.
“Turns out she has something called pulmonic stenosis which means one of the valves in her heart doesn’t work properly,” said Dr. Nicole Vigil, senior veterinarian at Albuquerque Animal Welfare. “So instead of opening to let blood go through as it should, it’s actually kind of stuck. Her heart is working extra hard and it’s causing her heart to age to the point of not being functional very prematurely in her life.”
George says a diagnosis like that has a significant impact on Susie’s life if not treated soon.
“Half of her heart has to work harder than the other half,” said George. “What that means for such a young dog is that it cuts her life expectancy down a lot.”
Luckily, it’s not a death sentence for young Susie. There’s hope with surgeons at Colorado State University.
“We found that CSU has a cardiology department that is willing to go in and do a procedure that will open up her valve and allow her heart to function normally,” said Dr. Vigil. “Now, we want to raise money to get Susie up to CSU and to get her heart all fixed so she’s no longer Susie of the broken hearts. She’ll be Susie, ready to play.”
Unfortunately, it doesn’t come cheap. A surgery of that kind can run up to $4,000-$5,000. Animal Welfare plans to make it happen, but community donations will be a huge help.
“We’re doing our best to do some fundraising so we can send Susie for her surgery,” said Dr. Vigil. “Our Angel Fund is our way to send these special animals to get the help that they need.”
Susie’s foster mom says she has a full life ahead of her with her future forever home. She just needs a chance at life.
“As someone who’s watched her grow up, to give her the chance to be a normal dog and live a full and healthy life, to be someone’s hiking companion, to be somebody’s life companion,” said George.
The shelter hopes to do some more fundraising before scheduling Susie’s surgery. You can help her out by donating to Kennel Kompadres’ Angel Fund. Susie will be available for adoption after she recovers.