For anyone who lives in the greater Philadelphia area, the Eagles football season for 2017-2018 is one for the record books. That Super Bowl is one that I think Philadelphia fans will still talk about 50 years from now! Right around the time they were getting ready to play in the fateful game, we stumbled upon two adorable little babies down at ACCT in Philly who needed a chance for a fresh start.
Introducing Foles and Wentz – named for two iconic Eagles players in that epic season. These two babies came to us with a pretty severe case of mange. Demodex mange is the form of non-contagious mange that causes fur loss and secondary skin infections, and can be pretty severe if left untreated. These little guys, only about 3 months old, were not treated and dumped at the shelter with pretty much no fur, and very sad little wrinkly faces and naked bodies. They were also SO scared and very shut down. I saw their little faces and knew I could help! So we jumped into action and grabbed them from the shelter to come stay at Camp Mehaffey.
These two boys are such a rewarding foster memory for me. I LOVE taking a scared, sad, sick baby from the shelter, and watching them transform into a happy and healthy puppy. It’s honestly why I do it – that joy of seeing them figure out that they are safe, and they are loved, is something you can’t replicate anywhere else. As they got more and more comfortable, they learned to run and play with my dogs, and my son Connor. They started to regrow their fur and went from naked rats, to fuzzy peaches, and eventually to normal looking puppies with full coats of fur. They got LOTS of baths with medicated shampoo, and a long round of antibiotics, and slowly looked better and better.
Aside from the severe skin issue, poor Foles also had a very loud heart murmur that we heard the day he arrived. After a flurry of testing and an echocardiogram with our cardiologist, we determined that he had a pretty significant birth defect in his heart, called pulmonary stenosis. The pulmonary valve is part of the vessel that leads from the heart to the lungs – and stenosis is when this valve is too narrow, which reduces the flow of blood the lungs, and can lead to severe heart disease, and eventually heart failure! If left untreated, it can go onto cause these serious changes, and can often be seen as episodes of collapse/fainting in affected dogs. Not a great diagnosis! The good news though, is that there is a treatment for it. So, as he grew and he started to have some symptoms, we referred him down to the cardiologists at the University of Pennsylvania, and they felt he was a great candidate for a procedure called valvoplasty. This is a procedure where they send a small camera through their vessels into the heart, and use a balloon to stretch out the area that is narrowed to improve the blood flow to the lungs.
Meanwhile, during this time that we were working through what to do with his heart….these boys were put up for adoption, and an amazing family reached out about them! They were interested in not one, but BOTH of these handsome boys, and were not deterred at all by their ongoing treatment needs for their skin, and about Foles’ heart. They knew there was a chance we couldn’t fix it and it could shorten his life, but they were determined to love him anyway and to give him all the time he could have with them.
I’m very happy to report that his surgery was a smashing success – the cardiologist was thrilled with his heart function after surgery and in all of his follow ups. He has never had another symptom, and has gone on to live his best life with his brother at his side. These two little skinny hairless boys have gone on to become the biggest chonks, and are so loved in their family! I’m so glad that we could help them learn to love, and also that we could fix them. For so many people, fixing his heart would not have been in the cards, and I’m so thankful that because of our generous sponsors/donors, we are able to always do what is best for our dogs, no matter the cost. Foles and Wentz, who now go by Samson and Harley (in honor of my boy, be still my heart) – are two amazing boys, who are thriving with their family, and I’m so glad I got to be a part of their journey. Now maybe they can inspire the Eagles to get back into the Super Bowl sometime soon???