Kathy & Abe Cleason, Joe and GHF alum, Sparky
Resident ROSSI was 3 months old in 2016 when
rescue became the only option to save him since his swallowing disorder,
Megaesophagus, was making eating impossible. A tough disease to
solve, the real answer is 24/7 management and extremely careful
oversight, making every meal a critical endeavor. Many guardians cannot
handle the heart-wrenching experience of watching their dogs waste away
to nothing, unable to gain enough nourishment because they regurgitate
whatever they eat.
Rossi would always be at risk, requiring continual
vigilance for any breathing or choking problems, lethargy or fever, a
truly special needs dog. While his adorable face attracted adoption
interest, his medical condition did NOT. GHF became his home, living
with the Founder’s who could monitor his every need. If he had any
chance to live a longer life, it was under dutiful watch with quick
This loving pup instantly took center stage at GHF
with great determination to find any new diagnostic tools to help him. A
cross-country trip to the University of Missouri Vet Center for
innovative evaluations gained some insight on feeding techniques to
improve regurgitation but sadly, Rossi was not a candidate for a
full-time fix with surgery.
Living with Rossi’s condition and growing body,
required experimentation. Day by day, small meals, hand-fed or in an
elevated bowl, worked somewhat. But as his body lengthened, so did his
esophagus so regurgitation became inevitable. No matter the efforts, he
was left hungry and required emergency vet attention for aspiration
pneumonia, unable to breathe. Rossi’s case was closely managed by the
Cornell Vet Hospital team, hoping to keep him alive as monthly emergency
runs became the norm. Every single month in 2017, Rossi was treated as
xrays revealed the need for medication to reverse his downturn. Luckily,
he would pull through.
In January, 2018, Rossi became a test dog for
Sildenafil, (the human drug Viagra) and life has now changed for him. A
study done in Italy revealed that the drug will relax the lower
esophageal ‘flap’, allowing food to pass more easily and remain in the
stomach. It has been working well throughout 2018, reducing his risk of
a near-death event and need for emergency vet care. He has been at the
emergency clinic only twice since starting the medications, a truly
Rossi has grown into an action oriented, classic
Border Collie, with all the joy of living he should experience. Many
tears have been shed worrying about his fate and now, there is greater
hope that his life will be a long one. While there is still great
caution ahead, his health is scrutinized minute by minute, hour by hour,
day by day and will be for as long as he lives.
- Marilyn Moore, Nancy Brown & GHF alum, Genie; in memory of GHF alum, Cooper
- Cathy & Steve Bouck, Ziggy & GHF alum Lincoln and in memory of GHF alums Mika & Cassy
- Linda Whitman, Skye and GHF alums Connell & Anney
DOUGIE came to GHF in 2018 at 8 1/2 years old, needing a new home
due to the move of his guardians but it was his complex medical
situation looming ahead that could shorten his life. His
extremely low blood sugar levels are reflective of insulinoma
(cancer) or a rare disease - nesidioblastosis. Cornell evaluations
could not identify which condition exists but his symptoms require
continual monitoring. He requires numerous small meals to maintain
his glucose levels to prevent seizures or worsening fatigue and he
will likely need steroids and/or medications as things progress.
Since Dougie is in a fragile and unpredictable state, remaining at
GHF was the best option for him.
He happily enjoys the action of all the other
BCs, full of energy and focused but he is frequently rested after
anything he does since his condition leaves him very tired. Dougie
also has a genetic orthopedic problem, born without hip sockets so
does require pain medication and monitoring to make him more
comfortable. The lack of hip sockets led to an ACL tear in a back
leg but surgical answers are not possible since his health is
precarious. Dougie is full of energy and the will to be a normal
focused, energetic Border Collie so we’ll be sure to give him all
that he can enjoy for as long as it’s possible. Everyone at GHF and
those who have met him at the vet offices, absolutely fall in love
with this very, very special boy.
Update August 2019: Dougie went through a challenging surgery to repair a meniscus tear in his knee and an ACL tear in the same area, both causing severe pain and immobility. Another tough case for Cornell, Dougie has glucose issues and kidney issues, too as well as being born without hip sockets so juggling his reactions to sedation and post surgery recovery is a balancing act. He’s on serious pain meds and exercise restriction for 8 weeks, with hopes that he might handle surgery on the other back leg. The decision rests on his medical condition undergoing another complex process. Right now, he’s resting and getting relief from all that extreme pain.
We are so grateful to be able to help this marvelous boy, a true spitfire full of spunk - we’d like to give Dougie
more years of enjoyment pain-free.
Janet James & GHF alum, Jimmy
Gail & Dave Hurley & GHF alums, Breeze & Maggie
- Sandy & Mike Fazio & GHF alum Ace
- Mary Jacobus & Reeve Parker, in memory of GHF alum, Vala
- Cathy & Steve Bouck, on behalf of all of Penny’s canine friends at GHF
- Linda Whitman, Skye and GHF alums Connell & Anney
Kim Kinville & GHF alum, Bromlie
- Patricia Lee Rode, in memory of Sheema
- Paula & Bill VanDeventer & GHF alum, Dash
John Andersen, "Hurry home - We love you!"
- Ron Smith and GHF alum Jake in memory of GHF alum Annie and for Penny’s good health
- Carol Sue Basehore
- Karen and Clem and the Arrison gang: Leela, Rudy, Reggie & DeeDee
- Larry & Lynn Adelsohn
- Stacey Greenberg, in memory of Gryphon
PENNY: At age 10, Penny is as glorious and gorgeous as any Border Collie we’ve ever seen but what’s on the outside doesn’t match what’s going on inside... Penny has heartworm so is going to need about six months to overcome the disease. Her heart is filled with adult worms, literally if left untreated, will surely kill her. Thankfully, she landed at a PA shelter that works with GHF so she’s going to have everything she needs to overcome it. Penny has a big challenge ahead being restricted from any exercise but thankfully, she ‘goes with the flow’ and is likely to handle what’s ahead well.
She has the loveliest nature, sweet as can be and truly so friendly to everyone, even undergoing such a big change as losing her home. Penny has some backend issues, likely her lower back so will require pain medications and one-floor living, without steps.
Sadly, her previous guardian lived in South Carolina before moving to PA and never treated his dogs so three came to the shelter, all positive, all about to endure a fight for their lives. In an ironic twist of fate, their abandonment now provides their ability to live.
Update August 2, 2019: Penny had a very rare severe reaction to the 2nd part of heartworm treatment resulting in two massive abscesses at the injection sites, landing her at Cornell for an MRI and soft tissue surgery along her spine on July 30. There are only 3 such documented cases per Cornell. By using the MRI to ‘see’ the tissue, the surgeons were able to see what they could do to help her.
After 12 very long, scary days in Critical Care with every Cornell department working on Penny’s case and a very close call that she wasn’t likely to make it…she’s pulled through and is home! This initial week requires careful monitoring for any complications since her case has been so complex with so many near death moments. Once the staples are removed from the abscess surgery, she still needs two months of careful care going through the actual process of the heartworm treatment... complete exercise restrictions are in place as the worms are killed inside her heart.
Penny is ‘worth every penny’ and then some... a lovely, sensitive girl that captured everyone’s hearts. We are now suspicious that she may be older than we were told, explaining some of her difficulties adjusting to all the change coming into rescue. She seemed so confused for so long and then once in the hospital, the sense of being ‘lost’ grew greater, as if Penny belonged nowhere, to no one. We welcome her back to GHF with open arms and will be vigilant in meeting her needs - medically and emotionally - as we are for all rescues. Penny, however, is asking for more from us which we happily want to give.
We appreciate angel support to help us with Penny’s care so that she may be ready for a new home once this is behind her.
Special thanks to Janine Choplick and Suzin Webb for getting Penny to the Farm.