by Kimberly Wade
You may have heard about Donner, a two-month old puppy in need of critical, lifesaving surgery. He was born with a condition called megaesophagus caused by a birth defect. In order for him to survive and live a normal, healthy life, Donner needs a special surgery that is going to require him to travel to the UC Davis Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital for the best possible care. I’m the lucky someone joining him on his Lifesaving Adventure, and he’s a pretty special little guy.
Donner came to us in February, at just a month old. He was found with a litter of puppies and the only one who appeared sick—but no one knew what was wrong with him. He was brought to Nevada Humane Society and the person who found them said that he couldn’t keep food down and needed medical help.
He went home with our Foster Coordinator and right away she noticed something. He would immediately regurgitate his food after eating it, and couldn’t keep anything down. We suspected megaesophagus and were referred to a specialist at UC Davis. I got to take him!
Donner and I packed up the car and hit the road a few days later. We spent all day at UC Davis for tests and exams. Through it all, Donner was loved and played with by just about every person we came across. Donner was (is) a celebrity.
At the end of our visit, Donner was diagnosed with a vascular ring anomaly—which means a blood vessel that should have shrunk after birth did not and is now constricting the esophagus, making it hard for him to keep food down. Lucky for Donner, surgery is an option but it will be extensive and expensive.
We made the trek back to Reno, after a long 12 hour day, and began to revise our budget to save Donner. It won’t be easy, but we’ve been collecting donations from the public, and will continue to seek help for his care. Just the cost of the surgery itself is several thousand dollars and that doesn’t include his stay at the hospital, travel expenses and consultations.
Donner and I go back to UC Davis on Tuesday, where he will remain for several days for surgery and recovery. I’ll be by his side, and then we come back to Reno next weekend. His team of veterinarians at UC Davis is good—very good—and his prognosis is even better. Donner will more than likely continue his time in foster care while we assess his post-surgical condition, but we have no doubt that this now infamous puppy will be given a clean bill of health. And, through it all, I’ll be documenting his Lifesaving Adventure on Nevada Humane Society’s Facebook page, so be sure to look for his story. So far, he’s nothing but darling—the typical, silly, happy-go-lucky, vibrant puppy. Donner has a lot of people rooting for him and I’m honored to share the journey with him.
If you have it in your heart to help support Donner, we would greatly appreciate a donation. For me personally, since I’m the one traveling with him, seeing the community support is overwhelming, and I can assure you his life is beyond worth saving. If you can help, please make a donation to Nevada Humane Society’s Emily’s Fund for Injured Pets. Contributions are tax-deductible and can be sent to 2825 Longley Lane, Reno, NV 89502 or credit card donations may be called into 775-856-2000, ext. 324. Thank you for joining us on Donner’s Lifesaving Adventure, and stay tuned for his happy ending.