12 Saves of Christmas: #5 Chance


Nevada Humane Society’s 12 Saves of Christmas was introduced several years ago. It received an overwhelmingly positive response, letters of appreciation, and more, all of which came unexpectedly to us. We see day in and day out the difference we make in the lives of thousands of animals but we didn’t realize we weren’t fully communicating those lifesaving efforts to you – our biggest fans. Thus, the 12 Saves of Christmas was created. Now, every holiday season, we find ourselves receiving messages asking when our 12 Saves of Christmas begins. Without further ado, we present to you the 12 Saves of Christmas of 2016.

12 Saves of Christmas #5: Chance the Jack Russell

One late spring day, a bouncy baby boy was left Washoe County Regional Animal Services. This tiny, Jack Russell pup was only four months old, alone, and left without any notes or explanation. No one knows his past or why he ended up there. What we do know is that he was a social, happy and playful—the typical puppy.

He soon came to Nevada Humane Society and right away we planned to get him neutered and adopted. However, during a routine veterinary exam, we noticed things weren’t right. Bullwinkle, as we dubbed him, looked good and acted well, but his vitals did not. His heart didn’t sound great and we knew right away it was a lower grade heart murmur. Our vet team recommended we see a cardiologist to find out more.

Bullwinkle hit the road with our dog care manager, Arthur, heading to Loomis, California, where there is a wonderful cardiologist who often helps us out. It was a quick trip and easy appointment, and within days we had results. Bullwinkle was diagnosed with a moderate-sized Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA), which is a serious congenital heart defect. The Ductus Arteriosus is a blood vessel that connects the two main arteries of the body. The valve is normally open before birth, but shortly after birth, it should close. It did not.

The PDA meant that extra volumes of blood could be passed into Bullwinkle’s lungs, which is life-threatening. Luckily, surgery could fix this, but it was something that needed to happen fast.

Bullwinkle had an appointment at Sierra Veterinary Specialists within two weeks. His surgery was long and tedious but it worked. The vessel was closed, and as long as recovery remained uneventful for Bullwinkle, he was about to get a second chance at life.

The team at Sierra Veterinary Specialists often helps us out and they are incredible. To say they are the cornerstone to our lifesaving village is the least of it—they always go above and beyond. Bullwinkle was no exception. A young vet tech who actually assisted with the surgery was his foster parent as well—and that was a good thing. Bullwinkle was on strict doctor’s orders to maintain a low-key lifestyle until he healed, and for a puppy to remain calm, well, it’s not easy.

Ashley, his foster parent, kept us in communication throughout his long recovery, sending photos and giving us updates on his health. He was doing well, and minus a few hiccups, he seemed to understand that his cage rest was required of him so that he could lead a normal life down the road.

We knew it was going to be hard for Ashley to give him up. In fact, we had a feeling she wouldn’t—and we were right. Ashley told us he stole her heart from the moment they met. She also shares a sweet story about his name. She tried over 100 different names, to see which one he would respond to. She was nearing the end of the list when she tried Chance. His ears perked up. He liked it! Ashley said it was also ironic because he was truly given a second chance at life!

Today, Chance is living it up. He’s about ten months old and doing better than ever. All of his checkups reveal good news—his heart is normal! Chance enjoys playing in the yard with his doggie sibling and cuddling with Ashley. We think that’s a pretty good reason to celebrate his first holiday season, wouldn’t you agree?

Thank you for supporting Nevada Humane Society and all of our homeless pets. Not everyone that comes to us has an injury or special need, but the ones that do need your support even more. It’s YOU that make our lifesaving mission possible. Thank you for giving us the many chances we need to save lives.


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