Shelter Puppies Need Surgery to Fix Their 'Broken Hearts' Before They Can Be Adopted

Shelter puppies Reesie and Coco are ready for a little sweetness.

Even though the dogs are just 12 weeks old, they have already been through a lifetime of obstacles. Reesie and Coco started out their lives alone, surrendered to a rural Georgia shelter shortly after they were born.

From Georgia, the pair hitched a ride to Massachusetts along with 31 other shelter animals on Jan. 16. All of the pets were transported to Northeast Animal Shelter (NEAS) by the Salem rescue's Saving Homeless Pets Across America program, which moves rescue pets from high-kill shelters to NEAS, where the animals receive medical care and shelter until they are adopted.

Shortly after arriving at their new shelter, Reesie was diagnosed with Parvovirus — a highly contagious GI disease that can be fatal if left untreated, according to NEAS. Coco tested negative for Parvovirus but was isolated for 14 days as a precaution. During that time, Reesie battled back to good health with help from NEAS, which treated the puppy's vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration. 

Unfortunately, Reesie and Coco's dramatic journey to forever homes does not end there. The pups face one final hurdle before they can be adopted. Health checks at NEAS revealed that both of the little dogs are suffering from Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA), a condition marked by an abnormal blood vessel outside of the heart that does not close properly after birth. 

Each member of this adorable doggy duo now has to undergo heart surgery to survive. Dr. Katie Hogan of the MSPCA-Angell Animal Medical Center's cardiology service is set to perform a non-invasive procedure on each pup. During the procedures, Dr. Hogan will place specially designed plugs within the end of the affected blood vessels, which should repair the problem.

"Now that Reesie has recovered from Parvo, they are both good candidates for the procedure," Dr. Hogan said in a NEAS release about the puppies. "I expect they will do well, and I'm so grateful to play a role in providing them the bright and healthy future they deserve."

NEAS is asking other animal lovers to help with Reesie and Coco's procedures, which are set for Feb. 24. Together, the puppies' medical bills will exceed over $10,000. NEAS is prepared to pay for everything Reesie and Coco need but are asking for donations to help offset some of the costs.

 "Both of these puppies have endured more than their share of challenges in such a short period of time, and they're just two of the hundreds of animals we've helped since our affiliation with NEAS was announced.  We're only able to meet their extensive medical needs because of the generosity of donors, and I'm grateful to everyone who steps forward to help them," Mike Keiley, MSPCA-Angell's director of adoption centers and programs, and the interim executive director of NEAS, said in a statement.

Reesie and Coco can look forward to some good news in the days ahead. After undergoing their procedures and taking some time to heal, both puppies should be available for adoption around March 10. Coco and Reesie would do best in different homes, with owners that are dedicated to puppy training and socialization. Potential adopters need to be willing to take their new puppy to their follow-up vet appointments and other medical checks they may need in the future.

Anyone interested in adopting Reesie or Coco should email [email protected] 

"Demand for all pets — and especially puppies — remains at an all-time high, and our teams will do the best we can to respond to every inquiry, but we ask for patience and understanding as we know that there will be so many more people interested in Coco and Reesie — and our priority is finding them the best possible home, especially after all they've been through," Keiley added.

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