On November 28, a very special puppy reached yet another incredible milestone. Her name is Sasha, and she celebrated her 12 week birthday on that happy day.
Most puppies take three months of age for granted. Every day is a blessing for Sasha, who was born with hydrocephalus, a cleft lip, and a cleft palate.
Sasha has been in the expert care of special needs cat rescuer Marie DeMarco since her birth. FURRR 911, her rescue organization, stands for Felines Urgently Rescued, Rehabilitated, and Rehomed.
DeMarco focuses on caring for sick, injured, or special-needs cats, as well as bottle-feeding orphaned kittens. She calls these crucial circumstances “perfectly flawed.”
When she saw Sasha, she knew she’d fit in perfectly despite the fact that she was a dog!
“She has been a fighter from the start and has overcome several challenges in her short time on this planet,” DeMarco wrote on Facebook. “As her foster mother, I’ve worried and stressed, lost a lot of sleep, and grown a few new grey hairs, but none of it matters when I look into her eyes.”
Given her recent illness, the teeny tiny pup now weighs just over two pounds, which is cause for celebration. Upper respiratory infections are common in puppies with cleft palates, and Sasha was no exception.
She had a fever, nasal congestion, vomiting, an infected eye, and was losing weight. Sasha couldn’t afford to lose weight when she weighed just over a pound!
When Sasha did not improve after antibiotic treatment, DeMarco became even more concerned. The delicate pup’s temperature had returned to normal, but she was still lethargic, shaky on her paws, and unwilling to feed.
DeMarco took Sasha back to her neurologist, concerned that her problems were being caused by hydrocephalus
Sasha began to recover after following the specialist’s instructions and following a strict daily regimen of drugs, fluids, and tube feedings. She was back to her feisty, snuggling self by her 12 week birthday!
“Sasha is a very calm and reserved puppy,” says DeMarco, who will most likely become Sasha’s permanent mother. This is not your typical puppy. She enjoys sitting next to or on top of my foot.”
She also enjoys cuddling with her feline friends and other rescues, even if they are larger than her!
Sasha faces a difficult journey with no guarantees, but she is surrounded by a tremendous amount of love, commitment, and support.
“This puppy is a great inspiration,” said DeMarco. “Despite her congenital defects and medical condition, Sasha demonstrated that she is a fighter with a strong will to live.”
Sasha passed over the Rainbow Bridge in March 2018, not long after reaching the age of six months. Throughout her brief life, she provided love and delight to her human, canine, and feline companions. FURRR 911, which has since taken in other cleft-palate puppies, is keeping Sasha’s memory alive.
Sasha’s gorgeous birthday photos were taken by Gina Gencarelli, a volunteer photographer.