Gambit, an adorable 6-week old mutt of a puppy, arrived in the care of Ruff Start Rescue in late January 2019 and, immediately upon entering rescue, was taken in by a family who decided to foster him with the intention of adopting him as part of our FTA (foster-to-adopt) program. Almost immediately, Gambit’s new family knew he belonged with them and decided they would like to adopt him once he had completed his necessary veterinary care. They named him Rocket and prepared for his alteration surgery, the final step in getting him officially “home”.

Gambit, resting on his new bed

Only two months later at the end of March, a sweet nearly 9-week old cattle dog puppy named Morgan entered rescue in a similar manner. She had a family set up to foster her with the intention of adopting her, provided she proved to be a good long-term fit for their family. Shortly after bringing her home, a verdict was reached: Morgan’s family renamed her Marley and scheduled her alteration surgery, ready to officially adopt their perfect little pup.

Morgan, resting peacefully in her new home

However, genetic predisposition would prove that these two puppies would need to a fight a little harder to beat the odds that had been stacked against them. Luckily, though, they would now be prepared to fight: they finally had new families who were dedicated to see them through tough diagnoses and a rescue willing to provide them the care they needed to live healthy lives, backed by supporters just like you.

Both Gambit and Morgan had been evaluated upon entering rescue and showed no signs of illness, either initially or within their new home environments. But when they went in for their alteration surgeries, a stunning abnormality was found: each pup had a heart murmur that would delay surgery and needed to be evaluated further.

Gambit’s photo upon arrival at Ruff Start Rescue

Morgan’s photo upon arrival at Ruff Start Rescue

Gambit was diagnosed with pulmonic stenosis, a condition that restricts blood flow from his right ventricle to his lungs as a result of his right ventricular outflow tract being too narrow. Essentially, because his heart has to pump the same amount of blood out of this narrowed opening, it has to pump harder and push the blood more quickly in order to move it. His diagnosis was severe; it required relatively instant intervention to relieve the obstruction of blood flow and prolong his life.

Morgan’s evaluation diagnosed her problem as patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), a similar but different diagnosis to Gambit’s. PDA causes an extra amount of blood flow through the left side of the heart, resulting in excessive fluid buildup in the lungs. At the time of her examination, Morgan’s underlying issue had already resulted in a small amount of fluid buildup – meaning she needed surgery as soon as possible to avoid congestive heart failure.

Without surgery, both puppies would eventually succumb to their ailments. In order for them to continue living long and healthy lives with their new families, they need to go in for surgery immediately.

Both Gambit and Morgan’s families stepped up to see their pups through the treatment ahead of them and Ruff Start Rescue agreed to arrange the life saving procedures and cover the direct expenses. While Ruff Start has a budget for special vetting cases, we’ve seen an increase in the number of animals needing special treatments or surgeries. Morgan and Gambit’s procedures will take a large part of the rescue’s allotted veterinary budget.

Gambit, growing like a weed and comfortable in his new home

Pretty girl Morgan, posing

Donate today to help Ruff Start Rescue save these two precious pups!