Being a pet owner comes with a lot of responsibility. It's not just about playing catch and cuddling to the furry family member. Decisions about the animal's care and health have to be made, regardless of how difficult they may be.
In extreme cases, humans have to choose between euthanasia of their beloved pets or risk seeing them suffer from a medical condition. What your heart wants and what your brain tells you, are not always the same. Still, not every story has a sad ending.
It also happened to be veterinary technician Chelsea Whitney's 30th birthday. The mother canine had nine puppies but one of them had a cleft palate. This meant that the dog would not live for more than two weeks. The family opted for his euthanasia as that seemed the kindest option at the time. But Chelsea couldn’t bear to see this and decided to step in.
She wrote, "Knowing the sucker I was, another vet tech got the family to sign the puppy over and got me to foster the puppy." The birthday-girl was super excited to bring home this little cute fellow.
"It is a blessing to be able to provide humane euthanasia to puppies with cleft palates. Depending on the severity of the cleft, and if it affects the hard or soft palate, puppies usually do not thrive," she explains. "The space in the roof of their mouth does not allow them to suckle properly, and they eventually die of starvation."
Chelsea fed him through a tube and syringe every one to two hours, which was a very exhausting job to say the least. Believing he could overcome this, she didn’t give up on him. She brought the pup to the clinic everyday where it was easy to feed and stimulate him.
The puppy screamed when his meal was due. The little guy didn’t care that he was born with some bad genes; he was in this world to stay. Chelsea named him Bronson after one of her most favourite roles played by Tom Hardy. Tom’s character Charles Bronson was one of Britain’s toughest prisoners.
Bronson was an active canine who loved to run around the house like a "madman" and had completely attached to her fingers. He had a constant need to suckle on her finger which had become a true bonding experience. "Many cleft palate puppies that survive will often carry this trait with them to adult hood," she says.
It extended from his hard palate all the way to his soft palate. "The surgeon I worked with was a little skeptical about my taking this type of genetic defect on, but was also wanting to see how he would do," says Chelsea. "He would continue to monitor Bronson's defect so we could decided a day for surgery."
He had become everyone’s favourite puppy at Chelsea’s clinic. He also happened to have "terrible, terrible manners." Bronson had grown obsessed with putting everything in his mouth. This was harmful especially for him, considering his health condition.
Bronson had also turned into her therapy dog. "By the time he was 3 months, he had already traveled to Hot Springs, Arkansas, Denver, Colorado, and Tucson, Arizona. My husband and I tube-fed him in the back of the car at gas stations on the 13 hour drive to visit his parents," she explains.
As his face grew, his palate grew longer and closer, and so did his mischief. Chelsea always had her hands in his mouth pulling everything out.
The day she had been waiting for so long had finally come. "My baby boy, my best friend, the bane of my existence and the absolute love of my life, was finally going to have a normal life," she wrote on Imgur.
His tissue has now completely healed and he is freely able to play with toys, chew on raw hides, swim in lakes, and go on walks like any other dog.