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A Rescue Tale: Coral's Special Heart

Coral -- pending medical hold

Coral’s story begins like many of our foster dogs: in a cage at animal control. At only 8 weeks old, Coral and her siblings found themselves in a county shelter—a dangerous place for puppies as young as they were. Coral and another one of her siblings were declining fast health-wise and it became clear that the only way they were going to make it out of the shelter was through rescue intervention.

With the help of Bryan County Animal Control, Coral and her siblings were immediately taken to Faulkville Animal Hospital. One of the siblings would sadly pass away, and Coral wasn’t in the clear quite yet either. She had sepsis and became very ill. Little did we know, Coral was beginning one of the many battles she would face as she got older.

While the experts were taking care of Coral, they would discover that her heart had several unusual deformities including a tricuspid valve malformation, patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), and pulmonic stenosis.

Foster parent Sarah DeWeese took Coral in when she was just teeny, tiny.

“She lived in my kitchen,” DeWeese said, “For a long time, that was her room. Then she had her own puppy play palace in the living room and now a crate.”

Coral came to the rescue as a “bubble puppy.” This means that extra precautions are taken in order to mitigate preventable illnesses, like Canine Parvovirus, from spreading. A clean kitchen can make an ideal bedroom for puppies that need these extra safety precautions.

Black bully breed puppy like whipped cream from little cup
Coral enjoying a pup cup

Now, Coral is about 6 months old and scheduled to receive her first procedure in March.

The procedure is designed to make Coral more comfortable, but DeWeese said that her life expectancy will likely be shortened to possibly 3-5 years. Although Coral’s foster says it can be challenging caring for a dog with medical needs, Coral makes the time they spend together worth it.

“She’s perfect. Three to five years with Coral is better than 10 years with an okay dog.”

Coral’s foster parents have overcome several challenges when it comes to her care including a bout of heart failure and fluid buildup in her chest cavity.

According to the vet, Coral’s first procedure will cost upwards of $6,000. It will involve placing a balloon inside her heart valve to keep it from closing. Due to supply chain issues, the balloon Coral needs is currently on backorder.

It won’t be easy, but DeWeese says she and her husband are up for the challenge.

“She’s been super happy. She loves when we light fires in the fireplace. Like her whole personality when it was cold, she would lay in bed right in front of it. She eats anything and everything she wants and we just give her lots of snuggles all the time.”

This Valentine’s Day, we ask that you celebrate Coral’s special heart by donating to our Valentine's campaign (check it out your won't want to miss it!), volunteering, or simply sharing her story with friends and family.

We will continue to keep you updated on Coral’s special heart through our blog as well as our Facebook page.


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