A Lincolnshire dog rescue is raising money for a high chair to ensure a puppy born with special needs gets the best level of care for the future.
Oakley, a nine-week-old Labrador, was born with a condition that prevented him from eating food unless it was completely liquefied or it will get stuck in his esophagus and he will be sick.
Lincoln-based Breeds In Need Rescue took Oakley under their wing, fearing for her future due to her additional care needs.
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The rescue is now looking to raise enough money to buy Oakley a Bailey chair so he can sit up straight when he eats, following his successful surgery on Thursday January 20 which will make it easier for him to eat.
Sally Turzanski, 29, who co-leads the rescue with Ruth Sanderson, said he was in better condition after undergoing surgery.
She said: “He’s eating better, he can eat oatmeal, so he doesn’t need to be completely mixed in water now, but he needs to be fed standing up.
“We’re fundraising to get her a Bailey chair which is basically a high chair for dogs.
“We took him because his future was unknown, we didn’t know what would have happened to him, he would just have perished and died because he needs special care.”
Oakley was born with a persistent right aortic arch, which means a ligament from his heart wraps around his esophagus and tightens it like a rubber band.
This means food gets stuck in the pouches of his esophagus, acting more like a plastic bag than a pipe to move food through his stomach.
Sally had cared for Oakley before he had surgery and explained to him some of the difficulties in feeding him.
She said: “We had several episodes that were really scary.
“When I was feeding him he was sick but a typical lab he didn’t want to be sick and ate him again and couldn’t breathe.
“He started turning blue and was tripping and passed out.”
Sally said she had to put her hand down her throat to get the food so Oakley wouldn’t choke on it.
Oakley is currently recovering from her operation in Manchester with a foster family who are trained as veterinary nurses and therefore have specific knowledge to be able to meet her needs.
During the surgery, Oakley had a ligament cut around her heart to free the band around her esophagus and allow her to eat more easily.
Sally said: “He loves his food and he has the willpower to eat it, he just physically can’t.
“He’s no different from other puppies, he deserves his chance and he’s a typical affectionate pup.”
Breeds In Need is about rescuing and rehabilitating dogs and other animals, with the end goal of making sure they find the best homes.
The rescue has been going on for two years and started out caring for puppies with cleft palate who needed tube feeding every night.
It has now expanded to managing different conditions with different animals.
Sally said: “We call them perfectly imperfect.
“It can be very difficult to get the financial support we need for these dogs.
“I give every penny I can and all my time with the whole team but we can only do what we can do.”
She added: “I think it’s important for me to bring awareness to the rescue as a whole, Oakley is just a tear in the ocean.”
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