Two months ago, I went to visit a litter of nine boxer/lab/mystery puppies, wondering if I was ready to add a dog to my one girl/one cat family. 45 minutes later, I was in love, signing the adoption contract for a healthy, happy three-week-old Eleanor.
Unfortunately, as soon as the puppies began to eat solid food, my snuggly little Eleanor got very sick, throwing up everything she ate. We hoped the problem was a result of competing for food with 8 larger litter-mates so she came home early for special attention, weighing just under 4lbs at seven weeks.
10 days after settling in, x-rays gave the first glimpse of the real problem: something was pinching her esophagus, keeping solids from passing into her stomach and painfully stretching a pouch where undigested food was collecting.
A few weeks and a few vets later, Eleanor has been diagnosed with a congenital vascular disorder called PRAA (persistent right aortic arch). An artery that should have receded as a fetus continued to grow, wrapping a band of tissue around her esophagus where it passes by the heart. While she is currently thriving on a liquid diet (almost 10lbs!), there will be a time when she eats something she shouldn't - maybe a bite of cat food, a piece of a chew toy, or a treat from a stranger.
It's expected Eleanor will eventually die of aspiration pneumonia from inhaling pieces of the solids unable to pass through her esophagus. Such a painful end for the sweetest little girl.
BUT there is hope! Open chest surgery is highly successful in dogs with Eleanor's condition and she has every reason to expect a long, healthy life (and solid food!) after the procedure. Unfortunately, treatment is incredibly expensive, more than $5,000 all-together with the diagnostics and surgery.
Independent Animal Rescue in Durham has been unbelievably generous, paying for much of her medical costs thus far, but as we creep into the thousands, we are all nearing our financial limits. If you're able, please consider contributing to the Fund for Eleanor or to IAR, who will be taking specific donations towards Eleanor's surgery on their website .
We haven't known each other all that long, but Eleanor has been part of the family since the minute she got here. Even Abigail, a famously ornery cat, has fallen for those giant triangle ears and too-long tail. Please help us keep her around so we can see if she'll ever grow into them - every cent counts.
Molly Trask-the-Person, Abigail Adams-the-Cat, and Eleanor Roosevelt-the-Dog
If possible, also consider giving a general donation to IAR; in addition to going above and beyond for Eleanor, they do wonderful things for homeless animals all over the Triangle.
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