When he was 8 weeks old, a different vet confirmed that Elf did, indeed have a cleft palate, and said surgery would be his only hope for a normal life, IF I could find someone willing to do the operation on this very small puppy. Meanwhile, the tube feeding was his only way of getting nutrition. as the division in the roof of his mouth allows food to go up into his nasal cavity, which could easily lead to an infection or suffocation.
We met with the specialist when he was 13 weeks old, and she said he could be a normal puppy, and live a normal life, if the cleft was repaired. The price of this surgery on such a little and young dog is not inexpensive by any means. Up to this point I have covered all his vet visits, consult with the specialist, bloodwork (to see if he was a surgery candidate) and special food and equipment to get it into him. So far that has come to about $700.00. I will do my best for him, as I have so far, but coming up with the $3200.00 to cover his surgery looks impossible to me at this time.
Several of you that are aware of his situation have urged me to set up a Go Fund Me account so contributions could be made toward Elf's surgery. I was reluctant to do so at first, as I don't like to ask for help, but in order to "fix" this puppy, I do need help.
I don't want anyone to feel compelled to donate. But for those who wanted to help him, or anyone who reads his story and is moved to help, thank you from the bottom of my heart!
I would be happy to answer any questions about him, or send a photo of the surgery cost estimate, if you'd like to see it.
The photos of Elf were taken a couple of weeks ago, by my good friend Monica Garrett, who stepped in and cared for Elf when I had to be gone for 6 days in December, when my mother passed away.
My plans for Elf, if he is able to have the surgery and recovers well, are to place him in a home, probably with no young children or large dogs. I don't know if he will ever grow to what would have been his "normal" size, I think he is going to continue to be very small. But he loves to play, and has a strong will to live! Anyone who has met him has been completely charmed by his spunky attitude.
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