Saving Norma-An Affair of the Heart

$6,025 of $9,000 goal

Raised by 138 people in 1 month
Norma’s story started long before she came to a small shelter in Louisiana. Severe neglect seeps from every part of her emaciated body. This dog has suffered in unimaginable ways.  Critter Crusaders of Cedar Rapids agreed to take her medical case when Cedar Valley Pit Bull Rescue brought her to Iowa.  This is no ordinary circumstance. We are stepping off of a cliff into unknown territory with this girl.  Norma went directly to our veterinary specialist partners at IVRC in Des Moines when she arrived in Iowa Sunday.  The doctors and staff have never seen a fistula the size of Norma’s. It is an open highway for food, water and infection to circulate around the sinus passages, eventually making their way to her lungs.  Aspiration could quickly kill her.  We are at the beginning of Norma’s medical journey.  Emaciation, dehydration, an enormous hole in her upper palate, an abscess in her cheek, eyes that are infected and sunken and she is a strong heartworm positive. So many issues to address but the rewards will be immeasurable.    Two of our board members are helping to donate to her medical bills right now as CC is low on funds after so many surgeries this summer, but this dog and her plight speaks to us.    She is a haunting reminder of why we do this work and we sometimes step into the unknown as we tackle these medical issues.  This is a face we can’t just erase and our hearts feel the need to do whatever we can.  We have spent significant time consulting with the doctors and we are in the process of formulating a treatment plan.  She will have an echocardiogram Wed. 8/15 to see if her heart can withstand anesthesia due to the worm infestation.  If the doctors feel that she can, she will also undergo a CT scan.  That will determine if this enormous fistula is from dental disease, a neoplastic disease or injury.  This would entail multiple surgeries to attempt to close and the failure rate can be daunting....our hope is we can start the surgical process quickly and then begin to treat the heart worms.  No guarantees that is how we will proceed however.  Her own body will dictate that.  

It is important for everyone to understand that these challenged animals have a very profound and intact will to survive.  If you ask them if they prefer euthanasia to having the chance to return to a better, healthier life, we know exactly what they would say.  CC has hundreds of happy, healthy alumni!  So, we choose to travel down this long and bumpy road with Norma who is an estimated 6 years old.  Her body condition is so poor, you would never know her age.  The staff at IVRC talks about how incredibly sweet and grateful she is.  Her tail wags constantly and she is more comfortable now than she has been in a very long time.  She deserves her life back.  We ask for your help in giving that to her.  Please share her story and donate if you are fortunate enough to do so.  We look forward to the difference we can make in her life

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Norma Update Thursday 9/20 at 9:44pm
Are you all ready for a short update after all of the lengthy ones? We sure are!
Normawent back to IVRC in Des Moines this past Wed to stage her heartworm disease as we prepare to treat her. Dr. Adams, internal medicine specialist evaluated her yesterday. Norma underwent an echocardiogram of her heart to ensure it is strong enough for this grueling treatment. Good news! It is! She has subtle changes in her heart from the worms but the train is now on the tracks and we are full speed ahead! Her oral fistula looks great after surgery and she is gaining weight and strength. We could not be happier. We owe so much to all of you for your hard earned donation to her medical care and the overwhelming giod wishes for her recover! She has quite a fan club! In this photo, Norma is with one of her favorite people...Dr Adams who is managing her neartworm treatment! Ok, so I fibbed a bit about a short update!
Thank you all so much❤️
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Norma Update Monday Sept. 17th at 8:15pm
Norma went back to IVRC in Des Moines this past Friday for a recheck of her lungs. During the days that She was with me, I noticed a sudden bout of coughing when she walked. I spoke with the doctors and took her back for a chest xray. They did find a small area on the base of one lung that is most likely a small worm clot from her heartworm disease. This is very concerning as we gear up to treat the disease. This paticular clot has not caused her any breathing issues and the clot itself will be reabsorbed by her body. But it could be an indicator of things to come as we travel with her on this journey. Norma will be treated for heatworms at IVRC and will receive round the clock critical care monitoring. Heartworms is not something that this specialty clinic routinely treats as they reserve that for private practice vets, but the internal medicine specialists and staff adore her, so they said they would be happy to continue to help her. We are thrilled! So our tweetie baby Norma will go back to IVRC this Wed. for complete heartworm staging and assessment with Dr. Adams. We have faith that Norma will do great and we will do everything we can to help her. She is also in her new foster home with Cecilia and Paul Carlson in Cedar Rapids. Just like everyone who meets her, they adore her! She is so gentle and loving. Just a total love sponge! More to come on what we find out at this Wednesday’s appointment. Please continue to share her story. Critter Crusaders has a very long and bumpy road to teavel with this girl from Cedar Valley Pit Bull Rescue. Together, we are improving her life, her health and her future. The best news? Norma knows it❤️! Thank you all!
In the photos, Norma mugs for the camera with Jennifer from IVRC and she shows off her patriotic dress and girly -girl collar!
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Norma Video Update! Thursday 9/13.

It was time for a bath yesterday afternoon and like everything else, she was a champ! In this video, she is exploring and sniffing as she dries off. We wanted her to feel as good as she looks! We will be sending out more videos so you can come to know her. Friday she goes back to IVRC for a chest xray to assess her pneumonia and lungs. Next Wed. Critter Crusaders will return with her to IVRC and she will have a multitude of test to stage her heartworm disease. We are far from done with this amazing dog. We just enter into a new phase. Please continue to share her story as her medical costs will be significant and ongoing for Critter Crusaders.
So say hello to Ms. Norma and we know if she could give each of you a soft kiss, she would❤️
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Norma Update Monday Night 9/10 at 9:30pm

We LOVE these happy updates! Actually we are so in love with Norma we can hardly see straight! Norma has been in my care since Saturday late morning. This is the end of day 3 with her and my heart is ready to explode. She is absolutely the most precious baby and such a good girl. She is feeling better each day with more pep and personality emerging. Her appetite is great and she takes her pills like a champ. All Norma wants is love....that’s it. Nothing more. She will curl up in my lap to be held and kissed. She just leans into me and radiates affection. She is gentle, soft, and presses her cheek up against mine and holds it there. I am so blessed to have had this incredible time with her. We have found a foster home for Norma! A wonderful couple, Cecelia and Paul Carlson in Cedar Rapids! They are total animal lovers and fell in love with Norma before they ever met her. We met with them Saturday and the connection they have with this girl is undeniable. As much as I hate to give her up, I am the mother to 7 dogs and a cat so it is for the best. Critter Crusaders will work side by side with Cecelia and Paul, delivering the highest quality medical care to our sweet Norma as she travels a bumpy road to health. We are very aware if the risks associated with heart worm treatment. We could lose her during the process as she is symptomatic and her case is advanced. But we will have the best medical team in place to meet her every need and offsetting any problems. We are all in. With each animal that we assist, it is a 24/7 committment to them. There are no days off when it comes to medical management. So we thank Cecelia and Paul who are excited and waiting for Norma’s arrival. I have been able to take this time to come to know and love this girl for who she is and I have to say a huge thank you to Cedar Valley Pit Bull Recue for pulling her into health and safety here in Iowa. Thanks also to each of you for your donations and love. As we continue to follow Norma’s story, we will be remided of the other animals just waiting for their chance of a lifetime, like Norma. It is never too late to make a difference.
Jan Erceg
CC Medical Coordinator
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$6,025 of $9,000 goal

Raised by 138 people in 1 month
Funds raised will benefit:
Critter Crusaders of Cedar Rapids
  Certified Charity
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Marion, IA
EIN: 262821920
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