Sasha is a “miracle” puppy because she’s overcome so much in her short and fragile life said her owner Marie DeMarco.
“She’s defying all the odds,” DeMarco, Sasha’s foster mom and founder of the nonprofit FURRR 911, said. “She’s proven that she wants to be here.”
Sasha was born in early September and at one day old, she was already in danger. Sasha was born with a cleft lip and palate and was unable to nurse.
Her foster family reached out to Courtney Bellew, director of SNARR Animal Rescue Northeast, a New York-based rescue group specializing in special needs dogs.
“The owner recognized she had a cleft palate and lip and wanted to try and save her,” Bellew said. “He brought her to my house and she was so tiny and fragile.”
Bellew quickly coordinated efforts with DeMarc, a nurse practitioner with a lot of experience tending to neonatal, injured and critically ill kittens, knowing that Sasha would need to be tube-fed.
Bellew and DeMarco would help her keep Sasha alive.
Bellew heated up some rice in a sock to make a heating pad and tucked the puppy into some blankets in a box to make sure she’d be warm along the way.
Sasha only weighed just 11 ounces and her cleft lip and palate were just the beginning of her health problems.
DeMarco noticed that Sasha’s head looked large compared with her teeny body and the vet confirmed that Sasha has hydrocephalus, a buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the skull. Her brain is only about a third as big as it should be.
After that Sasha developed an upper respiratory infection, a urinary tract infection and she has some orthopedic issues, as well.
“She has an amazing will and determination,” DeMarco said. “Through all this, she really shouldn’t be here.”
Sasha weighs just 1 pound, 9 ounces at 3-and-a-half months old and is not big enough yet for any of the surgeries that could help her eat and relieve her skull of fluid.
She is a little slower and less peppy than most puppies of her age but she’s happy.
Sasha gets fed every three or four hours during the day, and every five hours at night. She licks her lips when she sees her food being prepared.
Sasha wears tiny sweaters and dresses to stay warm and likes to spend time with DeMarco’s many foster kittens and cats, chasing them around and sniffing them nose-to-nose.
She loves being near her foster mom; she loves getting and giving affection. Most of all, Sasha loves DeMarco.
“I scoop her up and hold her,” DeMarco said. “When I hold her and I’m kissing her, if I hold her near my face, she licks my nose.”
“She was dealt some bad cards in life,” DeMarco said. “Boy, is she loved.”
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