When this little puppy was born, the doctors didn’t think he’d make it. In fact, they were so sure he wouldn’t survive that they thought the kindest option would be to euthanize him. However, he was given a fighting chance when two guardian angels took him under their wings.
In January 2017 a mommy dog gave birth to a bouncing litter of puppies. Although most of them were healthy, one of them – a tiny boxer – was not so lucky. His survival was in doubt owing to a birth defect that gave him trouble with feeding.
This puppy had a serious condition affecting his limbs. To be specific, he was born without fully-developed forelegs. The plucky pooch’s disability meant that he only had little stubs instead of full legs and he struggled to keep up with his siblings.
It’s possible that the baby dog’s limited growth could have been caused by elbow dysplasia. The result is abnormal cell growth in the muscles and bone. Indeed, the condition is the primary reason for lameness in larger dog breeds such as boxers.
In any case, the condition had serious consequences for the puppy. For instance, he couldn’t suckle from his mother as well as his able-bodied siblings could. So although his mother hadn’t abandoned him, the little furbaby’s siblings overpowered him at feeding time.
Under these circumstances, the puppy wasn’t getting any of his mommy’s nourishing milk. Without it, he would no doubt have eventually died. “His siblings were pushing him out of the way. He would have perished,” animal rescuer Lou Robinson explained to The Dodo in February 2017.
But starvation wasn’t the only threat to the poor puppy’s life. After all, the veterinarians had noticed how much the little dog was struggling as a result of his disability. And it was their opinion that the puppy’s owner should consider euthanasia.
Lou Robinson, though, had an alternative solution for him. “He came home with me,” she explained. She called the little puppy Nubby Bowlin and took him back to her home in Houston, Texas. And it would turn out to be the perfect place for him.
Not only was Robinson a seasoned animal rescuer, but she was also the founder of Warriors Educate About Rescue (WEAR). The group’s mission is “to educate and bring awareness, to change the outcome of the lives in need.” And Nubby would be a recipient of that goodwill.
First, Robinson and her husband Mark needed to get their ailing pup healthy. Because of Nubby’s condition, the pair had to conduct research for any advice that they could find about the specialist care he needed. Their little Nubby’s survival depended on it.
Needless to say, Nubby had to be fed by hand, but that was just the beginning. Indeed, if any liquid entered his lungs, he could develop aspiration pneumonia. As a result, he had to be fed at an angle in order to avoid any further health complications.
Under the Robinson’s care, though, Nubby flourished. “Day three came and went,” his foster mother informed The Dodo. “[Then] day seven, day ten, day 16, and Nubby thrived. He thrived! His eyes opened, his ears developed, he found his sounds, smells and voice.”
Things were going well for the family, and the first three weeks of Nubby’s new life went relatively smoothly. On the Friday of the fourth week, however, something changed for the worse. “He was going downhill,” Robinson said. The symptoms suggested throat problems.
He was blowing milk bubbles from his nose after feeding, which indicated some form of blockage. He was also sneezing and had stopped both eating and going to the toilet entirely. Under the circumstances, little Nubby had to be rushed for medical treatment.
The veterinarian’s X-ray results, however, were not favorable. Despite his humans’ best efforts, Nubby had contracted pneumonia. But that wasn’t the puppy’s only problem. “He had a pocket form in his esophagus that was trapping his milk,” Robinson explained. Nubby had to be treated immediately.
Despite his breathing problems, Nubby hadn’t been through so much hardship to go down without a fight. “He was not giving up,” Robinson said. “As long as he has a chance at quality of life, we will fight to give him that chance.”
After a stint in a breathing chamber and a course of strong antibiotics, Nubby started to pick up again. In fact, he managed to beat pneumonia. And although they won’t know for sure until he’s older, the Robinsons believe that he can beat his condition.
For the near future, planning has begun to help Nubby become more mobile. “Using Legos, Nubby has a rolling chest ramp,” Robinson wrote on Facebook. “He has got to start engaging his back legs forward to build strength.” Nubby’s social media fans have also offered assistance.
Their support has been both emotional and practical. One Nubbiac suggested that her contacts could use 3D-printing technology to make the adorable puppy a wheel board. Another kind-hearted WEAR follower even offered to donate her own equipment for Nubby. The future looks bright for this puppy.
Regardless of his health issues, Nubby has proven that life is worth fighting for. “Life finds a way,” Robinson said. Nubby has been a shining example. “[He’s] very happy, needy and rotten already,” his human mommy reported. And she’s loving every minute of it.