Finnegan's story starts out, unfortunately, much like many other puppies we save. His mom, Belinda, was out of time at a high-kill shelter.

Belinda, a 3-year-old Dachshund mix was rescued by Big Dog Ranch Rescue in the last stage of her pregnancy.  She safely arrived at Big Dog Ranch Rescue and was in a quarantine trailer scared and lonely, all by herself.  Luckily a long time employee, Debbie Hilton, took her home and convinced her husband that they should try fostering a pregnant mommy-to-be and experience birth since they didn't have human babies of their own. So Belinda went to her loving, temporary home and settled in quickly. Shortly after that, she gave birth.  

Two puppies, Jackie and Finnegan were born at home in the early morning hours.  Belinda did everything by herself as she clearly has been a Mom before. Then labor slowed to a full stop, and Guinness and Bailey were born at Big Dog Ranch Rescue with the help of the amazing Dr. MacNamara and the medical team. 

The little family went back to their foster home and Mom was just super with all of them.  However, sadly after 36 hours, Bailey passed away from Failure to Thrive Syndrome.  Jackie, Finnegan, and Guinness became the terrific trio and grew up playing and loving on one another.  Jackie and Guinness are now very happy at their new homes and enjoying their furever families. 

Finnegan was scheduled to go home at the same time as his siblings, but at his neuter appointment, Dr. MacNamara found a very strong heart murmur.  Finnegan was scheduled right away for a consult with Dr. Tacy Rupp, a leading cardiologist in South Florida, and was found to have a grade 5 heart murmur and severe pulmonary stenosis (severe blockage in the pulmonary valve that takes the blood to the lungs for oxygenation).  This causes the right heart to work much harder to pass blood to the lungs and increases the pressure within the valve and heart.  This also causes the heart to become enlarged if not corrected.

Severe pulmonic stenosis cases like Finnegan's can be improved surgically, as well as managed by medications to keep the heart rate down.   The procedure involves a balloon dilation of the narrow section of the valve, called a valvuloplasty.  The goal is to relieve the obstruction associated with the abnormal pulmonic valve.  In many cases a single procedure can decrease the pressure enough to allow the dog to live a normal and fulfilling life.

Finnegan's procedure will be done at the University of Florida in Gainesville and cost $3,500.  His treatment will not be done until he is 4 months of age so that his little body can handle the big growth spurt that young puppies go through.  In the meantime, he is being well cared for in his foster home and exercise has to be kept to a minimum to keep his heart rate down.  So lots of cuddling on the lap, reading the latest novels by the pool, and chewing those Nylabones to the max. 

If you can, please help us help little Finnegan. Together, we can heal his broken heart.