Clifford aka Cliffy had his own Instagram page here: https://www.instagram.com/cliffordthecleftdog/
In April of 2017, we were contacted by a shelter in Pueblo, Colorado to see if we could help this sweet boy. We were told that he has a cleft lip and palate with his surgical costs estimated at over $9,000. We couldn't say no.
Donations poured in, then a series of miracles happened. First, an angel of an veterinarian named Patti Canchola, was instrumental in getting Clifford and his sister Kenna, into rescue. Second, CSU Veterinary college agreed to donate their time and services for a fraction of the cost of the original surgery estimate. Thirdly, when our adoption coordinator, Becky, traveled from Colorado Springs to Pueblo to pick our boy, now named Clifford, up, a film crew from National Geographic was waiting for us at the Pueblo Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region.
National Geographic is filming a new series featuring animal law enforcement and humane societies in the Colorado area. They have been following Clifford since he arrived at the shelter.
Clifford is seen here getting his first consult at CSU Veterinary College in Ft. Collins, Colorado.
Immediately after CWVRG retrieved Clifford and his sister, Kenna from the shelter, Clifford's foster mom and Becky started brainstorming and looking for some out-of-the-box solutions for what they thought would be multiple surgeries. (Luckily, he ended up not needing any painful procedures.). In their quest, they spurred interest from a wonderful couple that ended up being a perfect fit for Clifford's forever family. His new mom works with cleft palate kids, and Clifford may just end up being a therapy dog some day. Sometimes everything just falls into place!
After it was announced that Cliffy had a permanent new home, his foster Mom's coworkers threw him a "puppy shower."
Since then, Clifford has required surgery to remove some of his front teeth. Cliffy's front teeth are are not fully into his mouth, so they started rotting. During the extractions, it was discovered that he had also broken his nose sometime in the past. At this time, it does not appear that he will need additional surgery for that. He may however, need more tooth extractions down the line.
Clifford has progressed in his quest toward being a therapy dog. He recently graduated from 1st grade aka puppy school and is now moving onto the next level. Additionally, in July 2017, he attended a picnic for children who have lip and cleft palates and was a huge hit. He even made it onto TV!
While we don't know what Cliffy's official birthday is, his adoptive parents figured that it was probably October. They picked October 15th. Sounds about right to us! Happy 1st Birthday sweet Clifford!
Most of us here at CWVRG had never seen a cleft palate Vizsla before, then within 4 months, we found ourselves the caretakers for not only Clifford but Oliver as well!
At three days old, this adorable baby was brought with the rest of his litter, to the vet by his breeder, to have his tail docked. Unlike his siblings, he wasn't thriving. When his vet looked into his mouth, the reason became very clear. He had a severe cleft palate which was preventing him from nursing. His breeder wanted him euthanized, but thankfully, his vet offered to take him instead. Within minutes, she contacted us, and of course we agreed to take him. I mean, how could we turn down such a sweet baby?
He stayed with his vet for three weeks. Her Frenchie, who had puppies the same age, took him in as one of her own. While he couldn't nurse, he still benefited from having a doggie mother and siblings.
A veterinary bottle with a special nipple for cleft palate puppies just didn't work for him so she ended up having to tube feed him every hour, around the clock. After the first critical three weeks passed by, our stalwart president, Teila, drove to eastern Kansas and picked him up. It took a long day of traveling before our baby, soon to be named Oliver or Ollie for short, landed at his new foster mom's home in Colorado.
Oliver's foster Mom is a nurse and was able to find a pediatric nipple made for babies with cleft palates that worked, simplifying some of his feedings. Due to the risk of aspiration, tube feeding is still the preferred method, so she could only bottle feed Ollie twice per day. Despite his hardships, Oliver thrived, and quickly became a "foster failure."
Ollie was the receipt of many gifts including this dapper bow tie that was almost bigger than he was. We are happy to report that he has now grown into it quite well.
After multiple infections, and feeding difficulties, on October 20, 2017, little Oliver had his first surgery to close his cleft palate. We were warned that if it was too big, it might not be fixable. Happily the surgery was a success. He was pretty uncomfortable for the first few days, but soon was feeling ornery enough to pull out his feeding tube. Mom promptly put it back in and took him to the vet to check it and have a stitch put in to hold it in place. A week later the feeding tube became infected and was removed.
Because he couldn't seem to keep things out of his mouth, plus the "little" episode with his feeding tube, Oliver had to wear his Halloween costume for several days after the holiday. Poor Ollie. You have to admit, he does make an awful cute Hannibal Lecter.
On November 17, Oliver went back for his post surgical check up. Everything looked good except a small fistula at the very front of his mouth. He weighed in at 20 lbs. A far cry from the nine ounces he weighed when he first came to us
On December 20, 2017, Ollie had another surgery to finish closing his cleft. We were hoping to wait a little longer, but true to form, Ollie wasn't having anything to do with waiting. To speed things up, he managed to get a small piece of wood stuck in the hole, causing yet another infection, requiring sedation to dig it out. After his latest surgery, his vets were pleased with the closure, but of course, there is still a risk of it reopening. Please say a prayer for this guy; He has had it really rough these first few months of his life.
Oliver's second surgery to close the final hole in his cleft palate was successful! His palate looks amazing and he is so excited to have his antler back. He can have big boy food now and be a "regular puppy". Weighing in at 30lbs, he's not so little anymore. Thanks to CSU for doing such a great job.