When “Hero,” the seven-month-old puppy, was found and brought to Colonial Heights Animal Services, he was so cold and close to death that there was little hope he would survive the afternoon.
But thanks to the combination of a skilled veterinarian, incredible love, and the fighting spirit of this sweet pup, rescuers are calling his come-back story a “Christmas miracle.”
When Hero’s tiny, freezing body was first laid on Dr. Riddle’s examination table, he appeared to be lifeless. In fact, he was so cold that she couldn’t even get a temperature to register on her thermometer. Everyone in the room was of the impression that he was already gone. But when the veterinarian started doing a more thorough examination, she found that he hadn’t quite slipped away.
“I get my stethoscope out and listened and at first when I listened, I didn’t hear anything. And then like five seconds in, I heard one heartbeat,” said Dr. Riddle.
His heart was still beating, so there was still hope. But not only did they face the challenge of raising his body temperature, but his oxygen levels were also nearly non-existent, and his lab results indicated that his blood sugar was at an extremely low 21. (A number that should be closer to 100.)
Immediately, her team went to work, taking measures to warm him. Staff used heating pads, warm blankets, heated fluids, and a sugar IV that Hopewell Animal Hospital lovingly donated in an attempt to revive him. After that, all there was left to do was wait.
Then, finally, after seven long hours, Hero had enough strength to lift his head. Staff members were overjoyed, as this was an excellent sign. At last, he was able to eat a few spoonfuls of food. Not long after that, sweet, shy Hero was actually able to stand. So he decided to take a short stroll around the clinic, where he was rewarded with lots of love and tons of treats.
“I just felt really blessed to be able to take care of him,” said Dr. Riddle.
After a deeper examination of his bloodwork, it appears that his brush with death was only the icing on top of what was clearly a rough initial seven months of life. Obvious evidence of chronic malnourishment showed up, and it was clear upon his arrival that he was emaciated and had zero body fat.
“I would consider it a Christmas miracle. That’s just me. It’s a comeback story,” said Amanda Sverchek, the Colonial Heights Animal Services supervisor.
But lucky for Hero, he was found and then rushed to the rescue, where he was able to connect with Dr. Biddle and receive stellar medical care. His future also looks incredibly promising. He will be a guest at the shelter for a few weeks while he heals and learns to socialize, and then he will be available for adoption. What a Christmas Miracle!