Saved by Angell: Puppy Gets a Second Lease on LifePublished August 17, 2012
Photo courtesy of Kellie Olsen
Nine month old terrier mix puppy Lyssa gets life saving heart surgery at Angell Animal Medical Center and is now at her forever home.
When 9-month-old terrier mix Lyssa was brought to the MSPCA by the Boston Animal Control in May, she was at death’s door. She was born with Patent Ductus Arteriosus, a condition marked by a damaged blood vessel that, if untreated, leads to congestive heart failure. Lyssa’s owners surrendered her in the hopes that someone else could provide care in her last days. But Lyssa got a second chance, thanks to the life saving work of MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center.
Lyssa was brought to Dr. Cindi Cox of the MSPCA’s Shalit Glazer Clinic, which is funded entirely by donations from the public and meets the medical needs of homeless animals. Upon evaluation, Dr. Cox knew that the playful white colored Lyssa would make the perfect pet if only she could receive heart surgery.
In the hopes of helping Lyssa, Dr. Cox turned to her colleague Dr. Nancy Laste, who is part of a four-doctor cardiology team at the Angell Animal Medical Center. On June 20, Dr. Laste and her team conducted a challenging two hour surgery on the seven pound puppy that involved placing a specially designed plug into the end of one of Lyssa’s heart vessels to stop the leak and cure the condition ailing her. The medical procedure was not the first ever, but Dr. Laste has pioneered a less intrusive way to do it that involves accessing the heart through an artery in the leg.
Within a day, Lyssa was up and running, and was even playing. Lyssa suffers no adverse effects from her surgery and doctors believe she will live a long and perfectly healthy life.
Kellie Olsen, an ER nurse in training visited the Angell Adoption Center with her mother Janet after learning about Lyssa on Petfinder.com. A tail wagging Lyssa greeted them. Kellie and her mom wanted to give Lyssa a chance at a happy forever home that she never had. The mother and daughter duo adopted Lyssa and brought her home within a week after the surgery.
Lyssa is Kellie's first dog and she couldn't have been happier with her choice. “I’ve always been supportive of the underdogs, that’s why I went into nursing. Poor little Lyssa, she is little, and she deserves a good life no matter what her health conditions are. That part didn’t bother me,” she said.
Kellie added, “Nothing in life is perfect, and you don’t necessarily get what you want. Even with humans, you don’t know what’s coming down the road. You can go to the best breeder and still get a sick puppy.”
Little Lyssa is now thriving in her forever home. She is taking obedience classes and is being house trained. She can even do a dance on her back paws. “I love Lyssa. I couldn’t have asked for an easier puppy,” Kellie said. “But for this life-saving surgery by Angell, we would never have the opportunity to share our lives with lovely Lyssa. We are so honored that we can provide her a home and we look forward to many years with her!," she added.
Photo credit: MSPCA-Angell
Angell Animal Medical Center’s Pet Care Assistance Program, which helps offset the cost of care for shelter animals and victims of cruelty and abuse, covered Lyssa’s medical expenses. Rob Halpin, spokesperson for Angell said that the money for Lyssa’s surgery came from the Lilly the Hero Pit Bull fund. Angell played a crucial role in helping Lilly recover after a train struck her while she was saving her unconscious owner from the tracks.
“So much money poured in for Lilly that we were able to pay for all of Lilly’s surgeries and care plus Lyssa’s surgery as well,” said Rob. “We try to help as many animals as we have money to pay for their needs. If an animal is deemed adoptable, then we will find a way to pay for their care – either through asking the community for help or using money from Pet Care Assistance,” he added.
Angell Animal Medical Center treats over 50,000 animals every year. Last year, the MSPCA Angell’s three adoption centers placed 8,732 homeless animals into new homes.
To learn more and support Angell Animal Medical Center’s life saving Pet Care Assistance Program, click here.
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