ACKCS Rescue Trust
On the 4th of July, 2007, when the rest of the USA was celebrating, a litter of puppies were born in the dark garage of a backyard breeder in Oregon. One was Oakley, a tri-colored boy, who was full of life and hope. For the next months, Oakley stayed in that dark, dank garage confined to a crate. Eventually, all the dogs, including Oakley, were seized and sent to the local animal shelter. Oakley was quickly adopted. His new owner took him to her vet and he was diagnosed as having a level 5 out of 6 heart murmur and the vet was certain this was Mitral Valve Disease (MVD.) Following the diagnosis, his new owner found that she was pregnant and she and her family felt that this heart condition was more than they could handle with a new baby. No one wanted him due to his heart disease and the knowledge that his lifespan would be uncertain and the medical attention and medications needed could be costly.
Fortunately for Oakley, a kind single mother and her young son became interested in him. The mother researched the breed, talked to breeders and spoke with her vet about what she and her son could expect if they adopted Oakley. Her vet told her that, while his lifespan was uncertain, he would be a perfect family dog for the time they would have him and recommended that they give him a chance. Both the breeder and her vet advised the mother she should take him to a specialist to confirm the diagnosis and to see how far it had progressed. This young single mother and her son couldn’t resist Oakley’s big brown eyes, floppy ears, and need for a loving home, so they welcomed him into their family with the hope that he would be one of those lucky dogs who live a long life, but they understood the risk.
Oakley’s new owner took him to a cardiologist who performed a complete work up to evaluate his condition. After a full day of rigorous tests the doctor explained that Oakley was suffering from severe pulmonary stenosis, not MVD. The doctor further explained that there was a surgery that could fix this condition and that 85% of dogs undergoing this surgery live a full and active life. Unfortunately, the surgery was too costly for this small family. Wanting to do everything possible to help Oakley became most important; she contacted the ACKCS Rescue Trust to see if it was possible for the Rescue Trust to take this dog. When the Rescue Trust accepted Oakley and arranged for his surgery, his person said "someone is watching over Oakley’s life and I am blessed to see good fortune coming to a dog that started out in the dark garage of a back yard breeder. If I had ignored the recommendations and assumed that he had MVD, this chance would never have come to such a deserving dog."
On Wednesday, October 21st, the surgery was performed. The surgery was considered successful. While in recovery, Oakley’s oxygen saturation levels dropped dramatically. The concern was there could be a blood clot in Oakley’s lungs or that he has had a bad reaction to the anesthesia. Oakley was considered critical, but stable at this point in time. We remained hopeful.
Early Friday, we were encouraged by the fact Oakley had more energy and was happy to see people as well as able to go outside to relieve himself. He ate well. His oxygen saturation level would be good for awhile and then he would really need the oxygen cage to help improve his breathing.
On Friday night, Oakley continued to have difficulty breathing. The surgery was still considered successful, and by echocardiogram showed it was working. This should have improved Oakley’s pulmonary function. However, it was not. Oakley’s oxygen saturation levels were not good and he was dependent on the oxygen cage.
The doctors saw a shadow on his lungs on CT scan (donated by the hospital). They were not able to determine if it was a blood clot or post operative pneumonia, so they were treating him for both. On Saturday, Oakley really took a turn for the worse. He didn’t really respond to the visit from his people. He was totally dependent on the oxygen cage. Then he started having seizures, probably due to the lack of oxygen even with oxygen support.
It is with deep sadness we came to the decision to help Oakley cross over to the Rainbow Bridge. He was held by his person and surrounded by the hospital staff who had worked so hard to give him a chance of survival. We—all of you who helped in anyway—tried our best to help this little dog who had started out in the worst of circumstances. He was loved by all of us and he went to the Bridge knowing that love.
To honor Oakley and remind us all of the need for rescue, we have a new logo for the ACKCS Rescue Trust. It is Oakley. He will remain with all of us, always and is very special to the ACKCS Rescue Trust. He is our heart dog.