Annie is not only beautiful on the outside, she is also so very beautiful on the inside. We are so extremely thankful to Dr. Giatis and to Ellie’s Rainy Day Fund for making it possible for our beautiful girl to still be alive, blessing us every day.
ANNIE'S MOM & DAD
People in our military struggle severely with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. That is why in two years when I retire, I want to train dogs to give to a Wounded Warrior in return for all they have done for us to keep us safe and so we have our freedom. I’ve seen firsthand the amazing healing the companionship of a dog can bring!
So, we went in search of a German Shepherd puppy. We got Annie from a breeder and we were attracted to her right away because I have always felt German Shepherds were so intelligent and could provide that healing that I was looking for. I can’t tell you how excited we were to bring home our new puppy! She was going to help me to see if I had the “right stuff” to be able to train dogs to help our Warriors once I retired. If I do, she was going to help me to train the dogs I’d be turning over to our veterans.
Five days after we got home, we took Annie for her check up with our Vet. One listen to her heartbeat and he looked at me – and I knew something was terribly wrong. Annie was diagnosed with a heart murmur and we were referred to a cardiologist named Dr. Giantis at Medvet. That’s when we got the news… Annie was only 16 weeks old, but if she didn’t have an abnormal pathway (a PDA) closed, she would go into heart failure and would die before she became a year old.
We couldn’t afford the surgery but we had made a commitment to her. We’re just so thankful that Ellie’s Rainy Day Fund helped with some of the costs. We couldn’t have had this surgery without you.
Now Annie is doing great. She’s almost 10 months old and about 80 pounds. She loves life, people, other dogs and is truly a joy to us. But she had lots of catching up to do after the surgery. She’d been on such exercise restrictions—five months with no walks; no interactions with others; no playing. My heart sang the first time she was given a squeaky toy four weeks after her surgery—she played & then she cried.
Annie’s reaction when family come to visit is so adoring – she carries on (we say she’s talking) as if she’s telling us how happy she is that we have come to see her. When we come home from work, she gives us the same amazing greeting and we are just as happy to see her.
She carries on many a conversation with us and it makes us love her more each day.
I have so many stories about her and our love for her that sometimes I have trouble putting into words how we feel. She is truly our pride and joy - and without a doubt our baby girl.
As you can see Annie is not only beautiful on the outside, she is also so very beautiful on the inside. We are so extremely thankful to Dr. Giatis and to Ellie’s Rainy Day Fund for making it possible for our beautiful girl to still be alive, blessing us every day.
Thank you, Dr. G., for giving us a quick overview of Annie’s medical challenges—and for saving Annie’s life!
I first saw Annie after she was referred to me because of a loud heart murmur that she had since birth. She was diagnosed with a patent ductus arteriosus (PDA), which is a congenital condition in which a blood vessel does not close during development, resulting in extra work for part of the heart. This important blood vessel ensures that blood does not go to the lungs unnecessarily when a puppy (or kitten) is developing in the uterus. During the first few hours after birth, this blood vessel naturally closes off, allowing blood to travel normally through the lungs for normal breathing. In some animals, like Annie, the blood vessel remains open.
As a result, the overloaded left side of the heart can begin to dilate and fail, leading to disturbances in heart rhythm (arrhythmias) and left-sided congestive heart failure (CHF).
Treatment options include open-chest surgery or the less invasive, cardiac catheter-based occlusion. In Annie’s case, we were able to perform the minimally invasive procedure to eliminate the over-circulation of blood to the heart. Annie did great for the procedure and her heart has already reduced to a near normal size.
Way to go Annie!