On November 28, a very special puppy reached yet another amazing milestone. She turned 12 weeks old on that happy day, and her name is Sasha.
Most puppies consider reaching the three-month mark to be standard. However, every day is a blessing for Sasha, who was born with hydrocephalus, a cleft lip, and a cleft palate.
Sasha has been in the expert care of special needs cat rescuer Marie DeMarco since the day she was born. The acronym for her animal rescue group, FURRR 911, is Felines Urgently Rescued, Rehabilitated, and Rehomed.
DeMarco specializes in bottle-feeding orphaned kittens and tending to sick, wounded, or special needs cats. She calls these fundamental facts "fully wrong."
Even though Sasha was a dog, she could tell straight away that she would fit in.
DeMarco wrote on Facebook, "She has been a fighter from the beginning and has surmounted various hurdles in her short time on this world. "When I look into her eyes, none of that matters," I said as her foster mother. "I've fretted and strained as her foster mom, lost a lot of sleep, and grown a few new grey hairs."
The tiny dog now weighs just over two pounds, which is exciting given the awful illness she recently overcame. Sasha was one of many cleft palate puppies who had upper respiratory infections.
Her symptoms included a fever, runny nose, vomiting, an inflamed eye, and weight loss. Sasha, who was barely a pound, couldn't afford to lose weight!
When Sasha's condition did not improve after receiving antibiotics, DeMarco became even more worried. The delicate pup's temperature was back to normal, but she was still listless, unsteady on her paws, and averse to eating.
DeMarco took Sasha back to her neurologist because he was concerned that hydrocephalus was the root of her issues.
Sasha began to improve under the doctor's guidance and a strict daily regimen of medications, fluids, and tube feedings. By the time she turned 12 weeks old, she was her usual feisty, cuddly self again.
DeMarco, who is most likely to replace Sasha's foster mother as her biological mother, describes Sasha as a "very calm and reserved puppy." This puppy is not your typical canine. She enjoys perching next to or above my foot.
Even though they are bigger than her, she enjoys cuddling with her feline friends and other rescue animals!
Sasha is adorable, as you can see here:
Sasha faces a challenging journey with no guarantees, but she is surrounded by an abundance of love, dedication, and support.
DeMarco added, "This animal is a fantastic inspiration. Sasha "proven to be a fighter with a great commitment to life despite her genetic deformities and medical condition," according to the article.
Visitors to the FURRR 911 website can donate to Sasha's care and monitor her progress on Facebook.
Update: In March 2018, just after turning six months old, Sasha crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Throughout her brief life, she provided affection and joy to her friends who were canines, cats, and humans. FURRR 911, a rescue organization that has now taken in more cleft-palate puppies, is helping to preserve Sasha's memory.
Volunteer photographer Gina Gencarelli captured Sasha's beautiful birthday pictures.