BEAUFORT, SC.....I hope all the Mothers out there enjoy a peaceful, relaxing day being loved by all your two and 4-legged children. I think everyone in some form or fashion is a Mother to someone or something, whether it be a human, animal, or the Earth. We are always nurturing and loving something.


I was contacted by Beaufort County Animal Services to help with a 2-year old lab that needed medical care. Girlfriend was an Owner Surrender. The Owner said she had started to decline two weeks prior and had since gone downhill and would not eat. BCAS took Girlfriend to several vets for help, and each one said her bloodwork was so bad they should put her down. This sweet lab clearly did not feel well but was wagging her tail and giving kisses.


I received the bloodwork before I got a picture of Girlfriend. She looked like she might need a transfusion but had other issues going on. BCAC said they would rush her to CVRC in Charleston if I would offer to help her. It was already close to 6:00 PM and would be around 7:30 before she arrived at the hospital. I made the necessary calls so the ER Team would be expecting her.


 No one would give this sweet pup a chance. My philosophy has always been to never give up on a dog. Do the tests to determine the medical issues and then do whatever it takes to save them. Girlfriend was taken back to the ER the minute she arrived in Charleston, and within 15 minutes, they had diagnosed her with Caval Syndrome.


Caval syndrome (CS) is a life-threatening illness caused by a mass of heartworms located aberrantly in the right atrium, the ventricle, and often the vena cava. The worm mass interferes with the tricuspid valve's closure and impedes normal blood flow through the right heart, leading to cardiovascular collapse. Girlfriend needed to have the worms removed for her to survive.  


Our Cardiologist, Dr. Sophy Jesty, was in surgery when she arrived but agreed to do the procedure in their Cath Lab the minute she was done. The ER Team made sure Girlfriend was stable and spent lots of quality time with her as she was waiting for her procedure. This sweet pup had suffered terribly over the last month while the heartworms were growing and taking away her ability to function.


When Dr. Jesty came out of surgery, she did more tests and agreed the only way to save this special girl was to extract the heartworms. She felt her chances were good for survival if only she could get the heartworms out. Dr. Jesty removed heartworms as carefully as possible, and Girlfriend was stable during the entire procedure. Unfortunately, at the end of the procedure, Girlfriend Flatlined and could not be revived. The entire Cardiology Team did everything possible to save sweet Girlfriend.  


I received the news around Midnight, right after he had passed. Dr. Jesty and her entire Team were heartbroken. In her whole career, Dr. Jesty had only lost one other patient during heartworm extraction, and she has done hundreds. Girlfriend was the first patient we had lost during this procedure. The odds are always 50-50, but our odds and Dr. Jesty's were much better.


I never look back and always look forward when it comes to our pups. Doing Girlfriend's procedure cost us thousands, and in the end, we lost her. Not one dog at Noah's Arks Rescue could have been saved if we relied on statistics or financial constraints. Girlfriend could just as easily survived the procedure and lived out her natural Lifespan of 10 more years.   


Mothers make difficult decisions every second of the day to save their children from pain and suffering. We don't always get the desired outcome, but we never stop trying. At Noah's Arks Rescue, we are the only Family these special pups will have until their forever home is found. We love and nurture each one of these beautiful animals in hopes we can turn their lives around. We didn't get the outcome we wanted with Girlfriend, but she did know unconditional love during the short time we had her.


Heartworm Disease is 100% preventable and 100% expected if you live in the South, where mosquitoes are everywhere. I am begging everyone to get their dog tested for heartworms and to treat and use preventative. Girlfriend did not have to die this way. She suffered a long time before she finally succumbed to the disease. No animal should die this way.


In honor of Girlfriend and all the other pups suffering this horrible death, please Donate so we can pay her final medical bills and help more dogs like Girlfriend survive. Thanks for caring and giving her a chance at surviving. Happy Mother's Day.

May 09, 2021 by Jennifer Smith