ZIPPER (Cleft Palate Puppy)


There is never a good time to let you know when one of our precious pups has crossed over The Rainbow Bridge.  We cry and then have no choice but to move forward, saving the ones that we can.


The Cleft Palate puppies were a challenge from the very beginning.  We knew we couldn't save them all but were hopeful we could save most of them.  We had every Specialist around working on their care and spared nothing if they needed it.  We lost two in the hospital and got to bring Zipper and Chip to live with us at Noah's Arks Rescue.


We decided from the beginning that they needed to go home with someone each night.  Our Adoption Coordinator, Jeri, decided she was the best person for the job.  She would take them home at night and bring them back when she worked.  If she had to go anywhere, she brought them to the Rehab Facility.  I made the special food and did all of the calculations for their feedings.


Each puppy was challenging to feed without them aspirating.  The first to aspirate was Chip.  He had the worst defect and was more prone to problems than adorable Zipper.  We were constantly rushing him to the ER or the Vet.  Zipper was full of Life and loved to play and wrestle.  She had no problems eating the food we prepared.  The last time Chip had to be rushed to the ER, we thought for sure we would lose him.


Chip got better, and we were able to bring him back to NAR.  During this time, he also fractured his leg and had to be taken back to the ER.  Keeping them strong and healthy for the six-month mark was our goal so they could have their cleft palate surgery.  When Chip became neurologically impaired, we thought he would be the next to go.   He was treated and kept in ICU for several days until he became stable.


During all these visits with Chip, Zipper was thriving.  She had boundless energy, was alert, and was as bright as a sunbeam.  One morning after playing, something drastic happened.  Zipper suddenly acted like she was afraid of us and began to back away to the back of her kennel.  What we later realized was she had started to lose her eyesight.  She could hear us but could not see us.


She was rushed to CVRC in Charleston, where they were already prepared for her.  By the time Zipper arrived, she was having a difficult time breathing.  Her lungs were clear, and she had not aspirated, but she was in distress for some reason.  ICU put her in an oxygen chamber in hopes that would give them time to figure out what was happening.   


Everyone was in shock at how our adorable little girl could go from happy and healthy to barely functioning.  Over the next couple of days, she deteriorated further.  She was not able to leave the Oxygen Chamber, which broke each of our hearts.  I had Jeri be with her one final time, and we had to say goodbye to our precious girl.


The ICU Team thinks her hydrocephalus had become worse, and that is what caused her decline.  She was not strong enough for us to do any procedures to remove the pressure from the excess fluid.   We had done everything possible, and in the end, the love we showered on each of these little Angels was all they needed before they crossed over.


Chip is doing remarkedly well and growing like a weed.  He is up to sixteen pounds.  His hydrocephalus has almost resolved, and he is looking more like a boxer puppy every day.  He will get to have his surgery in two more months to give him the best possible outcome.


Tonight when you look up at the night sky, say a prayer for Zipper and her siblings that went before her.  They will be the stars bouncing all over the sky, jumping for joy. They can now play with their little Sister.


Thanks for giving Zipper and all her siblings a chance at surviving their genetic hardships.   We thought we could save them all, but the Universe needed three Angels.  If we had it to do all over again, we would not change a thing.  These precious pups needed a chance to survive their hardships, and we gave them that.  Thanks for giving them the Gift of Life.

September 15, 2021 by Jennifer Smith