Help Echo Heal

Help Echo Heal2022-09-09T09:14:11-04:00
After a few weeks in the hydrotherapy pool, Echo has not warmed up to the process. And while she continued to try her best, her doctors have decided it causes more distress than anything. Echo will always have an awkward gait due to the damage done by life in a puppy mill, but since giving birth to her final litter she has been moving better every day.

Now Echo is putting her past hardships behind her, and we’re happy to announce Echo has finally found her happy home! Jenn and her daughter had recently lost their beloved 16-year-old Shih Tzu and were feeling an emptiness in their household. Along came Echo to heal their hearts! After seeing Echo’s story, they reached out to Animal League America. Says Jenn, “We knew wanted another dog, but didn’t want a puppy. I knew from other life experiences — especially after losing my husband — that sometimes the best way to heal is to love again.”

Echo is truly enjoying being center of attention and has all the cuddles she deserves. And she is also appreciating all the “firsts” after life in a puppy mill. “Watching her learn to trust and adjust to her first real home is so rewarding and fun to watch,” says Jenn. “Things like a couch, a toy, and a backyard are so new to her. She is adjusting well, and her personality is really coming out.”

Jenn and her daughter know Echo already has a legion of fans, so they created an Instagram page for her. You can follow her story at: @echosfureverhome.

As Echo’s babies continued to thrive and grow into the playful pups they are, mom was never too far away; she always kept a watchful eye on her small pack. With each passing day they grew stronger – and more mischievous – until they were finally ready to find a home of their own. We are so happy to report that each of Echo’s pups have been adopted into loving, responsible homes. Now Echo is ready for the next step of her journey.

After taking a little time to recover from being spayed, Echo will begin physical therapy to increase the range of motion in her right leg. Her rehab regimen will include some time in our state-of-the-art hyrdrotherapy pool. This will allow Echo to move more freely without excessive strain on her joints.

Echo’s first try in the pool was a little unsettling for her, but it is normal for animals to be a bit apprehensive initially with this kind of therapy. Over time they usually become more comfortable. We will be patient with Echo as she settles in to this new routine, and then determine if the therapy has any real benefit for her.

For now, Echo is very comfortable as she continues to enjoy lots of attention from her many friends here at North Shore Animal League America, and her new life outside the nursery as an office foster pet. She’s been getting around well and is eager to find a home of her own where she can finally settle in to life as a beloved companion animal.

In the brief time Echo has been with us following her rescue from a puppy mill, her life has changed exponentially. Her transformation has been made possible thanks to the generous support of our Help Me Heal Program. This vital program gives abused and neglected animals the lifesaving care they need to have the life they were always meant to live.

We are sad to report that Echo’s third pup born with a cleft palate passed away. Our dedicated team did all they could, but in the end the congenital defect was too much for his tiny body to overcome. It is times like this that those in the veterinary community feel the loss heavily, however Echo’s bright eyes and tender nature are a reminder that life goes on and there is still work to do.

The remaining four pups are progressing very well, and Echo continues to be a doting new mom, nursing and cleaning up after her babies, making sure they are growing healthy and strong. Echo does also enjoy the occasional visitor, and perks up when her human friends come to see her and her precious litter.

For now, Echo will keep tending to her puppies in our Nursery. When she is ready, this resilient survivor will embark on the next phase in her journey to a better life. Echo’s rehabilitation plan will strive to increase her range of motion with physical therapy, hydrotherapy, and possibly laser therapy to stimulate and strengthen her muscles. Echo still has a long road ahead, and your support can help her every step of the way.

Keeping Echo under our watchful care, our medical team was at the ready when she went into labor last weekend. While Echo was able to manage the delivery of all seven of her puppies, sadly three of them were born with cleft palates. This is a congenital condition where the roof of the mouth does not close properly, making it difficult to swallow without aspirating, and rendering it nearly impossible for the puppies to nurse. Of the three puppies, two did not survive despite our best efforts, and one is clinging to life in an incubator, and is being fed through a feeding tube.

“The cleft palate issues in Echo’s puppies may have been caused by improper breeding at the facility that Echo was rescued from,” noted Dr. Marina Tejada, Animal League America Supervising Veterinarian. “The prognosis for the surviving pup is guarded at the moment, but we may be able to surgically repair the palate once he is a little bigger.”

We are doing all we can to help him in his fight for life. Meanwhile, Echo is nursing her four pups while we continue to monitor the family and make sure everyone has proper nutrition and weight gain. Once the puppies are weaned, we look forward to providing Echo with the physical therapy she needs for her orthopedic issues, and ultimately finding this very special mom the home she deserves.

Mom-to-be Echo has settled in well into our Nursery, and after the revelation of her pregnancy, Echo has surprised us yet again. She is carrying seven puppies! Given Echo’s small size and her orthopedic condition, this will present some challenges. As she continues to gain weight, her mobility will be even more limited. Ideally Echo will deliver the pups without intervention, but if her body is not able to handle the birth of such a large litter, we will perform a cesarean section. “From here on out,” said Dr. Marina Tejada, Animal League America Supervising Veterinarian, “we will be checking her temperature every day. When a dog goes into labor, their temp drops anywhere from one to two degrees below normal. That will be our indication labor is imminent.”

Once the litter arrives, Echo’s work is not over. Nursing seven hungry puppies will be no easy feat, so she will require lots of supervision to make sure her tiny body stays strong and healthy. We will keep close watch on the puppies as well, and if any need supplemental feeding, we will be there. After the puppies are weaned, we can begin treating Echo’s hind leg issues with physical therapy, including hydrotherapy and laser therapy. First things first though, and that is helping Echo through her pregnancy. We expect her offspring will be just as adorable as their mom, and will hopefully share her affectionate and endearing disposition.

Echo recently spent some much-needed quality time in our grooming department. Having spent years in a puppy mill, this sweet girl was past due for some pampering. After a quick consult with her groomer Paulette, it was clear that Echo would need to be fully shaved. “Echo is a typical puppy mill dog when it comes to grooming,” noted Paulette. “She has mats all over. So she’ll need to be shaved down very, very short.” When a dog — especially a long-haired breed — is not groomed regularly, mats form as the tangled fur wraps around itself and creates tightly wound clumps. These mats can be painful and cause skin irritation, not to mention create the perfect hiding place for fleas and bacteria.

Likely having never been groomed before, Echo seemed to enjoy the experience and was the perfect little lady throughout. After she was perfectly puffed and polished, Echo looked completely transformed. Now this charming beauty can rest comfortably in our Nursery, under the watchful eyes of our dedicated veterinary team, while she continues to prepare for the arrival of her puppies.

Help Puppy Mill Survivor Face the Challenges Ahead

Echo arrived at North Shore Animal League America as part of our recent puppy mill rescue. From her outward appearance, we knew she had conditions in need of our intervention. What we didn’t know, however, was what Echo carried inside her — this scruffy and endearing Shih Tzu with malformed hind legs is also pregnant.

“Dogs from puppy mills can have a lot of issues and unfortunately Echo is no different,” said Dr. Marina Tejada, Animal League America Supervising Veterinarian. “She suffers from bilateral hip dysplasia so severe that neither of her femurs are attached to her hips where they’re supposed to be.” This deformation has left Echo with an abnormal gait. Dr. Tejada also observed that Echo’s right leg is significantly worse than her left, and she uses it only for balance.

Like most dogs that come from puppy mills, Echo spent most of her time in a cage. Sadly the lack of proper exercise and medical care exacerbated her congenital defect. Chronic disuse caused her right leg to atrophy and the tendon to tighten, limiting the range of motion. It is something that Dr. Tejada noted could be improved with aggressive physical therapy: “The leg does bend ever so slowly with manipulation, which bodes well for Echo in the long term.”

In the short term, we must first help this expectant mom withstand the rigors of pregnancy. Given her current physical condition, Echo may struggle with her mobility as she gains weight. Our priority is to keep her safe and comfortable in our Nursery, where she will have the benefit of our care every step of the way. Due to her hip dysplasia, Echo might require intervention with her delivery, and we will be there. And we will be there to help her heal afterwards.

Echo’s optimism and affectionate, happy demeanor is contagious. Her tail never stopped wagging as she did her seal-like walk around the hallways of our Pet Health Centers. There are many challenges ahead for Echo, but with our expertise and your support, she will prevail.