Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation (SASF) has once again stepped up to help a fur family in need. Krizzy and her babies were living outside in North Carolina, seeking refuge in an old shed, but once discovered, they were placed in an overcrowded animal shelter in their hometown.
Their luck began to change when a caring woman named Connie took in Krizzy and her babies and reached out for assistance. Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation Director of Animal Relations Kate McEntee happened to hear about the fur family and stepped in to help. “We worked with our rescue friends in North Carolina to find a way to have the whole family brought safety to the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation,” McEntee explained.
Nearly immediately Godiva, one of Krizzy’s babies, stood out for her small stature. She is significantly smaller than her siblings, less than half the size of Cadbury, her brother. Unfortunately, the rescue team realized that the adorable pup had difficulty eating, as whatever she consumed would regurgitate out of her nose and mouth after a meal.
“We knew we needed to help little Godiva. We knew that she would require specialists in order to diagnosis her issues and see what could be done – but we were never, ever! going to give up on her,” McEntee shared. After arriving at Southampton Animal Shelter in Hampton Bays, the staff set out to figure out what was causing the digestive issues. That included a visit with a specialist, and it was discovered that Godiva has a condition called Congenital Megaesophagus, which hinders the ability to swallow food because of the lack of esophagus muscle tone and motility. While that sounds menacing, with the right care, dogs with Megaesophagus can still live a long, joyous life. “Our veterinarians assessed her issues, and our staff immediately became obsessed and fell in love with her. We call her Baby G!” McEntee added.
“A thorough workup by the Animal Surgical Center revealed that Godiva’s megaesophagus is congenital. Because it is something she was born with, there are no surgical procedures available to improve her condition,” Dr. Nicole Mirante, Director of Medicine at the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation, noted. “The mainstay of therapy includes feeding her in an elevated position and avoiding circumstances that would increase her risk of aspirating, or inhaling, food or water.”
It is possible that Godiva’s condition will improve over time, but for now, she must be fed in an upright position (highchair or elevated food bowl), so she doesn’t have to lower her neck to eat – and must remain upright for 20 minutes after a meal. She also needs to eat several small meals throughout the day, three in the morning and three in the afternoon/evening, and must be watched as she eats to prevent choking.
“Godiva is a loving, wonderful puppy who will need a thoughtful, warm family and great home. Now that we know her condition to be megaesophagus, we can better manage her disease and hopefully reduce secondary complications to improve her quality of life,” said National Geographic veterinarian and surgeon at the Animal Surgical Center, Dr. Gabby Wild, who was assigned Godiva’s case.
Now that Godiva’s health is being addressed, SASF has turned their focus to finding a foster family who can accommodate Godiva’s unique needs. “[SASF] will provide you with everything you need to make Godiva’s foster story a success. Godiva comes with her own special feeding chair,” explained Crystal Monaco, who runs the Shelter’s Foster Program.
The story behind Godiva’s special feeding chair is just as extraordinary as the precious pup herself. “How she got the chair is an amazing story of kindness by a very special four-year-old girl named Phoebe,” McEntee said.
When Phoebe Schellinger of Southampton learned that Godiva would require a special chair to help her eat, the four-year-old asked that instead of birthday presents this year, friends and family assisted with procuring the feeding chair. They were successful with their efforts, and when Schellinger and her family dropped off the chair, they had the chance to meet Godiva.
Godiva’s siblings have already found their furever homes, so now just Godiva and her mom need to find their people. “As with all the animals in our care, the Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation will work tirelessly to find the right forever homes to fit their needs,” Joseph Sprague, Executive Director of The Southampton Animal Shelter Foundation, stated. “This is just one of the many success stories that we are proud to be a part of and we will continue to work hard to ensure many more in the future.”
Southampton Animal Shelter is located at 102 Old Riverhead Road in Hampton Bays. For more information, call 631-728-7387 or visit southamptonanimalshelter.com.