Although Ladybird looks like a typical dog, the two-year-old puppy has been diagnosed with heartworm disease.
“Apparently she was in a hoarding situation in Virginia, and now she’s come here to Main Line Animal Rescue and I fell in love with her.”
Ladybird is a success in the making thanks to the new Healing Heartworm program. It is the result of a partnership between BISSELL Pet Foundation and Mainline animal rescue, of which the latter is a subsidiary of the Pennsylvania SPCA.
“Heartworm is an endemic disease in the southern states,” said Nichola Redmond, Main Line site manager. “So through this program we are taking these dogs that are basically preparing for euthanasia in most cases.”
Redmond says they aim to save 100 dogs by the end of 2021.
“They’re adorable and adoptable in every other way,” she added, “and we’re basically saving their lives.”
Veterinarian Alicia Royer has the opportunity to watch these dogs transform during a four month treatment process.
“Once they are negative, as long as they stay on their heartworm preventative treatment like every dog should be, they shouldn’t acquire it again and that should be a part of their past,” she declared.
Royer and his team follow the American Heartworm Society guidelines for killing all stages of heartworm and preventing further damage from the disease. In addition to preventative heartworm medicine, every dog receives preventative treatment against fleas and ticks. This is designed to ward off mosquitoes, which are the main vector of heartworm transmission.
Once treatment is complete, these dogs should continue to live almost normal lives.
“You have to be patient, but at the end of the process, I hope I have a perfectly healthy and incredibly gentle dog, which I couldn’t ask for more,” Deutsch said.
Deutsch is currently hosting Ladybird and will proceed with its formal adoption in the coming weeks. While they enjoy spending time together at home on the couch, they’re not afraid to work hard.
“Fortunately, I own a pet store, so I get the chance to give him all kinds of treats every day,” said Deutsch, who created “Spot’s – The place for paws” in Narberth, Pennsylvania, 18 years ago.
When Deutsch isn’t taking orders for pet food and toys, she is busy working as the mayor of Narberth. But she also finds her job as a mother dog to be important.
“I think life is fuller when you have a pet in the house,” she said.
Main Line Animal Rescue hopes to create more success stories like Ladybird’s in the future. However, they rely on help from the community.
“The BISSELL Pet Foundation has given us a grant and it needs matching funds,” Redmond said. “We are therefore asking those who care about these dogs at risk of dying in shelters in the south to help us keep them alive.”
To learn more about Main Line Animal Rescue or to make a donation, visit their website.
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