Without his heart surgery, he has zero life expectancy.
He has had his surgery. It went well.
Now his owner needs our help. She helps so many as a firefighter, animal rescuer, massage therapist, and has two other Bernese service dogs.
It was a beautiful starry night, the moon just rising over the trees when Hicks was born. I know this as I had spent most of that night outside with his mom during her 5 hour labour before she delivered him right into my hand at 4 am in the morning on June 12, 2012. The oldest of a litter of 5 beautiful bernese puppies, Hicks was the runt of the litter weighing only 11 oz when all the other litter mates were well over a pound. Hicks was not able to nurse on his own, he needed to be hand fed, held to a nipple for what seemed like hours on end, supplement fed through a syringe and watched constantly to ensure that he was not hurt by the bigger pups or stepped on by his mom. Some people said that “maybe you should not fight too hard for him”, but that is not in my nature, I felt that he too deserved a “fighting chance”.
Hicks thrived, though he always a little “behind” his brothers and sister. They had their teeth first, could climb stairs well before Hicks could and he didn’t play as much as they did. He would lie on the grass and watch the world go by, he seemed really “laid back”, we now know that this was because he had low energy due to his cardiac condition.
Hicks has recently been diagnosed with 2 fatal heart conditions, Sub-Aortic Stenosis and Pulmonary Stenosis. In laymen’s terms it means that he has 2 areas in his heart that are narrowed causing a decrease in blood flow to his lungs and the rest of this body. Without surgery he is not expected to see his first birthday. Every day without surgery means that his heart is working too hard and becoming more and more damaged. His symptoms are increasing as he grows, his heart can not keep up with the increased demand.
Hicks is scheduled to have his surgery on Nov 14, 2012, with Dr Cote a renown cardiac veterinarian at The PEI Vet College, if successful Hicks should be able to run and play with his mom Newt and his Uncle Ripley, something that he is now restricted in doing , due to the risk of his having a heart attack.
I hand raised this little guy, nursed him, held him, and tried to do everything that I could to give him his best chance at survival, I can not fail him now, I have to try once again to give him a full happy life.