When animal control services discovered a helpless puppy roaming a parking lot in Ajax, they brought him to the Humane Society of Durham Region for help. In August 2022, HSDR joined the Ontario SPCA family will boost their ability to care for vulnerable animals. 

While the circumstances surrounding how this adorable three-month-old bulldog mix puppy, later named Archie, ended up alone in a parking lot remain unclear, no one came forward to claim him. Perhaps he was abandoned due to his medical needs, as he was born with a cleft palate.  

Understanding cleft palate in dogs 

The palate refers to the roof of the mouth. When a dog has a cleft palate, there is a gap in the middle of the palate, ranging in size from small (a few millimeters) to severe (extending along the entire length of the hard and soft palate). As a result, there is a lack of tissue connection between the mouth and nasal passages. 

Dogs with cleft palates often face difficulties such as coughing or gagging while eating and drinking. This occurs because the food and water pass through the trachea instead of the esophagus. Inhaling food and water may lead to respiratory infections. Early symptoms may include runny nose, persistent coughing, and fever, progressing to lethargy, difficulty breathing, and potentially even death. 

$6,000 surgery and dental work for Archie’s bright future 

The animal care team at the Humane Society of Durham Region scheduled Archie for an appointment with a surgeon to discuss the next steps in the pup’s health journey. The veterinarian confirmed that surgery to correct the medical condition was necessary, along with extensive dental work, to give Archie the best chance at a bright future. The vet expressed optimism for a successful procedure, ideally eliminating the need for ongoing care.  

The estimated cost for Archie’s procedure and follow-up care was $6,000. Though significant, our team knew that moving forward with the veterinarian’s recommendation would give Archie the best chance for a happy and healthy life – something he truly deserves! 

Archie awaits surgery in loving foster-to-adopt home 

At just three months old, Archie was deemed too young to receive the surgery he needed. Fortunately, it did not take long for this special pup to find his perfect family. Placed in their loving home through our “foster-to-adopt” program, Archie thrived with his forever family until reaching the suitable age and weight for the procedure.  

Successful surgery gives Archie his second chance  

While he will need some time to fully recuperate and heal from the procedure, Archie is on his way to living his best life! The surgery to correct his cleft palate was a success! And, has since been officially adopted! 

“As we celebrate Archie’s upcoming transition to the next chapter of his life with his forever family, our team, who has become very attached to this special pup, will undoubtedly miss him dearly,” says Shannon Stephenson, Manager of the Humane Society of Durham Region. Shannon adds, “We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our veterinary partners, Archie’s foster-to-adopters, and our generous donors whose unwavering support made his transformative medical treatment possible.” 

How you can help 

As a registered charity that does not receive annual government funding, we rely on the compassion and generosity of individuals like you who make it possible to provide urgently needed care and shelter for thousands of vulnerable animals each year. To make a donation to help change the lives of animals, please visit our website: ontariospca.ca/donate 

Fostering is another great way to help animals in need. If you are interested in giving vulnerable animals the TLC they need to help them find a loving forever home, visit our website to learn more and apply: ontariospca.ca/volunteer/become-a-foster-family/ 




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