At just a few weeks old, tiny Ollie, who had been intaked at Austin Animal Center, was suddenly unable to eat and was experiencing severe diarrhea. Because of this, his total protein dropped to one – normal is six to eight. He was so sick he wasn’t able to move. Parvovirus (also simply referred to as parvo) had overcome Ollie. It would seem he was “too weak” to save, but those at AAC knew otherwise, and sent him to us.
APA! first began saving puppies with parvovirus in 2008. Although parvovirus is completely preventable through proper vaccinations, it’s unfortunately still very present in our day-to-day. Treating parvovirus can be a rigorous process; which is why so many shelters opt for euthaniasa over saving lives. In Austin, we took the road less traveled on and pioneered a system that saves hundreds of parvo puppies every year.
Today, we pull many puppies exhibiting signs of parvovirus from around Central Texas. Before the existence of our Parvo Puppy ICU, all puppies in the Central Texas area with parvovirus, or who were suspected of having parvovirus, were euthanized immediately. That is no longer the case.
If our Parvo Puppy ICU didn’t exist, Ollie would have never had his chance to grow into the loving dog he is, and Eroica and Kenneth would have never met the puppy that changed their lives for the better.
Eroica and Kenneth were eager to adopt a dog from APA! when they came across the the Parvo ICU Facebook page. After seeing some videos of Ollie regaining his mobility during his recovery, they knew they had to meet the tiny pup that showed such resilience. When they met him at his foster’s home, he was running around and playing with the other dogs! He was so full of energy and made sure to show off his zoomies!
“We joked that he was a little rascal, because he could care less that we were there and just kept running and trying to play with everything! We went into that meet and greet still unsure if we wanted to adopt a puppy, but we couldn’t resist his energy and cute little face, so we took the plunge. Luckily, we soon found out that after zoomies, Ollie is actually a very sleepy, calm pup!” Shares Eroica.
Adjusting to life with Ollie went a lot more seamlessly than they expected. After enduring a blood plasma transfusion, lots of force feeding, and some physical therapy, he’s made a full recovery from parvo and hasn’t shown any side effects. Socialization was even a breeze! He gets along with everyone he meets. In their words, Ollie is the perfect dog.
When asked how Ollie shows Erocia and Kenneth his love, their answer came easy: “He loves to be around us. He will follow us into any room we go and loves to sit down next to us to cuddle. In the morning, he knows to sleep in until we start to stir; but once we do, his ears perk up! He pounces up to sniff our faces, and props himself on us to say hello. [Our favorite way] we know he loves us is that he communicates with us! After we take a trip or have been at work for awhile, when we see him again and pick him up, he grunts really loudly out of love. He is so excited that he vocally shows us how much he missed us!”
Ollie has changed his owners’ lives in a number of ways – even in ways they never expected. They put off getting a dog for a while because of the impact it would make on their daily routine. In reality, having Ollie around has drastically improved their day-to-day: “Our lives are significantly more positive and happy with him,” says Eroica. “I get so excited to come home from work and see Ollie. We are happy to adjust our plans to think of places in Austin we can go that are dog friendly. He is the perfect cuddle buddy, and helps us with our stress levels. It means so much to us how loving he is, and we can’t imagine life without him. We are so thankful for APA! and the Parvo Puppy ICU for saving him. It breaks our hearts to see the photos and videos from when he was sick, because he’s the best dog we could ever ask for. We can’t imagine life without him!”
Patient and brave: those are the two words his owners use to describe their Ollie. Those words are a great sentiment to all the puppies we care for in our Parvo Puppy ICU. These little lives are brand new to the world when they’re in our care. Some people may think they’re “too weak” to survive, but this program proves them wrong.
Ollie’s parents want to end their story with this: “It’s scary to think [about], but if it wasn’t for APA!, Ollie would not have made it. All of the dogs at APA! have a story, and are waiting for a family that loves them just as much as we love Ollie. Sometimes the first impression doesn’t reflect who the dog actually is, whether they just woke up from the best nap of their lives and are super energetic, or they’re just scared and haven’t had a good night’s sleep in a long time. Remember to be patient and give them a chance. If we got scared of how hyper Ollie was when we met him, and decided we couldn’t commit to adopting a puppy, we wouldn’t be able to cuddle with him tonight. These doggies deserve a chance and a happy home!”
Our Parvo Puppy ICU is one of the many ways we fulfill our mission to eliminate the killing of homeless companion animals. By saving the ones that are at times deemed “too weak,” we have given 5,000 puppies since 2008 the chance at life and love. If you would like to take part in supporting this mission, please consider giving today.