Owen - Susan & Peter Pezzolla - Albany, NY

Owen’s Journey

Berner-Garde #56518

This is the story of “Little Man”, a male Berner from a South Dakota puppy mill who ended up in an upstate New York pet store in the summer of 2006. When this little pup began with kennel cough symptoms, staff treated him with a generic antibiotic. When he did not improve, he was taken to a clinic to be euthanized, the common decision when animals are no longer saleable by pet store standards. It was a simple business decision.  It was a stroke of good fortune, however, that the receptionist at the clinic also does rescue work and so she knows Heather Fischer, our HBMDC (Helderberg) rescue person.  Heather came to get the pup and took him to her vet that day; x-rays and tests revealed kennel cough and pneumonia. Heather began caring for the puppy and sharing the news that the club had a new rescue.

I first heard about the puppy through a friend at work, Mary Jane, also a HBMDC member. Mary Jane was already matchmaking and soon we were planning to visit the little pup just to meet him and see what we thought.  After all we were without a dog and could easily be convinced that the time was right.  Since serendipity was stirring the pot, it is not surprising that it was love at first pet.  “Little Man” as Heather called him, was very sweet and more than willing to get into the car.  He was all legs and still trying to figure out how to use them after spending so much time in a crate.  Perhaps we needed him or he needed us—hard to say but that is how it all began and Heather seemed to approve.  At home with us “Little Man” became Owen, our little man.

The first visit to out vet confirmed that the pneumonia was far from resolved but very treatable.  Owen thrived on all the attention and charmed everyone who met him.  It wasn’t long before it was noticeable that Owen’s teeth had quite a build- up of tarter. After an unsuccessful attempt to clean his teeth, our vet suggested a specialized vet dentist. After a long search the name of Donald DeForge DVM of Silver Sands veterinary hospital in Milford, Ct. was suggested and the appointment was made. Finally on the day before Owen’s first birthday, he was examined and diagnosed by Dr. DeForge as having enamel hypo calcification attributed to poor maternal nutrition.  In a four hour procedure, the small amounts of remaining enamel were removed, and each tooth was x-rayed to determine root health.  Then, all 42 teeth were sealed with a resin bonding material.  Owen was able to return home that day with us but he was very groggy.  At first his diet was only soft foods but gradually we introduced more chunky foods being careful in those early days as the bonding took time to set up. There will be no bones for Owen ever, but the painful alternative was to loose all his teeth. Daily care involves brushing teeth, swabbing gums and applying fluoride.  Owen is good natured about it all.  Life will never be exactly as it was but then life is a trade off for most of us.

Today Owen goes to school and day care where he runs with the big dogs. Owen is a good example of the wonderful work that the HBMDC does in rescue and the fact that sometimes it “takes a village” to raise a dog as well. Many thanks to all the members who have been supportive and helped along the way; Owen and we thank you!

Susan and Peter Pezzolla
229 So. Manning Blvd.
Albany, NY 12208