Update: Penelope was adopted to a permanent, loving home on Feb. 16, 2012. Thanks to all who have read and shared her story!
When I first came to work for the Richmond SPCA and was becoming familiar with all the programs we offer the community, one that greatly impressed me was the Angel Pet adoption program. This program encourages the adoption of pets who have ongoing medical needs or chronic conditions. When you give a home to an Angel Pet, you are able to purchase medications and prescription foods from the Richmond SPCA at a discounted price while our veterinary team works in conjunction with your own veterinarian who will manage the pet's care. Adopting an Angel Pet often makes it more financially feasible for families to assume the care of a special needs pet.
Penelope is an adorable 7-year-old Maltese who personifies how meaningful the Angel Pet program is to our lifesaving efforts to place treatable pets with manageable conditions into permanent homes. Penelope was transferred into our care from another shelter around Thanksgiving of 2010. She came to us with a brief medical history and a diagnosed need for surgery to remove bladder stones. Our director of veterinary services, Dr. Angela Ivey reports that Penelope, "unfortunately was not blessed to need a procedure so simple." After further examination, Penelope was instead found to have a condition known as megacolon.
This serious condition is usually a problem of cats, and it is very rare in dogs. Our veterinary team worked to clear a blockage of stool that had likely troubled Penelope for many years. Her condition is not curable and may have contributed to Penelope becoming homeless when her prior owners were not able to handle her care. While in cats a surgery can be performed to make a cat with megacolon more comfortable, we have been able to manage Penelope's condition with a treatment regimen that includes daily enemas, a high fiber diet and four medications that work together to help her have fairly normal bowel movements.
Penelope's playful temperament and wonderful personality can help her work her way into anyone's heart, but her adoption is not to be taken lightly. Our veterinary team estimates that her care will cost approximately $150 each month based on purchasing her medications and food at our reduced cost. We advise speaking with your veterinarian before making her a part of your family, and our veterinary staff will gladly consult with your veterinarian to discuss Penelope's needs.
As the Richmond SPCA works toward saving more of our community's treatably sick and injured pets, it underscores the importance of the Angel Pet program. Our Cinderella Fund provides us with the resources to diagnose and provide veterinary care to thousands of homeless pets each year. For some conditions, there is not a cure, but proper management will allow the pet to live out a life of quality in a loving home. It is always our priority to make every adoption with full disclosure of any special needs known to us. Having the compassion to give a second chance to an imperfect pet could be said to elevate one special human to perfection in that pet's eyes.
To learn more about Penelope or any pet who is available for adoption, please call our adoption center at 804-521-1307.
Tabitha Frizzell Hanes is the director of communications at the Richmond SPCA. To read the biographies of our regular bloggers, please click here. Before posting a comment, please review our comment guidelines. Please note that our comment policy requires a first and last name to be used as your screen name.