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Angell Animal Medical Center Surgeon to Perform Necessary but Complex Procedure on Small Stray Puppy

“Smudge” Has Cleft Palate Causing Respiratory Problems for 10-Week-Old Dog

BOSTON, Mass., May 11, 2023 – Smudge was a small, frightened, nine-week-old bully breed puppy when she was brought to the MSPCA’s Boston Adoption Center. She had been found by Boston Animal Control at Charlestown High School on the evening of May 1. Officers brought her to the MSPCA because she was not just an ordinary stray—she needed more help.

“Smudge has a cleft palate,” explained MSPCA-Angell Director of Adoption Centers and Programs, Mike Keiley. “So [Boston Animal Control] officers knew immediately that she needed to be brought to us.”

“We’re the only organization around that has both the medical expertise to perform the surgery she needs, as well as the means to foster and adopt her out when she’s ready for her new home,” he added, noting similarities between Smudge’s case and that of Valentina, the small Chocolate Lab puppy who flew across the country for special care and a new home.

“But, unlike [Valentina], Smudge is lucky to be in the same city that we are.”

Surgery on the Horizon

“This kind of surgery requires a specialist,” elaborated Keiley. “It’s an expensive, complex and risky surgery, and one that Smudge needs for her to be able to live the full, happy life that she deserves.”

Smudge’s surgery will be performed by Dr. Michael Pavletic, director of surgical services at Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston.

“Given the complexity of the procedure, Smudge needs to grow and get a little older before she’ll be ready,” Keiley added.

Smudge will remain in foster care until her surgery is scheduled, likely early this summer. The surgery is expected to cost $10,000. Those who would like to donate to offset that cost may do so at

Animal Welfare in the Spotlight

Smudge’s news comes on the morning of the MSPCA’s annual Raise the Woof Gala, the organization’s major fundraising event in support of the thousands of animals like Smudge it cares for each year. The event is being held at the Larz Anderson Auto Museum in Brookline, Massachusetts. Those interested in learning more about the event may do at