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Hugo the Puppy Ready for his New Home Following Surgery to Repair his Heart

MSPCA-Angell’s “Little Star” is on the Mend thanks to the Generosity of Hundreds who Donated toward his Care

BOSTON, Sept. 6, 2018 – Last month the MSPCA-Angell issued a call for help after a young Labrador puppy named “Hugo” was surrendered by a local breeder because of a heart defect that left him unable to eat.

Today, nearly three weeks after life-saving surgery at the MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center, Hugo is ready for a new home—and the MSPCA is expressing gratitude for the donations that came in to pay for the puppy’s surgery.

Over $20,000 in donations poured in from all over the U.S. to offset the cost of Hugo’s medical care. “That’s more than double what we needed [to help Hugo] and the remaining money will stay in a restricted fund to meet the healthcare needs of other homeless pets who require expensive medical care before they too can be adopted,” said MSPCA-Angell adoption center associate director Anna Rafferty-Fore.

“We’re so grateful for the community’s response to Hugo’s story and we pledge to continue helping as many animals like him as we can,” she said.

Hugo is Ready for His New Life
Angell surgeon Dr. Sue Casale performed a delicate surgery on Aug. 21 to repair a condition called Persistent Right Aortic Arch, or PRAA, which left part of Hugo’s heart wrapped around his esophagus, effectively squeezing his throat and making eating and drinking almost impossible.

The surgery was deemed a success in that it significantly alleviated Hugo’s symptoms, but could not fully resolve the problem.

“Hugo still needs to eat relatively upright and that will continue for his whole life, but it’s a far easier process to manage than it was prior to his surgery,” said Andrea Bessler, a veterinary technician at the MSPCA who has been fostering Hugo at her home for the last four months.

Hugo still requires pureed food—about the consistency of oatmeal—three times per day and must eat from either an elevated food dish or a special chair which props him upright during feedings. “We have a special chair designed for his condition that we’ll offer to his new adopter,” said Bessler.

Hugo’s ideal adopter is someone who has the time and interest in spending about 15 minutes three times a day to prepare his specially diluted food and to ensure he stays upright during his feeding.  “It’s a bit of an effort, but to be rewarded with his puppy kisses afterwards makes every minute worth it,” said Bessler.

It is hoped that Hugo’s esophagus will continue to right size over time which will enable him to eat a wider variety of foods, such as dry kibble.  “It’s just too early to tell at this stage,” said Bessler.

Because Hugo puts everything he can into his mouth, his ideal home is one without small children, whose small toys can very easily become lodged in his throat.  Hugo adores the company of other dogs, however, so would-be adopters with other pets are strongly encouraged to apply.

The MSPCA has already received hundreds of inquiries about Hugo and expects to place him into a new home this weekend.  Interested adopters can email for more information about Hugo and the adoption process.