Puppy Who Survived Rare Disease Now Has A Permanent Smile On His Perfect Little Face

Puppy Who Survived Rare Disease Now Has A Permanent Smile On His Perfect Little Face

When Saving Sunny, Inc., a Pit Bull rescue in Louisville, Kentucky, received a call from Blue Cross Animal Hospital about a Pit Bull puppy who had just been surrendered by his owners who were no longer able to care for him, they immediately sprung into action.

Only two months old at the time, Benjamin, who is more affectionately known as Benny, had an extremely rare autoimmune disease called puppy strangles, or juvenile cellulitis, which made it appear as if his face has been splashed with acid. Puppy strangles is a painful condition in which the skin becomes swollen, lymph nodes are affected and pustules form on the face and ears (and can go on to rupture).

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Upon actually seeing Benny, Saving Sunny made the decision to transfer him to Metropolitan Veterinary Specialists and Emergency Services (MVSES). Benny was at MVSES for four days, where he received IV fluids and medications, had his skin scraped and multiple tests were performed.

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From MVSES, Benny continued to recuperate in two foster homes — a temporary foster with Saving Sunny’s volunteer coordinator, Jessica Carner, and the other with medical foster, Barbara Carter. His time in foster was short, though, as his new mom, Debbie Haddad, was ready to adopt him from almost the moment Saving Sunny introduced him on their social media.

I wanted to help in any way I could so I contacted Maureen [Keenan] and asked if I could help with [Benny’s] medical bills. I kept I touch with Maureen through out the next week and I think she knew this puppy had [affected] me differently than others….I couldn’t get him off my mind.
And as for the first time Debbie actually got to meet Benny?
That was it! His skin was literally falling off his face in big pieces but he was still loving and sweet.
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Just because Benny was adopted, it didn’t mean his road to recovery was entirely complete or that his medical care stopped. His mom shared with BarkPost his intense treatment:
Four times a day we had two different eye drops, salve on the open sores, plus all his meds [and] the vet would ‘scrub’ his face to remove all of the dead skin once a week, but he never had a bad day.
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As a possible side effect with puppy strangles, scar tissue can build up. For Benny, this has created a “perma-smile.”
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Now, at six-months-old and “so much fun to come home to,” Benny is just like any other puppy – playful and full of energy with a side of mischief.
I feel like he is just a little character!…When he found a bunny’s nest in the backyard, he thought they were there to play with him. He pulled all the bedding out of the nest and [when he] came in covered in rabbit hair, I of course thought the worst, but when I checked on the babies, they were fine. After that I would find him laying out next to the nest just waiting for one of them to come out to play!
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Described as a “firecracker” by his mom, Benny’s love for others isn’t just limited to baby bunnies. Benny is “very independent” but “thinks everyone is his best friend.”
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In fact, Benny’s presence in Debbie’s home has gained one very unexpected fan — his older brother, Junior, also a Pit Bull. Debbie rescued Junior almost 13 years ago when she found him on the side of the road but as she told BarkPost, he’s never much cared for other dogs. Now, Junior couldn’t be more infatuated.
[Junior] is in love with HIS puppy. Junior is 13 now and is having trouble getting around but will do his best to keep up with Benny. They will nap and play together and although there is at least one dog bed in every room, they race each other to the same one every time they come in from outside.
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Despite still being a young puppy, Benny is “very sensitive to his big brother” and knows when Junior’s arthritis is especially bothersome. Debbie told BarkPost that it “breaks [her] heart to see [Junior] slow down but Benny has really helped him stay as active as he is able.”
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With Debbie’s donations to Saving Sunny for Benny’s medical bills and then eventually adopting him, it can’t be understated how important she was to saving Benny’s life. For her, though, that saving has gone both ways.
This little puppy is helping Junior and I as much as we have helped him.
As a non–profit, Saving Sunny relies on donations to continue saving lives in their community. They can also be followed on Facebook
Featured image via Jessica Carner/Levity Tomkinson of Give Me All The Dogs Photography