When you’re born to live, you’ll live. But first, you have to fight for your life… with the help of well-meaning people, of course.
Meet Sally, a brown, hairy dachshund from Texas. The puppy was brought to the vet after it had difficulty breathing while nursing.
When Sally arrived at the clinic, she was already blue and desperately gasping for air. The vet recommended euthanasia, but Kathryn Hartwig, a veterinary technician and the CEO of TheBottleBrigade, couldn’t let that happen without a fight.
Life in an oxygen bubble
So after the lab tests at the vet’s clinic, Hartwig brought Sally home, tube-fed her, and put her in a plastic oxygen bubble in her living room. The vet tech noted that after about 30 minutes, the pup’s color went back to pink, but was still finding it difficult to take in sufficient oxygen.
Hartwig expected Sally to be back on track after a week or two but it didn’t happen. She was completely dependent on the oxygen bubble for her life.
But what’s sweet about Sally is that even when she was inside the bubble, she’s a friendly puppy. She would wag her tail and lick the wall of the chamber every time she sees people.
Discovering the world outside the bubble
One day, Sally started pawing the wall of her bubble as if signaling that she was ready to come out of it.
Indeed, the moment Hartwig unzipped the bubble, the puppy walked out to have a taste of the outside world. Sally was excited to discover the life outside her bubble, but after 15 seconds, she started to run out of breath. So she has to be put inside the bubble again.
That didn’t stop Sally from trying to come out of the bubble again and again. Hartwig would let her out every day. Monitoring the length of her stay outside the oxygen chamber.
Her 15 seconds outside stretched to 20 seconds, then 30 seconds. It went on for weeks. Per the vet’s advice to strengthen Sally’s lungs, Hartwig would extend her time out of the oxygen gradually. It went on until Sally could go out for two minutes, then three, and so on.
Sally grew bigger and eventually outgrew her oxygen chamber. Hartwig made her a bigger enclosure with enough oxygen supply.
It was big enough for Sally to run and exercise her lungs inside. It could also accommodate a person who would want to spend time with her.
Sally would come out and play for a few minutes and then head back inside when she felt the need for oxygen.
Enjoying the feel of grass
When Sally could take in a whole five minutes outside, Hartwig started to let her play on the grass outside the house. At first, it seemed like she didn’t enjoy it and would also gasp for air.
But Hartwig would let her out on the grass again and again until Sally got accustomed to it. Later, the pup realized that she loves walking on the grass.
Out of danger
As the days passed, Sally spent more minutes outside the bubble without struggling. And it got to a point where she would spend longer outside than inside the bubble.
Until one day, Sally wouldn’t go back to the bubble at all.
That worried Hartwig. She put Sally back in the bubble only for the pup to go out again.
After Sally decided that she was done with the bubble, and after her vet cleared her from major health danger, it was time for her to be adopted.
Bonnie, Hartwig’s co-technician at the vet clinic, adopted Sally. She knew about Sally’s condition as she witnessed what the pup had gone through.
Sally is now enjoying her life with Bonnie and her family. Though she still takes short breaks every now and then in her puppy bed, she doesn’t need oxygen support anymore.
Healthy puppy life
Bonnie wants Sally to lead an active life like any healthy puppy. Sally has been to outdoor dining where she met other puppies; she has visited a toy store to pick up her toy, and she even swam in a lake on her first camping trip. Sally still comes to work at the vet clinic every day with her mommy.
Who would’ve thought Sally would make it this far? Only fighters like her can beat the odds!
UPDATE: Sally won a weenie dog racing competition! Watch the video on The Bottle Brigade IG account.