Rescue group, online campaign support dog with heart condition - WBRC FOX6 News - Birmingham, AL

Rescue group, online campaign support dog with rare heart condition

Leonard Binks is recovering from heart surgery Leonard Binks is recovering from heart surgery

Veterinarians in two states came together with Facebook fans across the county to save a dog's life in Middle Tennessee. The dog's name is Leonard Binks, and people who had never met him helped make his life-saving surgery possible.

It was hard to understand why someone would dump Leonard and his brother in a shopping cart outside the Bellevue Kroger.

"We couldn't understand such cute little fluffy puppies until we discovered Leonard had pulmonic stenosis," said Shawn Aswad, with Snooty Giggles Dog Rescue. "So I'm pretty sure that's why he got abandoned."

Beneath all his lovable fur lurked a problem with a valve in Leonard's heart. It was a problem that threatened to cut his life short without surgery.

"It doesn't open and close appropriately, so that makes the heart work a lot harder and eventually causes heart damage," said veterinarian Dr. Amanda Erickson Coleman.

"The cardiologists have told us that his life expectancy would only be about two years, and he's at this point 9-months-old," Aswad said. "He's a happy, fun-loving dog, and he embraces everything that life brings him and we want to bring that to him."

Snooty Giggles Dog Rescue is an organization that specializes in rescuing dogs with medical problems and seniors, but it wasn't always clear if they could save Leonard.

"The few places we could find to do the surgery were just too expensive," Aswad said. "We couldn't pay $10,000 and take all that money away from so many other dogs that needed it."

But the group found the veterinary hospital at the University of Georgia would perform the surgery for about $3,500.

Since his rescue, Leonard has built himself quite an online following. It was such a following, in fact, that it took less than two days for 180 people to step up and donate every cent needed to pay for the surgery.

And so in October, Leonard was driven to Georgia with his favorite heart-shaped toy.

"As if he knows he needs a heart. That's his favorite thing," Aswad said.

The procedure was a success, and Leonard is now back home at Camp Snooty.

"We want him to move on and find his own family - a family that's gonna let him get dirty and swim and dig in the mud," Aswad said. "So we can also open up a spot here at Camp Snooty to care for another dog with severe medical needs."

Still, Leonard won't be up for adoption for a few months. He developed a serious complication after the surgery - a bacterial infection of his heart valve - and will need to complete three months of antibiotic treatment before he can find a new home.

If you want to support Snooty Giggles Dog Rescue, a donor is matching every dollar given to the organization for the next nine days.

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