Ruby Sue, Salt Lake City, UT

Hi! My name is Ruby Sue and I’m a 8-month-old Pitbull puppy.

I was born with a serious birth defect called a cleft lip and palate. My cleft lip just makes me extra cute (if I do say so myself), but the cleft palate caused me major problems. No matter how much I tried to nurse from my momma, I couldn’t get enough milk. I was so hungry! And when I did try to nurse, I kept getting milk in my lungs.

The breeder tried to feed me with a syringe, but I wasn’t getting enough and my lungs were getting sicker. When I was 5 days old, she contacted the Utah Animal Advocacy Foundation, a local rescue group that specializes in rescuing animals with serious medical conditions, and that’s when I met my foster mom.

The vet told her that I was severely malnourished and was suffering from aspiration pneumonia. Things were looking pretty bad for me at that point, and the vets were even saying that maybe it was best to let me go to Rainbow Bridge. 🙁

But I wasn’t ready to go! Even though I was so tired and sick, I lifted my head and started sucking on my foster mom’s finger. She says that’s the moment she knew I was a fighter and that she would do everything she could to help me survive.

My mom started giving me antibiotics and feeding me every couple hours with a special tube that she put down my throat and into my tummy. I didn’t like that much at first, but then I realized it was a magic tube! Every time I saw that tube, I knew my tummy would soon be warm and full.

Because of the large hole in the roof of my mouth (cleft palate), mom had to feed me that way until I was old enough for my cleft palate surgery.

A week before my 4-month birthday, mom and I flew all the way from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, so the experts at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary School could repair my cleft palate. I was pretty nervous, but everything went great!

Just hours after surgery, I was able to eat canned puppy food for the very first time. And boy oh boy, do I ever LOVE puppy food! I’ve been eating like a champ and growing like a weed ever since.

So, that’s my story. After everything we’d been through together, my foster mom and I realized we were meant to be together forever. We adopted each other on June 7, 2014 and haven’t looked back. 🙂

I have a Facebook page called “For the Love of Ruby” and I am so lucky to call more than 17,000 amazing people my friends! People from all over the world have supported me on my journey and now it’s my turn to pay it forward.

I’ve been attending adoption events and fundraisers to help the other animals waiting for homes with the Utah Animal Advocacy Foundation. And I’ve been studying really hard in my puppy classes so that I can become a registered therapy dog.

Mom says there are children with cleft lips and cleft palates just like me, and that maybe I can help them see that it’s cool to be different!

Kids are my absolute favorite things in the whole entire world, so I can’t wait to get out there and start spreading the love.

Ruby Sue

p.s. That last picture is of me and my foster sis, Aroha. She was born with a spinal deformity and her back legs don’t work very good. But she is learning to use a wheelchair and now she can run almost as fast as me! Check out her gorgeous photo here.

She is the happiest girl I’ve ever met. She is only 10 months old and has her whole life ahead of her! Can you help us share her story and find her a forever home of her very own? She comes with free kisses and cuddles for life! Thanks, friends!

Parent: Jenn