When Meghan DeBiasio, a veterinarian, had a visit from a breeder, she was told the puppy would be small. She had no idea just how tiny the puppy would be when he arrived. The little dog had been left with Short Noses Only Rescue Team (also known as SNORT) in Hoboken, New Jersey. This group specializes in dogs who are brachycephalic, or short faced. The rescue took the puppy to her office because he needed immediate help.
Named Augustus, the dog was born with a cleft palate and struggled to eat and get enough nutrients from his mother. Even though he was a few weeks old, he was half the “normal” size for his breed. Often, puppies born with a cleft palate die or are euthanized, but groups like SNORT help give these dogs a chance at a good life. Augustus could not eat on his own, so he received 24/7 care via liquid meals in a tiny feeding tube placed in his nose. He thrived on the feeding and at eight weeks old, was able to eat kibble soaked in water each day. In addition to the cleft palate, Augustus also has hydrocephalus, commonly known as water on the brain. This means he may need surgery for both the cleft palate and to relieve the pressure in his head.
Augustus is now in a foster home, where they are working to help him grow strong and help him learn how to simply be a dog, despite his setbacks. He has some mental delays, but Augustus is settling in with his foster family and he recognizes his family and has a special bond with his sister at Meghan’s house. One of her dogs, Juno, is especially fond of Augustus. The pair are often found snuggling together any chance they get. Augustus has a long road ahead, but his foster mom is confident he’ll be ready for surgery in several months and eventually ready to be adopted into a loving home!