Gwen lost her nose when she came down with an immune-mediated disease called Puppy Strangles, which eats away at the skin around a dog's muzzle and affected her nose, lips, and the skin around her mouth. The puppy was initially treated at Mt. Pleasant Hospital for Animals in Newtown and was then given to DAWS at the age of 15 weeks.
It was then when Meg and Marty Goldstein, who organized the fundraiser for DAWS, decided to take Gwen in as a medical foster, a decision made easy by her bubbly personality.
"She is curious, energetic, and very friendly and she has no clue she is 'special,'" wrote Meg Goldstein on the GoFundMe page. Despite Gwen's cheerful attitude though, it became clear that she would need further surgery because of the many challenges her condition posed to her.
One such difficulty was that Gwen struggled to make friends with other dogs, as they would think that she was baring her teeth and then reject her. Additionally, she would suffer from bleeding gums and damaged teeth because she would drag her bare gums across the ground to smell, as her one functioning nasal passage made sniffing difficult.
The puppy's spirit proved indomitable though, as she would still greet everybody with a wagging tail even with her condition.
Gwen initially went through one reconstructive surgery by DAWS resident veterinarian Cary Brenner with some success, but Brenner and the Goldsteins knew a specialist would be needed to fully treat her. After much research and hard work, they finally located someone in Boston who could help: Michael Pavletic of Angell Medical Animal Center.
On Monday, Jan. 30, Goldstein and Brenner brought Gwen to Boston for her reconstructive surgery with Pavletic. The plan was to give her another open airway and then in six more weeks, close the area around her mouth. Luckily, the surgery was a success and Gwen was brought home on Tuesday, Jan. 31.
The ultimate cost of the surgeries is estimated to be between $8,000 and $10,000. As of Sunday, Feb. 12, about 7,700 has been raised, halfway to the goal of $10,000.
"Any amount of donation no matter how small will have a huge impact on Gwen and her road to recovery and quality of life," Goldstein wrote on the fundraiser page.
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