It’s little surprise it was love at first sight when Dr. Jessica Perrucci saw the 18-month-old French bulldog that was presented at the Hixson-Lied Small Animal Hospital earlier this year.
Perrucci was working in the ER that evening when Dutton came in for treatment. The rotating small animal intern had been looking for a French bulldog to adopt.
It seems she was in the right place at the right time.
“That first night I did an exam on him and was with him overnight,” she said. “I got him out of his kennel and he immediately coddled with me and nibbled my ear.
“’That’s it,’ I thought. I knew I was going to adopt him.”
Perrucci made her decision despite the obstacles she knew Dutton faced. He had been surrendered to the Poweshiek Animal League Shelter (PALS) in Grinnell in late June due to medical issues. He suffered from frequent and uncontrolled regurgitation and over time his condition led him to be severely dehydrated and in declining health.
After his initial stay in the ER, Dutton was transferred to the Internal Medicine specialty unit in the LVMC. And who should be on that rotation that week but none other than Perrucci?
“I had a lot of one-on-one time with him,” Perrucci said. “I would check on him every day and visit to make sure he was getting enough love and attention.”
It was while Dutton was in Internal Medicine that he was diagnosed with Brachycephalic Syndrome. The condition is when a short-snouted dog’s nostrils are too small and stiff, making it hard for them to get enough oxygen. This was what was causing his regurgitation issues.
The French bulldog eventually had surgery to correct his constricted airways and shorten his soft palate. The costs for the surgery was funded by PALS and Critter Crusaders of Cedar Rapids, an organization that provides medical treatment to local homeless animals.
After he recovered sufficiently, Dutton was released back to the care of PALS. Perrucci was nervous that he would be adopted before she had an opportunity.
“I just knew someone else would adopt him,” she said. “I wondered if I would ever see him again.”
Perrucci was able to adopt Dutton, who she has renamed Stitch. She believes Stitch is in the best possible home for him because of her veterinary background.
“There’s a good possibility he could continue to have this issue, but hopefully not as bad as it was in the past,” she said. “That doesn’t deter me and I believe it is best that he has a home with someone like me who understands the level of medical care he will require.”
Help pets like Dutton by contributing to the Companion Animal Fund.