Known as man’s best friend, dogs come in all shapes and sizes and leave a lasting mark on our lives. With such distinct biological variations and breeds, it can sometimes be surprising how our little furry friends come into the world. For Marie DeMarco, she opened her home and arms to this tiny pitbull who was born different.
Calling her a “miracle” puppy, Sasha was born in unfortunate peril. The baby pitbull was born with a cleft lip and palate and was unable to be nursed. A cleft lip is a birth defect that causes the mouth to not form properly, while a palate is the roof of the mouth that separates the cavities of the nose and mouth. When this deformity was recognized, the director of SNARR Animal Rescue Northeast, a New York-based rescue group specializing in special needs dogs, was reached out to.
Marie DeMarco took it upon herself to come to the aid of this puppy, to give it a chance at life. Founder of the nonprofit FURRR 911, and a nurse practitioner with experience with neonatal and critically injured and ill kittens, she had an idea and prior knowledge of what she was committing to here. With the help of the director, Marie hoped to keep Sasha going and leading her to the strong life that she deserved.
Weighing just 11 ounces at birth, this was only just one of the multitude of health problems that Sasha had to endure. Her head was noticeably large in comparison to her minuscule body, which was the result of a condition known as hydrocephalus, which is the buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the skull. Furthermore, Sasha’s brain is only a third as big as it should be, which was another growing concern for the new caregivers. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the last of it, either. Adding to the list of misfortunes for this puppy, she developed an upper respiratory infection, to go along with a urinary tract infection, and orthopedic issues. Despite all of this, the miracle puppy still kept pumping, determined to beat the odds.
“She’s defying all the odds. She’s proven that she wants to be here” said DeMarco, who gave the courageous young puppy a fighting chance, to begin with. Even at three and a half months old, Sasha only grew to just 1 pound, 9 ounces, far smaller than normal, and not even big enough for surgeries that would drain the fluid from her skull.
Smaller and slower than most puppies her age, she must be fed every three to four hours a day, and every five hours at night. Luckily, she shows excitement when it’s time to be fed. She has the luxury of wearing little sweaters and dresses to keep warm, and the company of many foster kittens and cats, whom she’s befriended and loves to play along with. Sasha is no stranger to affection and attention, and deservingly so.
With all the obstacles ahead to overcome, Sasha keeps proving to be a warrior and fighting on. Though her future is uncertain, her bravery is an inspiration to all who have been in her company. Those who love her remain optimistic about her, as Sasha fights to survive each and every day courageously. “She was dealt some bad cards in life,” said DeMarco, Boy, is she loved.” With the help and love of those surrounding her, Sasha continues the battle she started from day one, with every intent on proving any doubters wrong, and living her best life.