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Saving Sunflower

by Carole Feeny |

  • : Sunflower is a true underdog!! Sunflower is a young adult pitbull who was abandoned in an apartment when her owners moved out. She was left in a crate, which she chewed out of after several days alone. She then spent the next several weeks (four to six) alone surviving in the apartment. Defying all odds, this starving dog likely lived off her own urine and feces.. When she was found by the landlord and reporting County Animal Control Officer, she was near death. Animal Services hospitalized her and began trying to slowly nourish her nearly shut down body. Over the next month, she was carefully fed and clung to life. The lack of fat around her eyes caused a tear gland to protrude, called "cherry eye". After a month of being unable to find an owner to prosecute, she was released from "cruelty hold", and a plea was made for her rescue in order to continue her weight gain. Corinne Thompson (the arranger of this fundraiser), is the fourth year veterinary student took her home to continue her rehabilitation. Corinne specializes in shelter medicine and volunteers frequently at the shelter, so Corinne was there the day Sunflower was released from cruelty hold. Sunflower had an audible heart murmur, and when it didn't resolve after two weeks of good nutrition, she was taken to the specialists at the veterinary school. At the vet school, Sunflower was diagnosed by the cardiologists with severe pulmonic stenosis. This is a condition that Sunflower was born with, and now that she is an adult, it has progressed to a life threatening state. The opening responsible for taking her blood from her heart to her longs is small, causing the heart to work much harder, and be far less efficient. According to veterinary literature, one third of dogs at this stage can drop dead suddenly. Other signs of her disease include exercise intolerance and collapse. Occasionally after going outside for potty, Sunflower's tongue is blue, and her gums are grey, indicating that her body just isn't getting the oxygen it needs. Thankfully, the surgeons at UF think that Sunflower's heart is able to be surgically corrected. They will place a balloon in the narrowed opening to allow the blood to flow through properly, and most dogs who receive this treatment have a normal life span! The procedure is called a balloon valvuloplasty. Sunflower had her life saving surgery on October 4, 2017. Visit her Facebook page at to view more pictures and read about her story.
  • : Sunflower will be looking for her perfect forever home after her spay and cherry eye repair surgeries. She will also have a follow up cardiology visit early 2018. Please visit her Facebook page for updates and inquires about adopting this underdog!
  • : Alachua County Animal Services, Gainesville Fl
  • : Corinne (foster mom)

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