Updated: Mar 29
Violet was born to “Sweet Pea” in January 2013 in a mixed litter of six. Sweet Pea was thought to be a “Bug” (Boston/Pug)and dad was a traveling Salesman. Every puppy looked different, but Violet looked very much like her mom - brindle with a black face and a curly pug tail. We saw Violet’s photo on MABTR’s site and immediately knew she was destined for our family. My husband even named her before we wrote the adoption application (something I don’t recommend for fear of heartbreak!) MABTR told us how every puppy looked different and mom was under 30 pounds but because they did not know what dad was they didn’t know what size the puppies would grow to. They said they expected the dogs to be mid sized to large. We acknowledged that and MABTR approved our application. Violet joined our family of two in CO when she was 8 weeks old. We were in love and so was she! She grew to be just under 40 lbs. Her vet referred to her as the “athlete” because of her sleek muscular figure. She is an absolute love bug with us and definitely thinks she’s a lap dog.
Prior to coming to MABTR, Sweet Pea, Violet, and her siblings had ended up at a shelter in KC after what sounded like at least two heartbreaks for Sweet Pea. The last being that a family who had adopted her from a KC shelter did not know she was pregnant, and returned her and her newborn puppies. Luckily the shelter recognized how unsafe a shelter was for newborn puppies, and called MABTR to get their help in rescuing this Boston mix and her wondermutt puppies. MABTR of course took on the whole litter and Mom and transported them to Omaha. They lived with foster mom Gina while they weaned. Mom was adopted out and eventually so were all six mismatched adorable siblings. Thank you MABTR for saving these 7 dogs!
Fast forward to 2018, our second born child/first born human was born (only partly a joke). Violet was the first to know I was pregnant, curling up on my lap and getting as close to me as possible to protect and care for me. A few days before my child was born, I was sick. I didn’t know how sick, but Violet did and would not leave my side. She laid next to me and smothered me with her love! I had preeclampsia and all was fine eventually, but I should have listened to my dog and gone to the hospital sooner! She new something was wrong and was trying to tell us. When our daughter was born, Violet was very caring and loving. When she started to go to daycare, Violet was so sad and would stare at the door (still does some days) when it was time for her to come home. They are the best buds!
In early 2021 at a routine health checkup, we received heartbreaking news that Violet had a class 4 heart murmur. We were referred to a Veterinary Cardiologist who diagnosed her with diet induced dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). She prescribed medicine and an immediate change in diet to a traditional grain inclusive food from one of the “big five” brands. Violet, who loves long walks and runs, is now on a low intensity limited exercise regime. She has responded incredibly to the medicine and diet change, and after a third echocardiogram and 9 months of treatment the cardiologist saw improved heart function while still having DCM. We are continuing the medicine and diet change and hoping that her next echo will again show improvement. Violet had recurring bouts of colitis and was on a grain free boutique food for much of her life. We thought we were helping her, but we were sick and heartbroken to find the food we were giving her most likely caused this heart condition. If your dog is on a “boutique, exotic meat, or grain free” (BEG) diet, please talk to your Veterinarian about diet and find out if a switch is warranted. You can also review the current FDA and UC Davis studies on DCM in dogs. We would be remiss if we did not praise the benefit of a routine health exam. Had we skipped Violet’s routine visit because she was healthy, showed no symptoms of DCM, and needed no vaccines, she might not be with us today. Preventive care saved her life. We will hopefully get a few more years with this awesome dog thanks to the careful watch of our absolutely amazing primary Vet, Dr Kate Dohse, and our cardiologist Dr Carrie Ginieczki.
If you have read this far, now I’d like to share some interesting news about Violet’s genetics. Hills is doing a genetic study on dogs with DCM, and sent Violet a free DNA test through Embark. As a result, we were finally going to find out what dad was! Dad was a mix of Pit Bull, Golden Retriever, Labrador Retriever, Akita, and chow chow. True “wondermutt” as we thought. But mom was the surprise…Sweet Pea was not a Boston at all. She was a Pit Bull Pug mix, masquerading as a Bug. We’ll never know if their outcome would have been different because of breed stigma and breed specific laws, but I have wondered what would have happened to these 7 dogs had the shelter employee not labeled her a bug. I also wonder if the shelter worker thought the same and knew of this wonderful rescue that would save these puppies…did they fib a little to get those puppies homes through MABTR? Or did Sweet Pea just fool us all? Either way, I’m so grateful that the shelter worker called MABTR, and that MABTR took on the task of saving all 7 dogs. I am especially grateful that one very special dog joined our lives. Thanks MABTR for all you do, and thanks for bringing Violet into our lives!