An ‘adoption day’ tradition

If you’ve been reading my column the last few years, you will have seen numerous references to Leia, our rescue French bulldog. It is coming up on her adoption day, which is what I like to celebrate, since we have no idea of her actual birth date. For us, April 24, 2020, was Leia’s first day in our home.

Leia has been a great addition to our family, and we are thankful that Jenn from Jenn’s Furry Friends sought us out. She knew we had just lost our previous Frenchie, Stitch, to a terrible neck injury (one of the many, many issues Frenchies have, which we had no idea about when we first got her), so she knew that we were aware of the breed and its special needs.

Leia is no exception and, not knowing her heritage, we can only assume most of her issues are hereditary. She has had thousands of dollars of surgeries since coming into care, most of which we gladly paid for. But many of the pets that come into care at rescues rack up huge bills that are impossible to recover through their adoption fees, if the animal even is adopted.

Supplied photoLittle Leia, a French bulldog, joined Jeff McFarlane’s family on April 24, 2020.

This is why I like to make an “adoption day” donation every year to the rescue that brought Leia into our family, to help pay the bills that Leia’s foster sisters and brothers have incurred that year. I think it is an easy and effective way to help rescues which foster and which need money all year-round, in addition to the fundraisers and barbecues, darts tournaments and raffles, bake sales and garage sales, online auctions — all the various things that go on to help pay for the care of animals in need.

In Leia’s case, we donate either by an etransfer to Jennsfurryfriendsrescue@gmail.com, or by making a payment directly to their account at St. Norbert Animal Hospital (204 261-7376). Most rescues have similar arrangements, where you can direct your donation to directly benefit those animals in care, and make sure the rescue has funds available when a new pet is in need.

When Leia came up for adoption, Jenn did get a lot of interest in her. French bulldogs are the most popular dog right now and Labrador retrievers are now No. 2 on the list (sorry Rey, our other dog). While I understand why Frenchies are so popular, I also wish more people knew what we know now before they get one.

I’m pretty well informed, in general, so I was aware that Frenchies had issues with breathing, and could not tolerate hot weather, because of that cute little flat face. I also knew there were potential food allergies and joint issues. What I didn’t know about was that they can have spinal issues, which is what happened to Stitch when she was barely four years old.

It is very important with these types of dogs (Frenchies, pugs, bulldogs) that you don’t let them jump down from the bed, couch, or chair, or off a deck or porch. They need a ramp or stairs to make sure their spinal disks do not rupture. Their vertebrae can be misshapen (part of that breeding that makes them so cute), putting extra pressure on the disks and this can make even a little jump dangerous.

My best advice: Whenever considering a new puppy, be it rescue or from a breeder, do your research. You will never regret that investment of time

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