Jake is affectionately known as “Crabby” in his Final Refuge home. This 5.6 lb Chihuahua with spindly legs seems to have been spoiled in the past but ended up in a big shelter in August 2021 when his owner died, and ODH was asked to take him into care. Jake has a deformed sternum (pectus carinatum), a birth defect that can affect breathing and cause other health issues. It also gives him a unique gait. He has a serious heart murmur and was already missing most of his teeth, with just one loose canine in the front of his mouth. Jake very likely has an oronasal fistula (an opening between mouth and nasal cavity caused by dental disease). Like so many dogs who come to ODH, he likely hadn’t seen a vet in some time.
Jake had a thorough intake exam, including chest x‑rays (given his small size, this was a “whole dog-o-gram”). He recently saw a cardiologist for an echocardiogram to assess the severity of his heart disease and determine if he can safely undergo anesthesia for a dental and fistula repair. Fortunately, Jake has only mild mitral valve disease and he was cleared for his dental surgery. This specialized veterinary care is expensive but without it we can’t risk anesthesia on dogs with heart conditions. It is thanks to ODH’s generous donors that Jake – like many other ODH dogs – is able to get the advanced care needed to make him more comfortable.
Jake is a character. He is clear about his likes and dislikes, and quick to express his opinion. Mealtimes, sleeping under the covers on the big bed, and butt scritches are all good. Major dislikes include people trying to look in his mouth, though the threat of biting when you have so few teeth is not as effective as Jake would wish.
Perhaps due to the chest deformity, Jake doesn’t bark. He squeaks when meals are being prepared and when he wants up on mom’s bed (he hasn’t mastered the doggie steps). When annoyed, he makes a sound reminiscent of grumble, which makes his foster mom laugh. Jake is the smallest in a household of 3 cats and 2 other chihuahuas. He tries to intimidate the cats if they get too close to his bed in the kitchen, but they just ignore him.
Hardier than he looks, Jake has represented ODH at a few outreach events. He is comfortable around dogs of all sizes and meeting new people. He is quite happy reclining in his dog sling, except when he detects food nearby. Then he turns into the “mac-and-cheese search and rescue dog.”
This funny little guy is thought to be around 12 years old. We’ll need to monitor his heart condition and he may need treatment for his mitral valve disease if it progresses. With the excellent care ODH provides, his foster mom hopes he will enjoy a few years of being pampered in his Final Refuge home.
Update from Jake’s Final Refuge mom:
“A huge personality in a tiny body, Jake had significant health issues which didn’t keep from expressing his opinions or demanding meals on time. He entertained his foster mom for over two years before his heart gave out. Jake will be greatly missed.”