Sue Blackenship of Newman Lake, Wash., was born with patent ductus arteriosisa (PDA), a heart condition that occurs when a blood vessel that should fully close after birth fails to do so. This allows deoxygenated blood to flow into an area of the heart in which there should only be oxygenated blood. Without corrective surgery, PDA causes early-onset congestive heart failure — which is fatal.
In December, Blackenship read about about Bruno, a young Lab mix at the Spokane Humane Society (SHS) shelter who needed surgery for the same heart condition.
According to the SHS Facebook page, Bruno was originally from San Antonio, Texas, and had been transported from a partner shelter to the humane society in early October.
“Shortly after Bruno’s arrival, our veterinarian found that he has a severe heart murmur,” the SHS wrote. X-rays confirmed he had PDA.
“In that moment, as crazy as it sounds, I just had this feeling that we were meant to be because I had had that same surgery like 60 years ago,” Blankenship told KING 5. She enlisted the help of her family and neighbors to help pay the $4,000 needed for Bruno’s surgery, which he underwent at Washington State University’s Veterinary Hospital.
“I just felt like I had a connection with him,” she said. “I couldn’t forget him, you know what I mean?” She regularly checked the Spokane Humane Society’s Facebook page, hoping for an update on the dog she just couldn’t get out of her mind.
As soon as Bruno had recovered from surgery and was available for adoption, Blankenship went to see him at the shelter.
“He jumped up on the fencing and just made incredible eye contact with me, I mean just like boring into me,” she told KING 5. “I just felt like he was saying, ‘Take me.'”
So that’s exactly what Blankenship did. Bruno, who’s now called (by his last name?) Mars, is very happy in his new forever home.
The new dog mom hopes others will follow her lead and rescue a pet from a shelter.
“You might not think you’re in the right spot for an animal right now, you’re wrong,” she told KING 5. “Everything you give to a dog, they give it back 100 fold.”
Here’s hoping Blankenship and Mars spend many happy years together — and from now on that “PDA” only applies to their public displays of affection.