Last July, a dog named Hutch was transferred from a shelter in North Carolina to Atlanta Humane Society (AHS). As soon as he came into the care of AHS, it was clear that something is wrong with him.
“We noticed he was coughing and having trouble breathing,” Christina Hill, director of marketing and communications for AHS, told The Dodo. “Our shelter medicine team examined him and discovered a heart murmur.”
Heart murmurs can be hazardous for dogs and Hutch would need a special medical test to see how serious his disease was.
“Shelters are faced with very difficult situations when they have an animal like Hutch in their care,” Hill explained. “It can be costly to test to see what is wrong, even more costly to treat what is found, and extremely difficult to find an adopter who is willing and financially able to take an animal into their home who has a special, and potentially expensive, medical condition.”
A situation like Hutch’s can seem impossible considering the millions of animals who enter the shelters every year. “But we knew we had to do everything we could for him and give him the chance he deserved,” Hill shared.
So the shelter decided to ask for a special donor who was willing to pay for the tests and treatment of Hutch.
According to the cardiologist, the poor dog was diagnosed with pulmonic stenosis, a condition in which the flow of blood was being partially obstructed in Hutch’s heart. Though his heart was a little broken, the doctors believed they could restore it.
Hutch’s surgery at Auburn University in Alabama, went perfectly but he still need to be monitored throughout his life for any health problems. And the staffers at AHS needed another miracle for Hutch – a family willing to take care of the sick dog.
“We still had a big hurdle to cross,” Hill shared. “We expected that it would take weeks, or more likely months, to find Hutch that perfect home … but all it did take was a single Instagram post.”
Jaime Butler saw the video about Hutch and commented on the post, writing, “Hey Hutch! My daughter also has pulmonary stenosis! So glad you got your surgery! Is Hutch able to be adopted?”
Hutch was still recovering at the time, but as soon as he was ready for a new home, AHS immediately contacted Butler.
“She knew they were meant to be, and that was that,” Hill shared. “We connected Jaime with Hutch’s foster parent and they fell in love with him immediately.”
Page, the youngest of Butler’s kids, was treated for her heart condition soon after she was born. Like Hutch, she’ll need to be monitored carefully for further treatments.
Together, Page and Hutch will face their treatments with a positive vibe. “Together, their hearts will heal,” the shelter wrote, “and their love for each other will make them stronger every day.”