A puppy born with severe facial deformities has gone from breeder reject to “ambassadog” for patients born with facial defects.
Lentil, a 5-month-old French bulldog, was born with a double-sided cleft in his hard and soft palate, lip and nose. He was given up by his breeder because of his deformities and later rescued by Lindsay Condefer, a volunteer with the French Bulldog Rescue Network of Philadelphia, reports CBS News.
Because of Lentil’s severe condition, he was unable to eat food or water on his own and had to be tube fed. When he reached four months old, he had surgery to close the hard palate cleft and eliminate this problem, but the soft palate clefts were left alone, as they did not pose a health risk.
"In a human if a child has a cleft lip, this is something that stands out," said Dr. Alex Reiter of the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine, who led Lentil's surgery. "You want to give that child the best chance that it can have to be accepted into a society and not suffer from psychological problems. Dogs and cats do not know what they look like. They don't have a perception of themselves."
Dr. John Lewis, who assisted with Lentil's surgery, realized Lentil’s condition would resonate with patients dealing with similar issues, and a program connecting dogs and people with facial deformities was born.
Danny Pfeiffer, 14, who suffers from a condition that prevents the normal development of the face and head, said seeing how Lentil does not look like a regular dog but is still special in his own way helped him, reports CNN.
"Lentil has become more than just a patient,” Reiter said. “He has become an 'ambassadog' for less fortunate people in the world that suffer from cranial defects, especially children."
Sources: CNN, CBS
Photo Credit: Facebook/My name is Lentil