Check out our new hours. Most DCHS and Wildlife Center services are by appointment only, including reuniting lost animals, surrendering a pet, wildlife rehabilitation, and more. Adoption visits are first-come, first-served. We recommend checking our current waitlist prior to your visit.

Apr 10, 2020

Help Dolittle Heal


You can give Dolittle a fresh start and a healthy heart!

Thank you for helping Dolittle heal!

We have amazing news to share! Thanks to your generous support of Dolittle’s Help Me Heal fund, we raised more than the $1,900 needed for his urgent lifesaving heart surgery.

Because of your generosity, a surgeon from UW - Madison Veterinary Care just completed Dolittle's PDA surgery to correct the hole in his heart. He is already recovering in the home of DCHS's lead shelter veterinarian, Dr. Stuntebeck, so he can be closely monitored. "He is doing great and is eager for food and treats, jumping on the couch for snuggles and trying to follow the cats around the house," says Dr. Stuntebeck. He will continue to rest and heal for a week or two and then will be ready to find his forever family.

Thank you for giving Dolittle a well-deserved second chance at a healthy and happy life. Without your generous support, none of the work to help animals like Dolittle would be possible.

You can help Dolittle heal!

On a Tuesday afternoon in March, a little black dog was running down the street in a Madison industrial park. He ran up to his rescuer who quickly brought him to Dane County Humane Society (DCHS). We named this young adult Chihuahua mix Dolittle, and he was as sweet and friendly as he was adorable. He was so eager for human attention, all he wanted to do was cuddle with our staff during his admitting exam. Overall, he appeared healthy, except for one major problem. Upon listening to his heart, our medical team knew he would need your help.

Dolittle’s heart sounds like a “loud washing machine” according to DCHS Lead Shelter Veterinarian Becky Stuntebeck. Dolittle’s x-rays show his heart has a birth defect called Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA). The ductus arteriosus, a blood vessel, has a hole that allows his blood to skip circulation to his lungs. This means his heart must work harder to pump blood into his body and eventually Dolittle will go into heart failure.

A dog’s life expectancy without PDA surgery is only about 2 years, and we estimate Dolittle is already 1-2 years old. “Fortunately,” says Dr. Stuntebeck, “despite the significant changes to his heart, he doesn't currently have any clinical signs that his heart isn't working properly and he's not yet in heart failure. However, heart failure could happen at any time.” Therefore, Dr. Stuntebeck is fostering Dolittle herself for careful monitoring.

Life expectancy for dogs born with PDA following surgery (before signs of heart failure) is the same as a dog born without PDA. This means Dolittle can live a normal, healthy life if he has surgery.

UW-Madison Veterinary Care has graciously offered to complete Dolittle’s heart surgery at a greatly reduced cost at the shelter, but we still need your help to provide the life-saving surgery he needs because of the specialized veterinary skill required.

After surgery, Dolittle will continue to recover and heal in Dr. Stuntebeck’s home until he is ready for adoption. “He has been amazing with my 2.5-year-old child and they love to play,” she says. “Dolittle is also very interested in my cats and tries to snuggle with them, which is something the cats are not quite ready for.”

We understand this is a challenging time for our community and world because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As your local, independent animal shelter we are still committed to providing compassion, shelter and care to the animals in our community. If you are able to donate, please help us raise $1,900 to cover the cost of Dolittle’s PDA surgery. Your gift will heal Dolittle’s heart so he can have a normal and healthy life!

Please make your donation online or mail your donation at Dane County Humane Society’s main shelter (5132 Voges Road, Madison, WI 53718), with “Dolittle” in the subject line.

Any additional funds for Dolittle’s surgery and follow-up care will be used to continue the work our Animal Medical Services does every day to provide high quality medical care to thousands of companion animals each year.

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