About Newf Friends

Newf Friends Newfoundland Dog Rescue is a volunteer run, foster home based rescue group for Newfoundland Dogs in need in Ontario, Canada.
We place Newfs into carefully screened homes in Ontario and surrounding provinces and states.
Established in 2008.

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Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page for general information about our program and our adoption policies and procedures.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ella's Story

Ella's Journey from Back-Yard-Breeder to Forever Family

It isn't where you came from, it's where you're going that counts ~ Ella Fitzgerald

Ella was born on Aug 13, 2009. Her mom was a Newfoundland and her Dad a Great Dane giving Ella the markings of a Merle Dane and the soft coat of a Newf -- with her long eyelashes, and gorgeous colouring she is a beautiful girl. Ella came to us as a breeder surrender at the tender age of 5 weeks, far too young to be separated from her litter. Her litter mates had already been sold and pushed out the door, and Ella remained, unwanted and unloved because she only had 3 legs. Nobody wanted to buy the little dog with the infected stump, and her breeder surrendered her to us saying she was "Glad we'd take her so she didn't have to kill her."

We were told that Ella was born without her leg, but x-rays suggest that it is likely that her mom accidentally bit the leg off when removing the umbilical cord. Ella lived 5 weeks with her breeder without receiving any veterinary care whatsoever. The pain she endured must have been unbearable. Her stump became infected, swollen and as the infection spread through her bone, it made it's way into her tiny body. Left with a raw, oozing stump with a painful open sore on the end, Ella was exposed to e-coli infection from contamination from unhygienic living conditions. This infection spread into her urinary tract, and by the time we rescued her the infection was so severe her urine was thick with pus. At 5 weeks, Ella was only 3 lbs, very underweight, dehydrated, malnourished, and fighting for her life from systemic infections. By denying Ella access to the veterinary care she needed, Ella's "breeder" nearly cost Ella her life.

Upon arrival into our care, saving Ella's life was our first priority. Ella was taken to Dr. Kim Facey, Apsley Veterinary Services, and she was immediately treated for infections and an action plan for her recovery was made. Ella is a fighter, and she responded to treatment immediately and within days was growing stronger. Under Dr. Facey's exceptional care, Ella thrived.

It was obvious that the only chance for a long, healthy, pain free life for Ella was removal of her infected stump. With no salvageable bones in the stump, a prosthetic limb was not an option, so it was decided that amputation at the shoulder would be the best option. Before we could proceed with surgery, Ella needed to be strong enough to survive surgery and the lengthy recovery. For the next 7 weeks Ella was nursed back to health through a combination of antibiotics, daily cleaning regimens of her wounded stump, a healthy diet and lots of love. There were many ups and downs throughout her recovery, which have been chronicled on this site.
Week 2
Week 3

Ella received extensive veterinary care in those weeks, and even with the very generous discounts granted to us by Dr. Facey, Ella's vet bills mounted. As Ella's story began to be told to the Newf community, via Newf Net, she touched the hearts of many, and the donations for her care started pouring in. The outpouring of support for "wee Ella" as she became known, was astounding, and the generosity and kindness the Newf community has shown Ella has been remarkable.

Beyond her physical needs, Ella's social needs had to be addressed as well. Pups who are separated from their litters at such an early age miss out on the essential social skills that puppies teach each other, including bite inhibition.

To counter that, Ella was socialized with a pack of dogs in her foster home. With 5 other dogs to live with this was her best chance of learning the important "social" rules that other dogs teach each other during their early months. Although nothing can compare to the social benefits of living with litter mates for 12 weeks, we provided Ella the next best thing. She is very well socialized with other dogs, and plays well with her pack. She enjoys sleeping curled up with the other dogs, and seeks out the companionship of each of them.

On her 13 week birthday Ella underwent surgery for amputation of her infected stump. Dr. Facey enlisted the help of Dr. Michael Faessen, Soft Tissue and Orthopaedic Small Animal Surgeon, to perform this delicate surgery. Posts about her recovery can be seen on our site.
Post Surgery

Ella came through surgery with flying colours and hasn't looked back. She bounced back from surgery far better than anyone could have expected, and is well on the road to a full recovery.

UPDATE: Ella was adopted on December 8, 2009 to a loving family that will cherish her and give her the life she deserves. She joins a canine pack of 3 -- Denver, a senior shep mix who is also a three legger; Jake a young lab who lost his eyes due to infection thanks to the carelessness of a breeder; Zoe another Newf found wandering homeless and starving, plus a couple cats, and of course two loving parents who think the world of her!

UPDATE! Ella recently celebrated her 6 month birthday. Pictures and an update about wee Ella can be read here!

Read the latest update from Ella's mom in this post from November 6, 2010.

UPDATE! Check out another great update from April 2012!