A Vicksburg family is desperately trying to raise funds to pay for life-saving surgery after adopting a puppy passed up by everyone else.

The Neusbaum's of Vicksburg suffered a devasting loss of their family pet named Max. Alayna Neusbaum works for an area veterinary clinic and says every step was taken to try and save Max after an attack by a group of dogs left him severely injured. Despite receiving the best care, Max later succumbed to his injuries. The loss left the family feeling broken and their other dog was so depressed they could barely get him outside.

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After some time passed Alayna realized everyone needed a reason to smile again. The family had always made rescue animals a part of their family and soon saw the Kalamazoo SPCA would be participating in an Empty the Shelters event where animals can be adopted at a lower cost to remove barriers keeping them from finding homes. Alayna said it took all day for her husband to warm to the idea of bringing another dog home. But finally, with just enough time to get to the rescue before it closed, the family piled in their vehicle and head straight to the shelter.

Once there they learned there was only one puppy left. The puppy had been passed over by everyone that day due to a jaw deformity.

Alayna had this to say of meeting the special pup

Now, I believe everything happens for a reason. I may not like the reason and I may not understand the reasoning. I believe I lost Max because it was time to save Maddie. I passed on Max’s legacy to Maddie. In Max’s honor, I named this puppy Maddie.

It was love at first sight for the youngest family member.

Courtesy of the Neusbaum family

Maddie is a roughly 6-month-old beagle mix. She has a possible TMJ disorder and ankylosis. Meaning she has a disorder in her jaw joint (possibly from an old fracture) and her jaw is fused together. She can only open her mouth roughly 2 cm. Her jaw is at a pivot where her top jaw is further to the right. When eating Maddie must push her snout all the way into her bowl and smash food into the small hole where her mouth opens, and her top jaw and bottom jaw are misaligned allowing a gap. She can get her tongue out of her mouth and slop up water (very messy!).

This rare condition means that if Maddie tries to chew on something, it could get stuck in her mouth and kill her. You can not open her mouth to remove an item. What puppy doesn't try to chew on sticks? Making matters worse is that dogs pant to cool themselves. They do not sweat as humans do. So being unable to open her mouth all the way keeps all the warm air (and excess carbon dioxide) in her mouth and makes it very hard for her to cool herself.

The family brought her in for a consult at Harborfront Hospital for Animals and Veterinary Dental Solutions. Unfortunately, the X-rays were not clear enough. They now are going to Michigan State University Veterinary Hospital for a CT scan and hopefully surgery. The surgery is very risky as the carotid artery is very close. Surgery would allow her to open her mouth and alleviate the possibility of her getting something stuck in her mouth, help with the pain she is having now, and help with hypoxia and hyperthermia.

As you can imagine the costs for all of this are adding up fast. The family has started a fundraiser in hopes of raising some of the money needed to cover the costs and save Maddie's life. 

Courtesy of the Neusbaum family
Courtesy of the Neusbaum family

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