DaVinci, a Dog with a Twisted Snout, Inspires a Movement

Since my other dog Emma the Cleft Palate Chihuahua is doing better, I've decided to help another pup with a twisty smile: DaVinci.


My beloved little Emma the Cleft Palate Chihuahua has taught me many lessons over the past four years since her rescue at just hours old. But above all, she taught me the true meaning of the maxim, “Everything rides on faith.” Now that Emma doesn’t need round-the-clock medical attention, I decided to reach out to help other small-breed puppies and dogs in need, especially orphaned newborns like Emma.

Looking into the quirky, Picasso-esque face of our latest rescue, I am instantly in love. This little Shih TzuScottish Terrier cross, whom I’ve dubbed DaVinci, is about nine months old. As you can see, he has a twisty little smile like Emma’s, but it isn’t due to a cleft palate, as our little Chi has. Sadly, DaVinci’s veterinarian believes that this is the result of some type of trauma, but what kind or how it happened, we have no idea.

The sweet pup’s eyes are filled with faith and hope in me, that I will be the one to lead him to a new beginning. It can be a little overwhelming, but a challenge I am always ready to accept!

His previous owners — who never let him inside the house — claim that DaVinci was born with a deformed muzzle, but our vet says otherwise. If DaVinci had been taken to the vet earlier, his condition could have been treated. His littermates all found homes, but his owners had Great Pyrenees dogs who kept trying to attack him, so he finally came to us.

DaVinci has only been with us for a short while, so we don’t yet have a treatment plan. We’ve begun The DaVinci Project on Facebook to keep everyone updated on his journey as we explore the options available for this sweet boy. He is being evaluated by one of our doctors, a fellow of the Academy of Veterinary Dentistry, who is consulting with peers to determine the best course of action, which may include jaw realignment surgery. In the meantime, DaVinci is a sweet, affectionate pup who is enjoying his new life indoors.

I am thrilled to report that Chihuahua puppy mill survivors Stella, Claire, and Marilyn are all doing great. Baby Marilyn successfully underwent open heart surgery and has recovered beautifully. The veterinary technician who was overseeing Marilyn’s care fell completely in love with her and applied to adopt her. She took Marilyn (now called Pippa) home from the hospital to her brand-new life. We couldn’t have asked for a more perfect match!

Stella and Claire are still here at home base, working on their socialization skills and trying to figure out what it means to love and be loved. It’s been a long, tough journey for them, but we have faith that they will eventually build trust in us and they will be able to finally bond with humans after having been neglected for their entire lives.

Read more about Friends of Emma or make a donation toward their medical care.

Do you know of a rescue hero — dog, human, or group — we should profile on Dogster? Write us at dogsterheroes@dogster.com.

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