Life dealt Gus the English bulldog a rough hand.
When Dawna Pederzani and Karen Sturtevant — who run Vermont English Bulldog Rescue in Williston, Vermont — heard the pup was going to be euthanized, they scooped him up, but discovered he was dealing with a host of health problems.
“, skin infections, eye infections, teeth were completely rotted in his mouth … He was just a health disaster,” Pederzani told MyChamplainValley.com.
The pair paid for a battery of surgeries to help Gus recover, though in doing so, they uncovered the fact that he was also suffering a life-threatening condition called “megaesophagus,” which essentially means that any food Gus eats will sit along his esophageal tract until he regurgitates it.
The condition is especially dangerous for bulldogs, because “their nose is shortened, everything is squished. When they regurgitate and they breathe in, they breathe the food back into their lungs,” Pederzani said.
The pair’s research eventually brought them to a device called a Bailey Chair, invented and named for a family’s dog with the same condition. “They and their vet determined that if he was held upright while fed, the food would pass through normally,” Pederzani said.
Pederzani went to her local Home Depot to pick up the necessary equipment to build Gus his chair. But she’d recently undergone shoulder surgery, so she asked a six-year employee of the branch named Corey Shanteau for help.
“He heard the story and said, ‘Absolutely, bring me the plans and I’ll have it built in a couple of days,’ ” she recalled.
The chair came at no cost to the pair: Shanteau simply described his actions as “the right thing to do.”
“I guess this one just being so close to the holidays and helping them out for the work that they do with the bulldogs themselves, it just makes it feel a little bit more special,” he told MyChamplainValley.com.
If you’d like to make a donation to help defray the cost of Gus’s care — he’ll be adopted once he’s better trained on his chair — you can do so here.