Abandoned pit bull puppy needs surgery to survive, become therapy dog

KIRKLAND - A three month old pit bull puppy, abused and abandoned on the side of the road, is facing another struggle. Doctors say he has a serious heart condition and needs immediate surgery.

Nikki Johnson has fostered dozens of dogs over the years. So when some animal lovers found a pit bull puppy on the frontage road by the 520 bridge, they asked her for help.

“I had sent the information to my boyfriend and said I think we could potentially foster this guy. He won't take long to find a home, he's a puppy, super cute.”

Pickles showed signs of abuse. He had scars where his ears had been cut, and now has to wear a special hat to protect him in the rain.

“They only cut the ears off to be mean, that's why they do that to pit bulls,” she says.

But Pickles isn’t mean. Nikki says he’s got the exact temperament needed to be a therapy dog.

“I think anybody would be terrified of people if you were held down as a child and your ears cut off. But he loves everybody.”

The only problem is a few weeks ago, doctors discovered Pickles has stage 5 pulmonic stenosis. It’s a potentially deadly heart condition. Vanessa Rangel Miller, who has a dog with medical issues herself, says it’s not fair.

“He was already abused, left by the side of the road. Then we find out that there's even more, that he has medical conditions.”

She’s trying to spread the word about Pickle’s plight online, hoping other dog lovers will chip in to make sure he gets the care he needs.

“This dog has the potential to really help a lot of other people and a lot of other kids, and I’d like to do anything I can to make that happen.”

Nikki is grateful for the financial, and emotional, support.

“We’re very lucky to live in such a community that cares.”

Pickles’ surgery is scheduled for January 4. Nikki says if everything goes as planned, she’ll start training him to be a therapy dog soon after. She thinks surviving something like this will make him even more relatable to children with medical issues of their own.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can help Pickles, go to www.facebook.com/PicklesLogan.

You can also contact Pickles’ owner through Facebook, if you think you know where he came from. There is a possibility he had litter mates who have the same genetic heart condition and also need medical attention.