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Puppy found on St. Patrick's Day is lucky to be alive

By Alexandra Mester • Mar 25, 2016 at 3:00 PM

St. Patrick’s Day brought one tiny puppy the good fortune he needed.

Finnegan, a chow chow mix estimated at just 6 weeks old, was found March 17 as a stray in the 400 block of White Street in East Toledo. He had an ugly injury and serious infection to his lower jaw.

“We have no idea how he got the injury, but it’s pretty severe,” said Julie Lyle, director of Lucas County Canine Care & Control.

When the local emergency animal hospital, MedVet Medical & Cancer Centers for Pets, decided Finnegan needed more specialized intervention, Ms. Lyle personally drove him to MedVet’s hospital in Columbus.

The trip proved a little challenging. The traumatized pup was desperate to be held and cuddled, and would cry endlessly whenever Ms. Lyle took her hand away.

“I ended up having to hold him and he breathed his stinky infection breath on me the whole time,” she said.

Dr. Shawn Kennedy operated on Finnegan the following day. The front section of the puppy’s lower left jaw had broken completely off the rest of the bone. He removed the detached piece, which had died and begun to fester with gangrene.

“It was just attached to the soft tissue,” he said. “It was pretty freely floating there.”

Cutie’s Fund, a special pool of donations to help medically needy dogs at the county shelter, is kicking in to pay the more than $2,000 medical bill for Finnegan.

The puppy sailed through the surgery. Finnegan began eating immediately after waking up, despite having lost a few teeth when the bone was removed.

“He won a lot of hearts here,” Dr. Kennedy said. “He’s spunky.”

There are a number of ways Finnegan could have been hurt, Dr. Kennedy said. Possibilities include being clipped by a car, being dropped or kicked, or simply tumbling off something and landing on his chin.

“We see a lot of dogs and cats come in with chin fractures and things from just running into something,” he said.

Finnegan was hospitalized for a few days, and had to be anesthetized a second time to restitch part of his jaw where the initial sutures didn’t hold. He now has two buttons stitched to his chin to help support the new sutures and prevent excess stress on the skin.

“The lower lip is very heavy when it separates from those tissues,” Dr. Kennedy said.

Dr. Kennedy noted that Finnegan could need additional intervention depending on what happens as he grows. The injury damaged several adult tooth buds, and the remaining jaw bone may also grow abnormally as the pup gets older.

“He’ll need to be followed carefully,” he said.

The puppy returned to Toledo on Tuesday, spending the night at Ms. Lyle’s house to keep the vulnerable little one isolated. Planned Pethood transferred him into a foster home Wednesday.

Finnegan is expected to make a full recovery, and is already bouncing back rapidly.

“Puppies are pretty hardy, lucky for him,” Ms. Lyle said. “He won’t have a normal jaw, but he’s going to be just fine.”

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©2016 The Blade (Toledo, Ohio)

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