A dog gave birth to a beautiful litter of puppies, but one of them looked very different from the rest.
At four weeks old, he was severely underweight at just one pound and had a deformity. He was born with a cleft palate, a birth defect where the mouth doesn’t form properly.
Most backyard breeders do not breed for genetics or desirable qualities. They just want to breed as many dogs as possible for the money, without caring about reducing undesirable traits. That’s exactly how this poor pup ended up with a cleft palate.
The breeder was unable to suitably care for this tiny puppy, so she contacted Rachel Keech, founder of an animal rescue in Penn Valley, California named Fred’s Friends.
Keech agreed to take in the puppy and decided to name him Mr. Fig Newton. But caring for him would not be easy.
Aside from the cleft palate, he had a plethora of other health issues. Newton was sick and also had an eye and skin infection. He went to the vet every week and was put on multiple antibiotics.
Eventually, Newton underwent two corrective surgeries for his cleft palate, but things still did not get easier.
When Newton was six months old, he grew very wary of people. Keech continued to work with him and care for him at her own house. Newton even became the best of friends with Keech’s two Boxers.
Cleft Pup Brigade
After attending sessions with a trainer, Newton made huge improvements. He was no longer fearful of people and was a very confident, loving pup.
From there, Newton went to NorCal Bully Breed Rescue where he was placed with a loving foster to help him find a forever home. He was also given a new name: Levi. Eventually, he found the perfect forever home!
“He is and will forever be my little Newt, my special little man whom I will always be grateful for,” Keech wrote on Facebook. “He has taught me the true meaning of loyalty, love and cuddling and he has taught me that it is not ‘all in the way they are raised.’”
Newton was Keech’s first cleft pup and inspired her to start a cleft dog rescue, where she spreads awareness and takes in other dogs with clefts who just need a little extra attention.