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This is Bean and my story. What's yours?

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Your Name:  Kayla Gower
Dog's Name:  Bernie (aka: Bean)
Breed:  English Bulldog
Age/Years of friendship:  1.5 years old
Where did you get your dog from:  He was a breeder surrender to me
Location:  Ogden, UT
Social Media Link:

When Bernie (aka: Bean) as about 2 weeks old, I got a call from the people I used to work with at a veterinary hospital in Washington state.  They said they had a litter of bulldogs come in today with 4 of the 8 having cleft palates.  I certainly was not planning on getting another dog, especially having 2 already with special needs and being in Utah it seemed like an impossible task to get to the babies.  Of course, these are my old coworkers and the ones that had seen me foster 9 other cleftie babies, so they knew what to say. “There is one that lived out of the 4, and by the way he is George’s (my other cleft dog) brother.”  That’s all it took to pile into the car and take the 24-hour road trip to get the Bean and make him part of the “pack” as we know it now.

Bean was complicated and high needs as most cleft puppies are, however what was special about him was surviving a very rare brain/spinal cord condition called discospondylitis (basically the short story was I went to bed with a healthy happy 12-week-old puppy and woke up to a totally confused and paralyzed medical emergency). After his battle with “disco”, the cleft palate surgery was performed as soon as possible due to our new-found knowledge of how compromised his little immune system was.  However, in typical Bean style, he struggled through surgery and had us all on our toes throughout his recovery in anticipation of what kind of life I hoped he would be able to live. Between his cleft palate and the complications from “disco,” he has been through so much more medically than I would ever wish for any living being. Yet, he is a shining example of the fight to live that breaths within each one of these little special needs babies and in any one of us, if we choose to harness it.

Despite his rough start at life, Bean now lives a fulfilling life with George (his biological brother and fellow cleftie) and Paisley (his jack Russell “sister” that was a rescue from an abusive home).  Having 3 special needs dogs is by far one of the most challenging and rewarding aspects of my life. Bean brings such joy and balance between the 2 others, it’s hard to think what life ever was like without him in our home.  His favorite trick is “smile” where he runs up and sits on your feet (with his back against your legs) and sticks his little underbite up in the air as high as it can go, while wiggling his whole body a million miles an hour.

Bean has the weirdest personality and really, depending on the day, can be as brave and fierce as a lion or a snugly and timid of the world.  He is my little wild card and yet, the most willing-to-please love bug you will ever meet. His pint-size body is clearly not a representation of the large spirit that boy has.  
The most amazing thing about Bean that I get to see daily, is the bond him and George share.  Call me crazy, but I swear they know they are real brothers. You can’t find one without the other and Bean always looks at George for guidance just like any other little brother would.  The bond they share is something I will treasure forever and can make any bad day just fade away.  I can’t help but just smile at them snuggling together at my feet and just thinking to myself that they really have no clue how great of a miracle each one of them is.

This is Bean and my story. What's yours?


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