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'Vets told me to euthanise her, but she's thriving' says owner of cleft lip pup

Katie Friel, 40, was shocked once she took her loving bulldog Doris to the vets and was advise to euthanise her due to her bilateral cleft lip – weeks later, Doris is thriving.
Doris the Bulldog
Doris is thriving with the help of her owners, local vets, Little Miracles and Breeds In Need (photo: @the_life_of_doris_2020)

Doris and some of her siblings were born with a bilateral cleft lip, but all three that live in Peterborough remain in touch and are "thriving" despite the owners being advised to euthanise them when they were just weeks old.

At the initial appointment at the vets, Katie was told that although Doris' lungs and palate were fine, they would normally put her to sleep, but Katie said she wasn't prepared to put her down. 

Katie explained how she was put in touch with a charity called Breeds In Need who take care of puppies and help them find their homes. 

She said: "Breeds In Need were great, they were so encouraging. Ruth explained it all to me and told me about tube feeding, which was necessary. I decided to give it a go and Ruth told me she would be there for me 24/7. 

"When I bought her home from the vets for the first time, she was so hungry. I didn't know what do after I had no help from the vets, so I contacted Sam from Little Miracles. All I knew was that her son was tube fed and I asked if she could help me.

"She put a plea out to Little Miracles and found some tubes to feed the puppy. Then I rang a friend who works in intensive care and told them the vets won’t show me but I’m not prepared to put this puppy to sleep without trying."

Katie added: "Between YouTube, a person who is used to tube feeding her child and an intensive care nurse, we worked out how to do it. I had to feed Doris every two hours day and night up until about two and a half weeks when she started weaning.  

"It was tiring, hard work and draining for the first two and a half weeks, but now she eats dry food from her bowl, she can't eat wet food because it can get stuck and cause an infection but she has good quality dry dog food, drinks water from a bowl and the only issue she has is that she looks different. The fact that the vet would put her down for looking different is wrong."

Katie explained that following this, she really wants to share that Doris is living a happy life and has the same experiences as a normal dog. 

She has since started going to Werrington Vets, who she says has been so helpful, and she has been overwhelmed with the support from them. 

Katie is hoping that the more that people learn about dogs with a cleft lip, more can be done for them, so she has made an Instagram account called @the_life_of_doris_2020 to spread awareness. 

She added: "After all the restrictions are lifted, I want to take Doris to meet children with facial differences, I think it will be really nice for them to meet her, cuddle her and realise they’re not the only ones. She deserves it I think, and to be able to help people as well."