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Everything Animals: Special spaniels - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Everything Animals: Special spaniels

Bam Bam eats standing up because of his special condition. Bam Bam eats standing up because of his special condition.
Penny Penny
Penny's diaper, which she wears to help handle her Cushing's disease. Penny's diaper, which she wears to help handle her Cushing's disease.
Buca, Bam Bam's sister and best friend. Buca, Bam Bam's sister and best friend.

Hinesburg, Vermont - May 10, 2011

June Quintin says that every cocker spaniel is special. But some, like her current foster Penny, are so special that they require some special care.

Penny was found tied to a lamppost behind the Lowe's in South Burlington, where she'd been abandoned for two days. After she was found the veterinarian discovered that she has Cushing's disease.

"Cushing's dogs drink enormous amounts of water and pee a lot," Quintin says. "I would say I change her diaper two or three times a day."

Even though Penny is housebroken she is prone to accidents because of her disease. The diapers plus daily medication run about $90 a month.

But Quintin, who's volunteered with Cocker Spaniel Rescue of New England for 15 years and has handled hundreds of cockers, says Penny is certainly a standout spaniel in need of a special home.

"She should go to a home where somebody is home a lot, not be left alone all day with someone who goes to work all the time," she says.

Penny isn't the only cocker spaniel in the area that's looking for a special home. Siblings and best friends Bam Bam and Buca have been living at the Animal Hospital of Hinesburg for three months. That's because Bam Bam has a medical condition called myasthenia gravis.

"What that means is that the nerve is not talking to the muscle properly," Dr. Marv Greenberg explains.

In Bam Bam's case, that means his esophagus doesn't naturally move food from his mouth to his stomach. So what does that mean for his future owner?

"You have to feed him standing upright," Greenberg says, "because you want the gravity to take the food into the stomach so it doesn't pool in that esophagus."

Bam Bam's special way of eating takes about 25 minutes total every day, and Bam Bam is used to the routine of standing upright on his recycle bin or his owner's lap while he digests his food.

Other than that, Bam Bam is a normal dog who loves playing with his sister. Their strong bond means they need to find a home together.

"For Bam Bam and Buca I think the ideal situation would be that they're the only dogs," Quintin says.

Greenberg says people should be aware of, but not scared of, Bam Bam and Penny's diseases.

"You don't cure these diseases, these are two diseases that have to be controlled by medication, but the good thing is that the medication works in such a such large percentage of cases."

Cocker Spaniel Rescue of New England has invested $5,000 in caring for these three rescued dogs. They say they do this because putting in that extra time and dedication will get their new owners a lot of love in return.

Penny, Bam Bam, and Buca are just a few of the dogs up for adoption at Cocker Spaniel Rescue of New England. To learn more about their dogs or to make a donation visit CSRNE.com or call (603) 547-3363.

Rachel Feldman - WCAX News

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