Puppy with nine lives makes an amazing recovery


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Cats aren’t the only creatures with nine lives. As proof, take Gus, a 10-month-old Shih Tzu-mix who was rushed to BluePearl Veterinary Partners hospital in Grand

Gus recuperating at BluePearl. (Photo courtesy of Amber Moon)

Gus recuperating at BluePearl (Photo courtesy of Amber Moon).

Rapids after collapsing in his backyard.

Nine times the black and white puppy’s heart stopped beating. And nine times, the dedicated BluePearl medical team brought him back to life.

Now, just a few days after leaving the hospital, Gus is walking, wagging his tail and generally acting like his sweet puppy self again.

“It’s really rewarding,” said Dr. Christina Cooper, an emergency clinician with BluePearl who oversaw Gus’ care. “So many of us pulled together to help this little dog, so we’re all happy to see he’s doing so well.”

It’s still not clear why Gus suddenly collapsed on the evening of January 27. When he arrived at BluePearl, his breathing was shallow and doctors couldn’t detect a pulse.

Cooper and the other members of the medical team started CPR, inserting a tube so a technician could manually help him breathe and administering medications to boost his blood pressure and stimulate the heart.

Gus would revive, but then his heart would stop beating. Cooper and the team would bring him back only to have him fade again. Doctors and technicians from throughout the hospital – more than 10 in all  –  joined the effort to help the puppy.

Cooper kept owners Amber Moon and Jake Lowing informed of Gus’ condition. They told her to continue CPR as long as Gus was showing signs of life.

“I was trying not to let any negative thoughts enter my head,” Moon said. “But it wasn’t sounding very promising.”

Finally, after more than an hour, Gus began breathing on his own again. Now the question was, would there be any lasting effects from his ordeal?

Cooper ran a number of tests, but they didn’t reveal why Gus collapsed. It’s possible the puppy choked on something or suffered head trauma while playing with his housemate Riley, a 2-year-old Australian shepherd.

Gus at home with a favorite toy (Photo courtesy of Amber Moon).

Gus at home with a favorite toy (Photo courtesy of Amber Moon).

At first Gus couldn’t walk or eat. But every day, he showed small signs of improvement. Now he’s recovering at home, and Moon said she knew he turned a corner Tuesday evening when he covered her face with kisses.

“He’s the sweetest thing in the entire world,” Moon said. “I can’t believe that he’s doing so well after everything he’s been through. It’s just amazing.”