In September 2006, a friend working at Orange County Animal Control contacted us with a special request to foster a puppy. One very emaciated Doberman girl puppy had just arrived at their facility with an incredible story. Essentially born a three-legged dog due to a birth defect this abandoned puppy was rescued from a canal in Orlando. It was a miraculous survival and our friend wanted the puppy in a foster home where she could get healthy and strong before adoption. It was impossible to say no, and so, it was on September 21st this 11 week old puppy arrived at our home. This date was special and significant as it was my grandmother Johanna’s birthday. In her honor and Tammie’s grandmother Opal Josephine’s honor, we proudly named this little miracle girl JoJo.
From day one, JoJo was always loving and friendly with us and other humans; however, we noticed that she was timid and fearful of dogs. At that time, we had the most loving, gentle pushover of a boxer named Oakley. It took JoJo nearly two weeks before she fully trusted him, but Oakley’s good nature finally won her over. He became her shining star and security blanket. JoJo had more confidence with Oakley by her side and she grew, fattened up and became an outgoing and playful pup.
As fate would have it, JoJo was meant to be ours and she adopted us. Nearly 10 years old now, JoJo has continued to amaze and inspire everyone she meets. She is a strong willed girl with a big heart and has no clue she isn’t “normal”. Most people who see JoJo feel sorry for her, but the joke is “Please, feel sorry for us because she is a Bossy Pistol”. Seriously, JoJo is amazing and her tenacity, intelligence and drive keeps on inspiring us and others every day.
Last year on September 19th, JoJo started acting unusual after taking her on a walk. She would not stop panting and her gums were white. Immediately, we called TOAH and said we were on our way. The TOAH team was ready for us and they took her back for treatment. As it turned out, JoJo was having dangerous heart arrhythmias and she ended up needing lifesaving CPR. Dr. Fullenwider and Dr. McPherson with their team resuscitated JoJo and stabilized her. In need of overnight ICU care, JoJo was loaded into our Jeep for transport to the Veterinary Emergency Clinic in Casselberry. Dr. Fullenwider jumped into the vehicle with JoJo as if nothing could have stopped her. While in route to the clinic, JoJo crashed once more and Dr. Fullenwider saved her life again with CPR. If Dr. Fullenwider had not gone with us, then JoJo would not be here today.
JoJo was diagnosed with DCM (dilated cardiomyopathy), which is a heart condition common in Dobermans. While there is no cure for DCM, JoJo is now on heart medications to help keep her from having dangerous heart arrhythmias and to strengthen her heart’s pumping ability. This March 19th marks 6 months that JoJo was brought back to life. There are no words to express how grateful we are that our baby girl is alive and well. Endless gratitude and love to the TOAH TEAM! Happy 6 months JoJo!!!
All the best,
Sharon and Tammie