'Bucket list' created for Sussex puppy with rare heart defect to ensure he has best possible life

A RSPCA inspector in Brighton who fostered a puppy with a heart defect has created a 'bucket list' to make sure he can enjoy some happy times.

By Sol Buckner
Wednesday, 22nd September 2021, 2:50 pm

Opie the 14-week-old labrador suffers from a condition called Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia which means his life is likely to be cut short.

He was one of 35 dogs, which included many other labrador puppies, rescued by the RSPCA in July from cramped and unsuitable conditions in East Sussex.

Opie was the only one found to have a rare heart malfunction and is now in the care of Julie Parsons

Opie is now 14-weeks-old

Julie, who works at RSPCA Brighton as an inspector, decided to create a list of experiences she feels Opie should have.

She is determined to give him best life possible and opportunities to enjoy all the things that dogs love - for however long that might be.

The list of experiences include: Eat doggy ice cream, Walk in Epping Forest; Walk on the South Downs to see the famous Jack and Jill windmills; Learn to swim; Enter a charity dog show; Go on a picnic; Climb a mountain; Play on Westward Ho! Beach; Sleep on Mummy’s bed.

Julie said: “When Opie first came to us we knew something was wrong.

Opie when he was a younger puppy

"He wasn’t like other puppies, he was very lethargic and generally disinterested in life - the opposite to how he should be.

“The drugs have really helped him and he is running around now and you wouldn’t know there was anything wrong with him, but I know this could all change in just one vet visit.

“He’s a lovely dog, we’ve all fallen in love with him so we just want him to experience what it is like to be a puppy and to give him the best life possible while we have him.”

So far Opie has entered a dog show and won a first and a second place and he will hopefully be completing his other goals in the next couple of weeks.

Opie with her foster mummy Julie

He is fostered by Julie and his ongoing medication is provided by RSPCA Brighton, an independently registered charity and rehoming centre in East Sussex.

There is a chance, once Opie is big enough, that he may be able to have an operation to help fix the problem with his heart, but this can cost in the region of £20,000.

RSPCA Brighton is fundraising for Opie’s ongoing care and to help other rescue animals in need.

RSPCA Brighton branch manager, Jenny Eden, said: “When Opie and the other puppies first came into RSPCA care they were in a really bad way and it took a lot of care, love and attention for them to be able to find new homes.

“It is tragic that Opie now faces a new battle in his short life but we all want to support him as best we can.

"He has really landed on his paws with Julie and I know she will help him live the life he deserves to have, even in the face of adversity.”

To donate to RSPCA Brighton please visit: https://rspcabrighton.enthuse.com/opiesbucketlist