Ailing dog receives surgery ahead of Christmas

Dr. John Owens of the Animal Hospital of Marion, pictured with Hazel Grace


A local dog suffering from a condition that threatened her life will now have a merry Christmas thanks to Mercy Fund Animal Rescue and the Animal Hospital of Marion.

Hazel Grace, a 6-month-old Rottweiler taken in by Mercy Fund Animal Rescue, was born with megaesophagus, an enlargement of the esophagus that sometimes affects dogs, requiring surgery.

Joy Harklerode of Mercy Fund described the dog as very frail when the group took her in August.

“She was only four pounds, and the breeders were going to put her down before we rescued her,” said Harklerode. “The most she could do was maintain liquid food.”

Due to her condition, Hazel Grace was given a 50-50 chance of survival with surgery, which, according to Harklerode, would’ve cost between $3,000-5,000 with a planned specialist from the University of Tennessee.

With the outcome looking grim, the case was taken up by Dr. John Owens with the Animal Hospital of Marion, lowering the cost significantly to between $900 and $1,000. Members of the community, said Harklerode, pitched in to help with medical expenses.

“Dr. John and the community gave this little girl a chance at life,” said Harklerode.

Hazel Grace had her surgery with Owens on Dec. 15. A pulmonary aneurysm was found caused by a PRAA, or vascular ring anomaly that restricts the esophagus. Within three days, Hazel Grace was able to come home. According to Harklerode, the dog is doing well and seeing improvements.

Harklerode posted a picture of Owens and Hazel Grace on Facebook reading, “I cannot say enough about him or his staff. They are the best most caring people around and I am so fortunate to call them friends.”

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