This article was featured in WYDaily on 1/19/24
Struggling to breathe, when tiny puppy Luna arrived at The Heritage Humane Society, little did anyone know that she was facing pneumonia, heart defects and a condition with 1 in 80,000 odds. Her story as a young puppy fighting for her life, stands out as a testament to the power of Greater Williamsburg’s community support.

Luna’s critical beginning: abandonment and immediate struggles

Abandoned in a field on Nov. 18, 2023, Luna, estimated to be just 10 weeks old, faced immediate challenges as she struggled to breathe. The good Samaritan who found her quickly brought her to The Heritage Humane Society. Upon carefully examining Luna, Emily Glickman, the shelter’s Pathways Lead, heard Luna was concerningly congested. Swift intervention and collaboration with veterinary facilities became essential in Luna’s fight as she was quickly taken to the emergency vet for evaluation. This marked the beginning of her heartbreaking to heartwarming road to recovery.

Facing odds: Luna’s hospitalization and rare diagnosis

The initial diagnosis of pneumonia was soon joined by a secondary infection. Despite initial efforts, Luna’s condition worsened, leading to a week-long hospitalization and expert care from area veterinary facilities including Coastal Animal Referral Emergency CAREAnimal Emergency Center – Yorktown and Veterinary Referral & Critical Care. The veterinary teams worked tirelessly to stabilize Luna and soon received a big surprise. Imaging tests revealed not only pneumonia deep in her fragile lungs, but also heart defects and Situs Inversus Totalis, a rare condition where internal organs are in a mirror image position, occurring at a 1 in 80,000 chance.
Little Luna faced a long battle for survival.

Crucial elements in Luna’s battle: community support and unwavering dedication

Undeterred by the odds, The Heritage Humane Society, aided by community donations, continued Luna’s treatment. After an extensive in-patient treatment plan, it was time for the delicate puppy to transition to a skilled, around-the-clock foster home.

Amy Willoughby from Shared Joy Dog Training, a certified professional dog trainer (CPDK-KA) who also works with the shelter’s dogs, took on this next stage of Luna’s care. Despite the grim prognosis, Luna is now four months old, stable and enjoying her puppy life in the countryside of Gloucester, VA. She is learning to play, undergoing housetraining, and developing basic cues and leash manners under the care of her foster family, which includes two rescue doggy siblings.

The resilient pup’s foster mom, Amy, captures Luna’s spirit: “She is such a special little nugget. I fell in love with her spitfire personality before I even had a clue she was so sick and needed so much tending to medically. She pounces and hops from one person and toy to the next, head tilting like a professional pibble. She’s super laid back, often having to be convinced to get out of her crate to start the day. She greets every person with the gratitude of a pibble as her entire body wiggles and her head bows. She’s ridiculously cute.”

Reflecting on Luna’s impact: gratitude, love, and the need for ongoing support

Expressing gratitude for overwhelming support, The Heritage Humane Society acknowledges the community’s role. To date, the shelter has pulled from its Care Fund and general fund to invest more than $5,000 in Luna’s medical care. With continuing needs, The Heritage Humane Society is asking the community to donate to the ongoing care of Luna and other pets like her that are right here in the Greater Williamsburg community.

Luna’s story reflects the strength of collective compassion, inspiring positive change. As Luna thrives in her foster home, The Heritage Humane Society shares that message resonates clearly – every act of kindness, whether through adoption, event participation, donation, volunteering, or fostering, contributes to the well-being of animals in the Greater Williamsburg community.

Adoptable pets sharing Luna’s resiliency

Luna’s perseverance and joy have touched the hearts of those involved in her care. The shelter is filled with homeless pets who are just as eager to find their forever homes. Nearly 170 dogscats and small pets are currently in their care.
Adoptable pets are available to meet during The Heritage Humane Society’s visiting and adopting hours from 12 to 4:30 p.m., Tues. through Sun.
To learn more, visit, call 757-221-0150, or visit The Heritage Humane Society located at 430 Waller Mill Rd, Williamsburg, VA 23185.

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