Layla – The Foster We Almost Didn’t Get to Introduce

Just 12 short days ago, NYCSR received an email from a veterinary practice in eastern Connecticut. Someone had brought a pregnant Shiba Inu into their office. Her color was very poor and her gums were sticky dry. She was severely dehydrated and extremely weak. They weren’t sure if she would have the strength to deliver her puppies. She’d been given to the owners at a flea market a few weeks before. The owners didn’t know her history and they weren’t willing to commit to her continued care. The puppies were alive, but there was no one to take responsibility for this sick girl. We immediately decided we were meant to help save Layla.

Over the next few days, they gave Layla fluids, tried to get her to eat (with no luck), and ran several tests to try and find the root of her illness. They were keeping Layla isolated in ICU, but our volunteer Joanna was allowed to visit with her briefly. Joanna said that Layla was sweet and accepted her attention, but she quickly tired out and lay down to rest.

Joanna’s photo of Layla while visiting her in intensive care

On July 16, our poor Layla gave birth to six dead puppies. We were so sad for her, but also glad that she survived and didn’t need surgery to get them out. She finally started to eat a little bit and, although we still had no idea why she was so sick, we were all really hopeful that she would start to get well now that she wasn’t also supporting six pups. In the meantime, one of the vet’s clients had expressed an interest in fostering Layla when she was healthy enough to leave the clinic. Things seemed to really be looking up for Layla!!!

Little Did We Know

Two days later, the clinic called and said that Layla had crashed. They were concerned that it could be Pancreatitis and wanted to transfer Layla to an emergency hospital in Rhode Island. Joanna quickly picked her up and took her to Ocean State Veterinary Specialists. The doctors there determined that something had burst near Layla’s stomach or liver, but they weren’t sure what. They advised us that they would need to operate to even be sure what the problem was. We had to decide whether to move forward with the emergency surgery that she would need to even have a chance of living through the night. It was a tough decision to make because (1) we weren’t sure she was strong enough to make it through surgery and (2) if the cause of her illness turned out to be cancer, we might be putting her through surgery only to find out she still didn’t have much time to live. After reviewing everything with her doctor, we decided the chances of her surviving were high enough that she deserved a chance. If she turned out to have cancer or some other terminal problem, we would give her the best life possible for whatever time she had. One of our volunteers graciously supplied a credit card for the required deposit and Layla went into surgery that evening.

Later that night, the surgeon told us that Layla did very well and stayed stable under anesthesia. There was a lot of gastrointestinal fluid that needed to be drained from her abdomen. Once he was able to get in there, he found that the first part of the small intestine that joins the stomach had a 1/4 inch perforation. There are a few possibilities of how this may have happened:

  • Foreign body that had passed through and torn the intestine
  • Side effects of, or sensitivity to, a medication
  • Stress
  • Gastric acidity
  • Cancer

He cleaned up the edges of the perforation and took a biopsy to try to get an answer to why it happened. He told us that next 3-5 days for Layla would be critical and she would need to be monitored very closely for any changes.

The next day, Layla was still alive, but anemic and being watched very carefully.

What’s Next for Layla?

On Saturday, July 21, Layla received a blood transfusion which seemed to help her feel a lot better. She ate well Saturday night and Sunday morning and was finally able to keep everything down. To add to that fantastic news, the pathology reports came back and there was no sign of cancer at all!!

Layla is on the mend now and can look forward to a potentially long and happy life. She is moving to her foster home on Monday where she will continue to recover. We will share updates as she progresses.

And for NYCSR?

NYCSR needs your help now that we’ve helped Layla. Several years back, we had to halt intake for awhile because medical expenses for our foster dogs had gotten too far ahead of our income from donations. Donations were hard to come by then and many of our volunteers were struggling financially and didn’t have time to help with fund raising efforts. We’ve been back in full operation for almost two years now and our volunteers and donors have been AMAZING! We’ve accomplished a lot for a lot of dogs in need. Part of our decision to help Layla was based on our faith that our donors would stand behind us. The bill at the emergency hospital was up to $5,200 as of Saturday and and we’re not even sure about the bill at the first hospital yet! We are estimating we will have spent at least $7,000 by the time Layla is all better. All of this is on credit cards and we need to get it paid off ASAP, so we don’t have to stop helping other dogs who needs us.

Can you help us continue saving Shibas? Even small donations can add up to big money, so any amount will be great appreciated! You can donate on Layla’s FirstGiving page.


  1. Michele says:

    I’m anxious to know how little Layla is doing?

  2. I hope Layla is doing well. I see it’s been a short while since there’s been an update. She’s a beautiful girl that reminds me of my own sweet Shiba.

    Best Wishes!