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Princess in need

Despite being named after a princess who cheated death in movie theaters around the world, a black-and-white “bully breed” pup named Snow White isn’t likely to be finding her way out of the proverbial woods without some serious magic.

Born into a hoarding situation just over a year-and-a-half ago, the pup has been striking out in the game of life for as long as she’s been alive.

Try as she may, she’s had bad luck since she was born, then she was seized by animal control authorities at just a few months old when her entire litter and dozens of other dogs were found covered in sores and with myriad health woes.

Her first stroke of luck was probably when she landed under the care of the Rogue River-based Miss Gabriel Foundation and the nonprofit’s founders Kimberly and Paul Howell in April 2018.

Howell said the litter of “Am-Staff” pups were in such poor condition they were assumed to have cancer or ringworms due to their unhealthy skin. In fact, the skin issues were from malnourishment and scratch and bite marks from other dogs.

“There were 19 adult dogs chewing on litters of puppies. It was a really bad situation, and animal control didn’t have anywhere for them all to go so they called in all the rescues,” Howell said.

“The other rescue groups took all the healthier puppies so, of course, we got the really sick ones. Nobody wanted them because they looked like they had cancer or ringworm, but it turned out they were just filthy and covered in sores from being bit and from the sores getting infected. It was just extremely sad to see the condition they were in.”

Three of the pups were deemed special needs due to the extent of their injuries and other health issues. Snow White, one of the worst of the bunch, was diagnosed with left and right cranial cruciate ligament ruptures, a left floating patella, and she now needs a double TPLO surgery.

The dog is in constant pain due to conditions likely made worse by malnutrition while she was in utero and neglect and abuse after she was born.

A few of her litter mates were also diagnosed with everything from hip dysplasia, random genetic issues and even a diagnosis of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, but Howell said Snow White is probably the unluckiest of the eight pups — seven girls and one boy — who all bear Disney monikers.

The surgeries for Snow White run about $4,200 per knee — without unforeseen complications.

Howell is “shopping around” to find some alternatives. The surgeries must be done several weeks apart to allow recovery.

“Her left knee would be done first as this is the cause of most of her pain,” said Howell.

“If funds can’t be raised, we may be able to get her into some braces to alleviate some of the pain but we just want to try and do the best we can for her. This would change her life to not constantly be in so much pain.”

Howell said the pup is “happy and active” despite her leg problems.

The other pups include Prince Eric and princesses Jasmine, Ariel, Aurora, Bell, Cinderella and Merida (Brave).

Jasmine is on joint medication, and Belle is prone to seizures but wears a bell so that her caregivers can hear when she is in need of help.

Howell said she knows the request is a big one but she is committed to trying to make amends for some of the wrongs done to the eight pups due to human cruelty.

Five of the pups are ready for adoption, while Princess Belle will require some medical care. The more medically fragile of the bunch, Snow White and Belle, could take the longest to place.

“Five are ready to go but, like I said, they’re black and they’re American Staffordshire so the odds haven’t been the best for these dogs,” Howell said.

“We’ve had them in parades and festivals, Rooster Crow and Boatnik and Pear Blossom, we take them to the adoption events, and we’ve mailed packets. Our focus is to get the healthier ones adopted and provide whatever the other ones need to live a pain-free life. Maybe sometime down the line, a home will work out for them so that they can go on and have those forever families. If not, they’ll live with us and we’ll love them like they deserve. We just want to do the right thing and try to reverse some of the wrong that’s been done to them.”

Reach freelance writer Buffy Pollock at buffyp76@yahoo.com.

How to help

To help with medical costs for the eight “Disney pups,” and for Snow White’s double TPLO surgery, see www.facebook.com/missgabrielorg/ or call Kimberly Howell at 541-450-7777.

Donations can be made at the Southern Oregon Veterinary Specialty Clinic in Medford, in person or over the phone with a credit card, at 541-282-7711.

Donations can be mailed to Miss Gabriel Foundation, P.O. Box 718, Rogue River, OR 97537.

Jamie Lusch / Mail Tribune Kimberly Howell, president of Miss Gabriel Foundation, shares a moment with "Snow White" a dog that needs knee surgery.