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  • Cheryl Cole

Adorable Vancouver pup with cleft palate saved from euthanasia by local family is an online star

Meet Frankie - the feisty Frenchie rescue with a repaired cleft palate bringing joy to hundreds online.


A Vancouver french bulldog born with a cleft palate is melting the hearts of hundreds on social media thanks to her adorable pictures, infectious personality and feisty attitude. But for 9-month old Frankie, things could have been a lot different.


Like many pups born with cleft palates, Frankie was destined for euthanasia but luckily, thanks to an Abbotsford family who rescued her just one hour after her birth, this cute pup is thriving and building an impressive following of online fans.


For the past 9 months, social media users have avidly followed Frankie's journey from a one-hour-old puppy to a strong-willed and feisty female, and her Instagram page already has almost 2000 followers.


Described as "striking an incredible balance between being a feisty, bossy female and also the cuddliest sweetest girl ever", Frankie's owner Mandy Rusk recalls the moment she first heard about this very special pup.


"My mom got a call from the vet we used to work for telling us that a French Bulldog with a cleft lip and palate was born by cesarean," she explains.


"The breeder had told the vet that they could give the pup to us to try and save as they didn’t have the time, or that she would be euthanized. There wasn't even a choice for us, she would be joining our family."

Over the next five weeks, Mandy's mother tube-fed Frankie every 2 hours, day and night, before moving on to hand feeding her water dipped kibbles, until at 4 months, she reached 9lbs and was able to go ahead with the cleft palate repair surgery.


The surgery was a success, and Frankie's palate healed perfectly without any issue. Although she's aware that it takes a lot of work and commitment, Mandy is extremely passionate about letting people know that saving a pup with a cleft palate might not be easy, but it's 100 percent worth it.


"Clefties are a lot of work before palate repair surgery, but after that they can live lives like totally ordinary puppies. I think the biggest misconception about clefties is that they all have other health issues present, which of course can happen, but isn’t always the case," explains Mandy.


"We were very lucky that Frankie didn’t also have encephalitis or a liver shunt, and she really is thriving now. I couldn't imagine our lives without Frankie being part of it."


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Although Frankie was very lucky, it is not always the case for puppies born with a cleft palate, with many sadly being euthanized as they are unable to eat and cannot thrive.


If the defect is not detected immediately, this can also lead to death, with information on Wag! explaining, "A newborn pup with a severe opening of the palate will unfortunately die of starvation if the defect is not detected early on. The pup will not be able to get adequate nourishment from nursing, and there is the possibility that any liquid he is able to take in will be aspirated, leading to pneumonia and death."


It's hard to believe looking at this happy, adventurous pup enjoying life on social media that without Mandy and her family, Frankie wouldn't have been alive today.


"I wish we could save all of them!," admits Mandy, who would love to see more rescues dedicated to pups with cleft palates.


"It’s heartbreaking to me that there doesn’t seem to be any specific cleftie rescues in the Lower Mainland that breeders can give their cleftie pups to to be properly cared for, and where people can apply to adopt them when they are ready to be homed.


"There seems to be quite a few great rescues for clefties in the US, so we just need a few closer to home!," she adds.



Not only is Frankie adding some much needed positivity to our Instafeeds, but she's also inspiring and educating people from across the world, with one follower from New Zealand reaching out to Mandy about how Frankie's story resonated with her.


"She told me that she was born with a cleft lip and palate herself and actually didn’t know that it was something that also happened to dogs," explains Mandy.


"Frankie is incredible and I'm glad so many people are seeing how special she is. She just brings so much joy to every person she meets and it’s beautiful to see."


You can follow Frankie's journey and add some cuteness to your feed today by following her Instagram page - @what_frankie_thinks.



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