Meet Juno: A Rescue With Unexpected Health Problems

Ellie had always wanted a dog.

What she didn’t know was that within a short amount of time in getting one that her dog would be diagnosed with a serious health problem.

A Fateful Meeting

Ellie and her boyfriend Logan attended a black tie gala for the animal humane society she volunteered in Kentucky. The gala had adoptable dogs that were being walked around that evening during the event, and when Logan got to hold the puppy who came to be known as Juno, a beautiful collie, he finally said yes. Ellie wasn’t able to take Juno home that night, however, and had to return to the animal shelter the next morning. Juno joining their family was fate, as “there was another couple in line in front of us before it opened,” says Ellie. “We were almost in competition in getting her, and they left saying they would think about it. So we snagged the opportunity and adopted her.”

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The Health Problems Started

It wasn’t long after Juno joined Ellie’s family that the health problems became apparent. Labor Day Weekend of 2015 they noticed Juno wasn’t breathing very well. During that summer she had been throwing up some white foam, which Juno’s family assumed was because she normally has a lot of fur and thought she was overheating in the North Carolina sun. Luckily for Juno, “NC State has a great veterinary school, and so I rushed her over there,” says Ellie.

It turned out that Juno was suffering from aspiration pneumonia which is a common side effect of megaesophagus. Megaesophagus, otherwise known as ME for short, causes the esophagus to be enlarged which makes it hard for the muscle to function properly. This causes the food to become trapped within the muscle and is often regurgitated at a later time. Ellie helps Juno with this condition with a special “princess chair” that keeps Juno in a begging position for about thirty minutes. This keeps Juno’s food from entering the lungs, which is what causes the aspiration pneumonia.

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The Bills Racked Up

Juno was energetic as a puppy. They would “pick her up from daycare and they would say ‘she played all day, she didn’t stop’ and we would take her for four mile runs with us,” says Ellie. Now Juno has a harder time keeping up with her family due to her health. The health issues took a toll on the families pocketbook too. Her stay at the veterinary school alone cost almost three thousand dollars. Ellie and her boyfriend had to live a bit cheaper to pay for Juno’s bills along with their own student loans.

“I had pet insurance, thankfully, before. So that helps a little bit,” says Ellie. The pet insurance only covered so much, and the rest they would have to take care of themselves. It was frustrating and “not what you would expect when taking on the responsibility of adopting a dog,” sighed Ellie. As two people who grew up around dogs, Ellie and her boyfriend had no idea something like this would happen.

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Online Groups Led to Quality Food Suggestions

Soon after Ellie discovered what Juno was suffering from she joined the Facebook group Upright Canine Brigade. It’s a group where pet owners who have dogs that suffer from megaesophagus can come together and discuss tips and give useful information. The group “has been really helpful ever since. There’s probably two to three thousand people on it across the world,” says Ellie. She first heard about The Honest Kitchen from the Upright Canine Brigade group. They “have lists with suggestions of treats and meals,” Ellie said, and while some people try to get by with watered down puppy chow, Ellie wanted a healthier dog food option.

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The Honest Kitchen to the Rescue

Juno had been doing okay with kibble until mid 2016, then she couldn’t keep it down any longer. Ellie decided to try The Honest Kitchen, which is “the perfect consistency since it’s like oatmeal,” she says. Now Ellie doesn’t have to worry about Juno getting the nutrients she needs since The Honest Kitchen dog food is very healthy. The members of Upright Canine Brigade have good things to say about The Honest Kitchen, and “while it’s a little bit out of our budget, the fact Juno’s eating six ingredients plus vitamins is really nice.” When the family went on vacation last month they left Juno’s THK food at home, and Juno wasn’t happy about it. Now they make sure to have some for Juno at all times.

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The Difference

Ellie noticed that as soon as she switched Juno over to The Honest Kitchen she was able to keep her meals in her belly, which is the best result a pet owner could hope for. As long as Juno stays in her chair thirty minutes after she is done eating she is good to go. Although she still can no longer go for runs with Ellie and her boyfriend, she can hang out with them all the same. Now there is less stress and worry for Juno. They know that megaesophagus can be fought against, and The Honest Kitchen was able to help her do that. “We are at a really stable place, I would say,” says Ellie.

Juno is now a happy collie once again. As soon as Ellie gets The Honest Kitchen box out Juno gets excited about it. Juno seems to love life, and she loves being loved too. “I think The Honest Kitchen is fantastic and a really great idea,” says Ellie. She has total trust in the company, and she can’t find anything else that rivals the ingredients that make up each box of The Honest Kitchen. While it seems expensive to some, “for the amount of food that it makes it’s a really good deal.” In all, Juno’s parents would rather spend their money on The Honest Kitchen than on more vet bills. “It’s a very good investment for her health and for our bank account,” exclaimed Ellie. She’s the love of their life, and while they hope for the best they know that it all comes down to quality over quantity.

Want to discover more True Stories and how diet has played a positive role in the health of over 1,400 pets? Click here

Meet the Author: James Kennedy

​James was part of his universities news and broadcast team as a journalist and editor. He's written articles for outdoor publications as a freelance journalist and likes to spend his time around the campfire.​

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