Friends Of The Shelter Launch Fundraiser For Puppy With Heart Condition

Nova Rey is a brave little shelter puppy who needs the community’s help. Courtesy photo


Near the end of April, a small, 8-week-old American bulldog/pitbull terrier mix was surrendered to the Los Alamos Animal Shelter.

All the owner wrote on the form was that the puppy had a heart murmur and that they couldn’t afford the medical costs. They also provided a CD with X-rays. Volunteers could feel the murmur with their bare hand.

Nova Rey snuggles with a shelter volunteer. Courtesy photo

In spite of her medical condition, Nova Rey was the most human-loving little girl they had ever seen; her entire body wiggled in a frenzy to snuggle with the volunteers. It was clear she had been away from her mother and siblings a while as she didn’t have any dog body language skills. Volunteers used a therapy dog named Hela who helped her learn to feel safe and to play again with other dogs and puppies.

Everyone fell in love with little Nova Rey. She showed no signs of any illness but the vet did confirm a very pronounced heart murmur and recommended she be taken to a cardiologist vet in Albuquerque for a full work up and diagnosis. Meanwhile, the staff at the Los Alamos shelter found her a great foster home and she continued to astound everyone with her energy and heart.

The cardiologist exam revealed the cause of Nova Rey’s heart murmur is that she has pulmonary stenosis and it is serious … so serious that there is no actual cure. She may start fainting, getting weak or collapsing at any time as her heart struggles to push blood through to her lungs. Without treatment, she might live no more than a few years. But this little dog’s brave spirit matches her great love for life and she is busy being a playful and curious puppy.

There is a way to extend and improve Nova Rey’s quality of life. She needs three things:

  • Surgery;
  • Daily medication; and
  • A family to love and care for her. 

The recommended surgery is a balloon catheter dilation of the narrowed pulmonary valve. When done by an expert, this often extends the lifespan of the dog at least a year or two more. The goal is to improve her quality of life and anything that gives her more time to be a happy, loved puppy is important to everyone involved with Los Alamos County Animal Shelter.

She will be on medicine for life. The medication is not expensive but missing a dose is very dangerous and she will need good, consistent follow-up care.

So the third thing that Nova Rey needs is a permanent, loving family able to take care of her for as long as she is alive. Even after the surgery, she will need to be taken to the cardiologist for twice a year visits and will need the loving support to live as long and happy a life as she is able.

This is why the Los Alamos Friends of The Shelter is once again working miracles to save the day – The Nova Rey Foundation will be opened by Friends of the Shelter to collect donations for her surgery and after care. If for any reason she doesn’t make it to her procedure, the funds in her honor would go to the next shelter life in desperate need.

To support this little puppy with a heart that is so beautiful but ultimately will fail her, please send donations to: Friends of the Shelter – Nova Rey at P. O. Box 455, Los Alamos, NM 87544 or to the Nova Rey Foundation account at LANB. Direct questions to Nova Rey’s foster mother at 970.903.9957 or her volunteer sponsor at 505.660.1648.

To apply to be the special family to care for Nova Rey, contact Friends of the Shelter at