UPDATE: JUNE 4, 2020

Penelope was born on January 28, 2020.

On March 23, Penelope was brought to the U of Penn where hydrocephalus with blindness was diagnosed. Because she was only weeks old the recommendation was to monitor her and try medical therapy before considering shunt surgery. Penelope’s medical care was transfer to another specialty hospital where an MRI was performed showing enlarged ventricles consistent with and confirming hydrocephalus. The recommendation was to manage Penelope with medical therapy and plan for the potential ventriculoperitoneal shunt (VPS) replacement surgery. Medical care included potentially weekly Neurology visits to monitor Penelope’s condition. Since her foster home was in Baltimore and the medial care Penelope required was in New Jersey plus the COVID-19 virus lockdowns Penelope was transferred to a foster home in New Jersey.

Penelope at 9 weeks old weighed 3.8 lbs. Penelope wasn’t the greatest eater choosing to play with her food rather than eat it. She did not know how to bite into the food but would lick it. Penelope was unable to lap water from a bowl or water bowl so water was carefully syringed into her. Penelope limitedly played with toys preferring to wander around and sniff the scents. There are multiple dogs in her foster home so there are lots of good scents to smell. Penelope’s blindness does not slow her down and she adapts well to her surroundings. Penelope especially likes to chew on her foster siblings’ Pug ears and play with Pug tails much to the patience of the Pugs. On the nicer warm days Penelope enjoys sniffing around the yard and even found a tiny little stick to carry. Penelope loves to be talked to and participates in several of her foster mom’s work zoom calls. But cuddling and giving kisses are Penelope’s favorite pass time.

Penelope continue to do well through the month of April gaining weight to 5.1 lbs even though her appetite at times was off . Penelope still did not know how to lap water. She was learning to get used to a collar and learning to walk on a leash. In early May, Penelope began circling, a symptom of the hydrocephalus. As a growing puppy her medication needed to be adjusted. A week later, however, another new symptom, extreme irritability especially when picked up presented and, again, the medication was adjusted. Weekly visits to the neurologist began. On May 29 for a regularly scheduled visit the Neurologist was please with her response to the medication adjustment. But the next day Penelope presented with yet another symptom of hydrocephalus; neck stretching to tilt her head backgrounds. This is an indication of brain inflammation swelling and pressure. Penelope was then hospitalized for 2 ½ days on IV medication to reduce the brain swelling. Penelope responded well and was released from the hospital. The next morning at her foster home she had a major seizure which was not unexpected. However, during the day Penelope once again began the neck stretching and head tilting and was re-admitted to the hospital. The Neurology team performed a brain fluid tap to reduce the fluid pressure. Penelope once again spent 2 ½ days in the hospital responding and recovering well. Penelope was released to her foster home for careful monitoring. Penelope appeared to be her normal self and for the first time ever lapped water from her bowl. That evening Penelope was rushed back to Emergency with severe symptoms for brain inflammation and pressure, yelping in pain during the ride. Penelope was admitted and started on IV medication to reduce the inflammation and pressure.

The Neurology team had wanted Penelope to be a bit older and bigger for the shunt surgery but it is looking like the surgery will have to be very soon.


Introducing the cute as tiny Frenchie button, Miss Penelope!!

This adorable baby girl is about 9 weeks old and has severe hydrocephalus. At this point we’re pretty sure she is blind. Penelope bumps into a lot of things and relies heavily on noise and smell to navigate her foster home. She’s doing well considering but will need most likely surgery to place a shunt. In the time leading up to this surgery her foster Mama is working on getting her big and strong so she can overcome the obstacles put in front of her.

In the meantime Penelope is having fun and loves to play. If you’d like to contribute to this baby’s future, please click a green bar above to get started.