Pup Given a Chance

Ms. Deborah Pack wrote to us recently about her wonderful rehabilitation story. Although Ms. Pack is not from the Houston area, we felt the message to be so inspiring that we would share with our Houston pals. Her story shows how anyone can help a creature in need. You don’t have to be a part of an organization, or have corporate backing to be of assistance. All you need is some time and effort. Stanley and Deborah Pack work with several organizations on an international level with Smile Train, assisting those born with cleft palates and lips. 


Stanley (right) and his brother Oliver (left)

My name is Deborah Pack and recently I was given a copy of your magazine. After reading through the pages and seeing the wonderful work that you do, I thought that perhaps you might be willing to be a voice for my special little boy Stanley. You see, Stanley and many animals like him are usually quickly destroyed before they have a chance at life. We are trying to change that, with the help of hearts like yours.

Stanley came to our family in November of 2014 along with his brother, Oliver. Both boys had challenges, Stanley was born with a bilateral cleft lip and Oliver was born deaf. Luckily for Oliver, we already knew how to help him for we had 3 other deaf Bulldogs; but Stanley’s medical issue was new to us, in fact so new that I can honestly say I never knew animals with cleft lips existed.

The reason for this unawareness is that those born like Stanley are often quickly destroyed without records of births or deaths. Breeders make the choice of having them put to sleep or not and Stanley was a very lucky puppy whose owners saw that his heart and  lungs were strong, and gave him a chance at life.


Stanley also has another unusual trait – heterochromia.

At first, Stanley was sponge fed with a makeup sponge. This was a very clever technique that was devised, generally a tube is used. This was a tentative time for Stanley, as it is during this process that animals can die from aspiration. Using this technique, Stanley made it though the initial critical stage and he began to grow. His little personality started to form and we saw he was indeed a special little boy.

Oliver and his brother made their way to us when his owners called me wanting to know if I knew of anyone that might want Stanley’s deaf brother, Oliver. Being a teacher at the time, who used animals in the classroom to teach children important life lessons, I agreed to take him. My family and I went to go and pick up our newest family member, not knowing that we had another that was coming home, too. We saw Oliver and next to him was little Stanley. I was in shock as I saw his tiny face, never knowing that animals were born with cleft, it took me back for a moment. Then I realized that I teach children about acceptance, should I not look passed his face and see him? I took Stanley and Oliver both home and thought both could teach children about acceptance, Stanley on the outside and Oliver on the inside.

Over the few days that we had Stanley, I noticed something was not right. He could not lay down properly and used Oliver as a prop, he would make noises when he tried to eat and a lot of burping. I took him to our veterinarian to find out that he had two holes in his sinuses, and he may need to have surgery done on his palate. The vet sent us to an oral surgeon where we were told that it was going to cost over $2,000 to fix him. He wanted to wait a couple of months before doing Stanley’s surgery to give him time to grow. This was good for us, as we did not have that kind of money at the time. I knew that though community outreaches my class and I had previously raised money for the community, but this time I was the one who needed help. We put out jugs for collection and in less than 20 days, and to my surprise and delight we all the money we needed for Stanley’s important surgery. However, when I took Stanley to the oral surgeon the veterinarian suggested, we were told he was fine. They gave us toothbrush and sent us on our way. My family and I knew that something was truly wrong with Stanley, so we went searching for help elsewhere.


Stanley gets a much needed cleft palate surgery.

I took Stanley to a place called Blue Pearl, where three surgeons took a look at him and said he needed surgery. Stanley’s teeth were turning inward, his bone in the front of his mouth had rotated 90% and he had a hole in his mouth big enough for a pencil to go up. Stanley needed some very expensive help, and we told the clinic that all we had was the donation money we had raised. After discussing the mission that Stanley was on- helping children learn about acceptance- the three surgeons and the owner of Blue Pearl agreed to do Stanley’s surgery for FREE. That way we could use the money we had raised to help another animal in need.


Stanley poses with officials for a photo opportunity.

After his big surgery, Stanley began his new life of being a healthy little English Bulldog puppy, but this was not the stopping point… now Stanley was going to help those like him. First, we took Stanley to the mayor of Smithville, MO and asked for help in raising awareness for animals like Stanley. The mayor was very kind and let Stanley come to the city counsel meetings. After voting, Stanley had a local proclamation passed for “Stand Up For Stanley Day,” an awareness day for animals with cleft lips and palates. Next, we wrote the governor of Missouri and he passed a state proclamation for “Stand Up For Stanley” and we are now scheduled to see him in person for an official ceremony. Currently, we are working on to get through on a national level with the help of a senator.


Stanley showing off his official paperwork.

When I taught school I brought Stanley with me to teach about acceptance, and now I bring him to other schools to teach kids that it is alright to be different. By doing this, we can help overcome and overshadow bullying with acceptance. Today we also reach out to the community by doing community service. Together, Stanley and I show the public that animals like him do exist and are of value. Now we are helping Stanley to take his initial mission one step further. We love helping those in the United States, but as of today we are even able to help those in other countries. Our little Stanley is now the ambassador of the Smile Train, a charitable organization that was developed to help children with cleft lips and palates. Through Smile Train, Stanley raises money for children who have medical issues like him to have much needed medical procedures. He also brings comfort to children waiting to have surgery, or going through surgery. Folks are even sponsoring the adoption of a Stanley ll dog, so hopefully when the chance arises we can rehabilitate and help another pup in need.

Thanks to Deborah and Stanley, people all around the world are able to afford life changing surgeries they otherwise would never receive. Children in schools all around Missouri and America are learning about acceptance through educational talks and meetings with Stanley. All this through the efforts of one family, one woman, and one dog who are truly dedicated to their cause. If you have a story you’d like to share, send it to us at info@houstonpettalk.com.