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Mild mannered Mavis battles against the odds

When an animal comes into our care, we often don’t know exactly what they have gone through beforehand, so we are always ready to expect the unexpected. For Mavis, a little Jack Russell Terrier, this was certainly the case.

NAWT Clacton took in Mavis when she wasn’t claimed from the stray pound. A skinny and nervous little girl, she was in need of a good meal and a bath. Despite her nerves, Mavis was a loving girl, thought to be about 9 years old. One of the centre’s regular volunteers, Steve, took an immediate shine to her.

Mavis’s initial health check with the vet went well, with nothing unusual found, so her neuter appointment was set for the following week. During this routine operation, they discovered Mavis had a very small womb with lots of lesions, unlike anything they had seen before. Although unusual, it wasn’t thought to be something that would cause Mavis problems.

However, what happened next did give everyone cause for concern. Despite coming round from her neuter anaesthesia quite well initially, the vet noticed her breathing wasn’t right and so quickly took x-rays to see what the problem was. They discovered that Mavis was experiencing heart failure. The next few hours were critical for this little girl.

The team waited on tenterhooks to hear how Mavis was doing, hoping she would pull through. Just before the end of the day, they got a call to say her condition had deteriorated, she wasn’t expected to recover and it would be kindest to put Mavis out of her suffering. 

Animal Carer, Stacey, went to the practice prepared for the worst and ready to be with Mavis at the end. But as quickly as Mavis’s health had gone downhill, she suddenly turned a corner and her breathing unexpectedly started to improve. This tough little lady stayed with the vets overnight and by the next day was much better.

Mavis was diagnosed with a heart murmur thought to be around a grade four, most murmurs that cause serious problems are at least a grade three. She was going to have to take medication for the rest of her life and that life may be limited.

On hearing this news, the volunteer who had taken a shine to Mavis knew that he wanted to give her a chance at a happy life with his family, no matter how short that might be.

Steve explained, “I didn’t want Mavis to stay in kennels, not with a life-limiting disease. I worried that others might overlook her because of medication costs and the thought of becoming bonded with Mavis and then potentially losing her after only a short time.”

Happily, we can tell you that Mavis was adopted and almost a year later is still part of Steve’s family. Her confidence has grown, although she doesn’t like cupboards or closed doors – likely to be the result of past traumas. Mavis is now a healthy weight and her breathing is much easier. She has a few short walks a day rather than one long one, which is better for her heart. She’s on two different types of medication – one for the murmur and one to prevent any build-up of fluid in her body, which can happen with a dodgy ticker.

Steve doesn’t begrudge the £60 a month it costs to keep Mavis healthy. She repays him with love, zoomies around the garden, cuddles and the constant admiring glances and comments from all those who see her out on walks and think she’s just the most gorgeous girl.

The £800 for Mavis’s veterinary treatment during the month she was in our care was unavoidable in order to save her life. We were only able to make sure we gave Mavis a fighting chance thanks to the generosity of people like you. Supporting NAWT with a regular donation or by remembering NAWT your Will makes all the difference to the lives of dogs like Mavis, now able to live out her remaining years well cared for, loved and content. Your support is crucial to our future and the animals we help.

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