Lucky is the product of a backyard breeder, and when all of his siblings died from numerous health problems, it seemed that the albino runt of the litter would, too. But miraculously, he made it, and despite his own health problems, thrived. And now he’s rocking some natty goggles to protect his sensitive eye from the sun.
“A girl went on a Facebook group and said that her neighbor’s dog had puppies, the mom was dead and she didn’t know what to do,” animal rescuer Clanay Reza told The Dodo.
Having bottle fed puppies before, she felt she could be their best chance to survive, and offered to drive to LA from her home in Riverside, California to pick up the three-day-old pups, but the breeder was adamant that he would bring them to her.
The four babies were little, but it wasn’t until they were in respiratory distress and coughing up blood that Reza knew they were in serious trouble. She rushed them to a vet, who administered fluids and oxygen, and extracted ticks from their tiny bodies.
“They were basically hanging onto their last breaths,” Reza recalled.
One of them died at the clinic, and two more died over the next two days. Lucky was alone, but Reza was determined to do everything she could to keep him alive.
“He was so small, and he was having shallow breaths. But he survived, and I was so shocked. He was a little fighter.”
For several weeks, Lucky’s health was very touch and go, but little by little, he improved. When he was a little more than two weeks old, he opened his eyes to reveal a terribly infected right eye, which needed to be removed.
But with the exception of issues relating to his albinism, that seemed to be the last of his major health problems, fortunately, and it was because he was under Reza’s care that he survived at all.
“I always tend to fall for the dogs who are the sickest or the weakest or the dogs that nobody wants, because they end up being like the best dogs ever,” she confessed. “And there was something about Lucky that I gravitated toward.”
Now he enjoys life just like any other dog. But because his remaining eye is so sensitive to sunlight, Reza had him fitted with some protective goggles, which sharply contrast with his ivory-colored fur and his impossibly pink nose.
“Lucky loves to just play. He’ll run around in circles outside when we check the mail,” Reza said. “I try to limit the exposure outside, because [the vet] said he’s more at risk of skin cancers. But he can’t help it – he just loves it. He’ll go outside with his goggles and sunblock, and he just loves hearing things and just watching the cars go by.
“What I love most is that even though he has no eye now, and he’s constantly sick, he doesn’t let that get him down. He’s just the happiest little dog… He brightens up everybody’s day, wherever he goes. People just smile when they see him. They could be having the worst day ever, and they’ll just look at him and become so happy.”
“I’ve seen special needs dogs before, and I’ve always loved them, but I’ve never had them. It’s just a different bond that you have with them, and it would be really different,” Reza said. “With Lucky, it just shows me that you can be different, and have all these issues, but you could still be a happy and loving dog.”