Carlo came to his family when he was just 8-weeks-old, joining his one year older brother Cosmo, also an Old English Sheepdog. Unfortunately, their time in life together was short-lived. Cosmo died much too young due to lung cancer. Instead of grieving himself to death, his mom told us that strong, sweet Carlo assumed all of his older brother’s duties, like howling at passing sirens and patrolling the house before bedtime.
It was shortly thereafter that Carlo’s family discovered that he had a heart condition – Mitral Valve Endocardiosis, which is where the mitral valve is deformed and causes the heart to enlarge and pump inefficiently. There is no cure for this chronic, inherited disease – pets must be monitored closely by a cardiologist and given medication to help manage the condition. Luckily, Carlo’s family was able to provide him with this care. That is, until something awful happened.
The following summer, tragedy struck Carlo’s family again. His mom suffered a stroke that left her with difficulty walking or using her right arm. She could no longer work at her job as a counselor, and had to learn to live off of disability.
Carlo became her nurse/caretaker. When she would stumble through the house, he stayed right by her side, slowly keeping pace. When she went to the bathroom, he would wait right outside the bathroom door, and when she came out he would escort her back to bed. He would lie on the bed beside her until she was ready to get up again.
Soon, Carlo ran out of his heart medication. His mom needed to get him to the cardiologist for a re-check echocardiogram so that he could get back on his medication, or he faced uncomfortable and potentially dangerous progression of his disease. The only problem was that Carlo’s mom couldn’t afford his care anymore.
That’s when Carlo’s mom and her boyfriend found The Big Hearts Fund online. In January, 2013, BHF was able to grant Carlo and his family enough to get him back to the cardiologist and on the medications he needs to continue living a comfortable life with heart disease.