Clefford the Dog Has Cleft Palate Surgery and Is on the Road to Recovery

Owner Will Stoltenberg obtained the rescue pup from a shelter, where he lived for three months

By Holly Passalaqua, Corinne Heller Sep 21, 2017 9:47 PMTags
Clefford the DogWill Stoltenberg

What a GOOD BOY.

Will Stoltenberg had posted on Reddit this week a before and after photo of his new rescue puppy Clefford, a pit bull mix who had recently undergone surgery to fix a cleft palate. The procedure was done at the Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston.

"Clefford was in the shelter for at least three months," Stoltenberg told E! News exclusively. "I was drawn to him because I wanted to be able to help him overcome his 'disability.' I wanted to show him that the world is filled with fun and possibility. To be able to be the person that provides a great life to such a special pup was important to me."

"The surgery happened before I was able to adopt him but the little guy needed it," he said. "As I understand it, he could have had major infections. His cleft palate went all the way into his nasal passages. He could have gotten an infection in his lungs. Frankly he was lucky to survive puppyhood as the cleft can cause problems in nursing." 

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Will Stoltenberg
Will Stoltenberg
Will Stoltenberg

Stoltenberg said Clefford is slowly recovering from the procedure. In his after photos, the dog chills out while wearing a cone of shame.

"He is right now not able to play or go for walks so it's just a lot of sleeping for him," he said. "He has one more surgery still coming up to remove some teeth so he will be resting it off for another couple weeks, unfortunately."

"Since the surgery Clefford has really taken to his new home," he said. "He seems much more playful and affectionate now that he has a calmer, more open home."

And when he is fully healed, Clefford will have an important job to do.

"With his future as a service dog, I expect he will continue to change and feel the better for it!" Stoltenberg said.

"As a message to potential dog owners I have this to say," he added. "No dog is a bad dog. They all have they're unique qualities both good and slightly frustrating. but if you treat a dog right any one of them will love you in return regardless of breed."

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