Heartbroken girl with rare disorder as ‘therapy’ dog is mysteriously paralyzed

Nine-year-old Ava was gifted a French bulldog puppy during the Covid-19 lockdown – but may have to say goodbye to her ‘best friend’ after it became paralyzed

Ava walking her French bulldog Poppy

A nine-year-old girl has been left heartbroken after her dog could no longer walk after developing a mystery condition overnight.

Young owner Ava Davies, from Walsall, West Midlands, was diagnosed with DiGeorge syndrome, a condition present from birth that causes a range of lifelong problems, including heart defects.

Brave Ava underwent open-heart surgery at just three-days-old at Birmingham Children’s Hospital before being diagnosed with the rare condition which impacts just 1 in 4,000 births.

Struggling with the isolation that came with the Covid-19 lockdown, mum Emily decided to surprise her daughter with her own puppy.

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Poppy became paralyzed overnight


Samantha Davis)

Poppy, a French bulldog, was brought into their lives to provide Ava with someone else to speak to and snuggle up with on an evening.

But as the country returns to its ‘new normal’, Ava’s newfound security in Poppy has been shattered, as the one-year-old dog might have to be put down after developing a mystery condition.

Emily said: “In 2020, after isolating for many months with my extremely clinically vulnerable daughter, I decided to get Ava a puppy – and into our life bounded Poppy.

“From the moment Ava and Poppy met it was true love. They are inseparable, play together and love each other dearly.

“Ava suffers dreadfully from anxiety. She now snuggles on the settee with Poppy and tells her all her worries. Since having Poppy, Ava’s life has been transformed.

Her family cannot cover the costs of her additional vet treatments


Samantha Davis)

Poppy might have to be put down if the family do not raise £6,000


Samantha Davis)

“Poppy’s back legs became completely paralyzed out of the blue. We rushed Poppy to an emergency vet who kept her overnight. Ava was distraught to be separated from her best friend.”

Poppy now needs to undergo an MRI scan to access her problems – but the family’s insurance doesn’t cover her further scans or treatment.

“Without the scan, the vet has said we will have to let Poppy go. Poppy is only aged one and Ava loves her so much it would break her heart,” Emily added.

In an attempt to raise money for Poppy’s treatment, Emily’s sister, Chloe, has set up a GoFundMe page called ‘Save Poppy’.

Grandmother Samantha said: “We are so grateful to the people who have been so kind to donate and have raised just over £500 so far.

“However we still don’t have enough to pay for the MRI and further surgery which will cost thousands.

“Poppy is so much more than a pet to Ava, she is almost like a therapy dog ​​- and as Ava says ‘my sister and best friend’.”

There’s currently no cure for DiGeorge syndrome, meaning children and adults with the condition have to undergo close monitoring to check for problems throughout their lives.

An NHS statement reads: “DiGeorge syndrome is caused by a problem called 22q11 deletion. This is where a small piece of genetic material is missing from a person’s DNA.

“In about 9 in 10 cases (90%), the bit of DNA was missing from the egg or sperm that led to the pregnancy. This can happen by chance when sperm and eggs are made. It is not a result of anything you did before or during the pregnancy.

“In these cases, there’s usually no family history of DiGeorge syndrome and the risk of it happening again to other children is very small.

“In around 1 in 10 cases (10%), the 22q11 deletion is passed on to a child by a parent who has DiGeorge syndrome, although they may not realize they have it if it’s mild.”

To help save Poppy, visit the family’s GoFundMe page.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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