Given how many Pinoys abandon pets who are ill, 23-year-old Coleen Sarte is a sterling exception. She personally administers therapy to her dog, who suffers Swimmer Puppy Syndrome (pectus excavatum). This means Mercy was born with a flat chest and abdomen, which prevents her from standing or walking—those like her can only get around by flailing their limbs in a swimming motion, hence the name of the condition.
Coleen first noticed the problem two weeks after her Shih Tzu gave birth. Mercy could not bend her hind legs, pulling herself along as best she could. Then she suddenly stopped nursing and just lay there, listless. When the vet told Coleen it was a congenital problem, she realized that Mercy would need special care for her entire life. It didn’t help when a sibling accidentally poked Mercy in the eye and damaged it so badly, even the vet thought Mercy would be blind in that eye. She was also the runt of the litter, only receiving her vaccinations at three months of age because she was underweight for her age. Despite all this, Mercy recovered—regaining the sight in the injured eye with just some scarring— and became very cheerful and sweet.
Today, Mercy is very active despite her condition and size. Coleen continues to try and help Mercy learn how to walk, taking her into the sun every day and purchasing vitamins to help give the little one a fighting chance.
And from the looks of it, this little stalwart heart may just win her fight.