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How Dumpling the Labrador Found Her Happily Ever After

The Petbarn Foundation and its work with the Labrador Rescue group are receiving a lot of attention for their efforts in finding social media rising star Dumpling the Dog a new home.

Back in 2019, Dumpling was abandoned at a pound on the Gold Coast after being mercilessly used as a backyard breeding dog for years. She was ten years old, blind and weighed in at almost 50kg... 

Labrador Rescue took her in and she was looked after by her foster carer, Ashleigh Murphy from Petbarn Arundel. Ashleigh brought Dumpling to Greencross Vets Helensvale where local veterinarian, Dr Pieter Theron, discovered a lot of pressure behind both of Dumpling’s eyes, which was causing her a lot of pain.

Dr Pieter Theron explains "Dumpling suffered from bilateral glaucoma, a build up in pressure within the eye, which is painful and leads to a decline in vision; the onset of decline is dependent on the amount of pressure experienced in the eye/s.
Greencross Vets Helensvale Dr Pieter Theron explains the importance of weight management to Sasha (also Labrador Rescue)

The eyes have their own amazing filtration of fluid (nutrients), a specialised plumping system if you like and in her case the movement of fluid in and out of the eye was impaired resulting in an increase in pressure, which in turn damaged the delicate tissue responsible for vision whilst causing ongoing pain. 

In Dumpling's case, it is rather difficult to know what the initial cause for her blocked plumping was but I have a theory of the potential causes: poor diet, obesity, a genetic element and a high probability of trauma or inflammation in the eyes likely all led to her eye disease: 'a perfect storm'.

Dumpling presented with pressure in her eyes at 4 to 6 times over the normal upper limit and as a result, she also had evidence of lens luxation. especially prominent in her right eye. Her right eye pressure was 1.5x more than the left eye and the delicate lens in the right eye had prolapsed or luxated (forced out of its natural position) which also added to her pain and discomfort not to mention the luxated lens now out of its natural position added to the blocked plumping and was likely why her right eye's pressure was greater then her left.

Both eyes had evidence of advanced (mature) cataracts - opacity over the lens and this may have been the initial problem which caused a cascade of problems within the eyes. 

Her cataracts may have been caused by a genetic element but dogs can get this from a variety of conditions the most common being sugar diabetes (not in Dumpling's case).

I also think her obesity didn't help at all as the lens requires high quality nutrients and the eyes are known to be barometer of health

I would probable say that in Dumplings case her ocular issues were likely due to a perfect storm: a genetic element, a poor diet, a few bumps to the head (possible abuse) and inflammation and a lack of adequate access to veterinary care all created the optimal conditions for her eye disease.

Due to her advanced state of eye disease (poor vision and ongoing pain) medical management was not a suitable long term option and fortunately we had the opportunity to help. 
Both Greencross Vets and Labrador Rescue decided that the best option was to remove both her eyes so Dumpling could have a pain-free second chance.

A bilateral enucleation (removal of both eyes) surgery was performed. Dumpling had a very tricky anaesthetic and was not very keen on breathing by herself but luckily our dedicated anaesthetic nurse was able to do that for her. *Fat dogs have a higher anaesthetic risk and often get 'lazy' in breathing under general anaesthetic.

Her recovery process required an elizabethan collar (cone of shame) to stop her from scratching at her sutures, a confined and safe space for recovery, pain medications and anti-inflammatories, regular post operative checks but most importantly a lot of love, patience and attention.

Dumpling has since recovered, losing a whopping 13 kg, and she was listed for adoption on Labrador Rescue’s Facebook page to find her fur-ever home: that post received over 100 comments within its first hour! 

In fact, she’s become somewhat of a social media star on the Labrador Rescue Facebook page, helping with their fundraising efforts. And we're happy to report all this social 
media attention has paid off for Dumpling.

After a whopping 63 applic
ations from potential families, Dumpling’s carer Ashleigh decided the Ingebrigtsen family were the lucky ones. Dumpling’s new dog mum Debbie and dog dad Craig Ingebrigtsen welcomed the adorable 10-year-old in with open arms and she's currently on her 2-week trial with her new family.

Her foster carer Ashley Murphy was delighted to share her latest news with us.

"Dumpling was a little stressed at the start but (Dr) Pete and I hung around for a couple of hours so she had familiar people around. 

Once Dumpling was settled in, Pete and I left. It has been almost a week now at her new home and she’s been great. 

She follows her new Labrador brother Bobby around like a shadow, and when they nap she always has to touch him. 

Dumpling has already made herself at home, sleeping on the couch, hanging around the kitchen whilst her new parents cook, just in case they drop some scraps!

Her favourite part is when her new parents have their young grandkids come to visit as they leave lots of crumbs around for her to eat. 
Dumpling is enjoying her new home and they treat her like the queen she is. Every morning, Dumpling, Bobby and her parents go for a coffee run as their new family routine. Dumpling loves her walks and all her treats." shares Ashley.

Dumpling's uplifting story shows that every dog is deserving of their happily ever after.

Ten Petbarn stores across the Gold Coast raised money towards Petbarn Foundation’s annual Tree of Hope fundraising appeal, with 25% of the proceeds donated to Labrador Rescue, covering all of Dumpling’s vet costs including eye surgery.

About the Petbarn Foundation:

Petbarn Foundation is offering support to organisations who are helping animals affected by the bushfires, by providing over $1.2 million to these charities. The donation is a combination of funds, food and supplies for evacuation centres in emergency sites and vets volunteering their time. The Petbarn Foundation has been providing support for rescue organisations and pet related charities since it was launched in 2012.

Donations are also accepted at all Petbarn stores, Greencross Vets, City Farmers, Animal Emergency Centres, and online at

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