On your birthday, you are typically met with the usual cake, presents, hugs, memory lane conversations and possibly balloons. Sometimes, those presents include that book you've been meaning to read, or a sentimental gift reminiscing the memories you share with your significant other or best friend. Sometimes, it's just a gift card to your favorite store. I'm pretty sure, the older you get the less exciting gifts become. But remember when you were a kid? Remember how you wished for that puppy or that pony for your birthday? Well, this woman received a pup for her birthday, but not in the happiest of circumstances. For this woman’s 30th birthday, she was met with a dying pup. And it was a life changing experience – for the both of them. Meet Bronson, the Lab pup, and Kaffe Kalle, his rescuer.
15 A Birthday Surprise
On April 25, 2015, veterinarian and Reddit/Imgur user, KaffeKalle, arrived at work as if it were any other day. Except it wasn’t. Today actually happened to be her 30th birthday. And the day she saved a life. A chocolate lab had just undergone a c-section and delivered 9 precious puppies. One of those puppies happened to be more precious than the rest. He, a ball of chocolate brown fur, had a cleft palate and the owners of the dog decided it would be best if the puppy were euthanized. That’s when KaffeKalle stepped in. She couldn’t let the poor dog die and asked if she could foster the puppy. Fortunately, the family agreed. And that is when the journey began. A journey that would, by no means, be easy, but a journey that would indeed be transforming – for both Kaffe and the chocolate lab pup. It was the best birthday surprise anyone could wish for.
14 Bringing Home Baby
"He was really cute," says Kaffe. So tiny, so precious and so dependent. If it hadn’t been for Kaffe, this pup would not be here today. He would have been put to sleep, disposed of as easily as a paper napkin. Luckily, that didn’t happen. He had been given a second chance at life and now, Kaffe was taking him home where she would provide him with all the love, care and attention he craved. Looking after a puppy is not easy to begin with, but looking after a sick puppy is a thousand times harder and requires a great deal of hard work, patience and persistence. But Kaffe wasn’t sure how long the little chocolate puppy would live. At such a tender age and with such a concerning health issue, things didn’t look too bright. Nevertheless, she would make sure his remaining days, weeks, or months would be happy ones, full of love and comfort.
13 An Acquaintance with Quinn the Cat
When Kaffe and the pup arrived at home, she introduced him to her cat, Quinn. Quinn walked over to the tiny squealing pup standing amongst rolled up towels in his carrier case and eyed him curiously. Then, very gently, she patted the tiny puppy on his back, as if to introduce herself. She could probably tell that the pup was distressed because of the piercing squeals. It’s funny how well animals can empathize with each other. They seem to be able to sense even another species’ pain. Quinn seemed quite fond of the new addition to the family and it broke Kaffe’s heart when she told her that he probably wouldn’t live more than a couple of weeks, if that. As hard as it was, Kaffe tried her best to inject lots of joy and happiness into his life before his time came. As bleak as his chances were, deep down, she hoped he would make it and in many ways, she knew he would.
12 Cleft Palate Calamity
By now you’re probably wondering, "what is a cleft palate?" and "how serious is it?" Well, a cleft palate is an irregular opening in the roof of the mouth which can affect breathing and eating in dogs (and even humans). In severe cases, the space in the roof of their mouth prevents puppies from suckling properly and leads to starvation. Genetics are to blame for this misfortune. And Labrador retrievers, like this pup, are one of the most common breeds to inherit a cleft palate. All Kaffe could do was hope that this little chocolate bean’s fate would change so that he could stay with her – and Quinn – forever. She was doing everything she could but it wasn’t always easy. Especially because she wasn’t his real mother. And newborn pups, like newborn babies, need their mothers more than anything. All Kaffe could do was try to be the mother this poor little pup didn’t have.
11 Missing Mom
This poor little pup came into the world not knowing he was the result of bad, unfair genetics. All he knew was he was hungry and he wanted his mother. Because he didn’t have his real mother, he quickly latched on to his binky. And that seemed to work quite well for him. Playing mother to a different species and one that is sick is no walk in the park. Kaffe was waking up every 1-2 hours every day to tube-feed this little boy who needed her more than anything. Using a rubber tube and syringing puppy milk replacer, Kaffe fed her little chocolate pup all the food he needed to make him strong and healthy. While she was always aware from the start that he might not live, now she growing more and more convinced that he would. She even took him to work with her to make sure he got his feeds.
10 Meet Bronson
Kaffe decided not to name the pup she saved from euthanization because she knew he was on borrowed time. The right name just never seemed to come along, which is why he remained known as her "chocolate pup." He really was as sweet as chocolate. But by the time he reached three weeks old, a week older than she expected him to live, Kaffe realized he was a fighter. This pup wasn’t going to curl up and die. He wanted to live and he was going to live – she knew it. He even screamed for his feeds and came barging out of his kennel with his tiny stubby legs anytime he got hungry. That’s when the perfect name came to her: Bronson. As in her favorite Tom Hardy role, Bronson. Instead of being known simply as the "chocolate pup," he was now known as Bronson, the fighter. And from there, he kept on fighting.
9 A New World
At five weeks old, Bronson’s eyes and ears were fully open to all of the world’s sights, sounds, and tastes. Destined to live only until two weeks at the latest, Bronson was three weeks overdue and frankly, it didn’t look like he was going anywhere. As each day passed by, he just got stronger and stronger. He also ditched his beloved binky for Kaffe’s fingers, a trait many cleft palate puppies carry with them till adulthood. So instead of being attached to his binky, he is now attached to Kaffe’s fingers. Bronson seemed to be quite happy with his life and he loved being able to see things and hear things. It was almost like a new world for this pup. Once known to many as the "dying pup," he wasn’t dying anymore. He looked flourishing and as long as fate played fairly, he would continue to flourish throughout his life.
Bronson no longer resembles that sick little pup that first arrived in Kaffe’s house several weeks ago. He is growing all the time and looking quite on the chubby side, just as healthy pups should. According to Kaffe, he’s "running around the house like a madman." That’s why she bought him a superman t-shirt: to watch him fly around the house. It really suits him. Like all pups, he’s energetic, curious and very naughty. He’s thriving and Kaffe couldn’t be happier. Sometimes she calls him "Chocolate thunder," because he’s so strong right now, stronger than ever before, and he just keeps on getting stronger. He’s really settled into his home and loves Kaffe more than anything. The same, however, cannot be said between Quinn and Bronson. They seem to have a love-hate relationship now... but mostly hate. They don’t get on very well, unfortunately. But deep down, they secretly love each other.
7 He’s Everyone’s Favorite Pup
Everybody at Kaffe’s work loves Bronson. He’s everyone’s favorite puppy. And who can blame them? He is adorable! And look how far he has come. He’s no longer that little bundle of chocolate fluff wrapped up in a blanket, nearing death’s door. Now, Bronson is a strong, sociable and happy pup. His only flaw? "Terrible, terrible manners," says Kaffe. He’s also becoming obsessed with putting things in his mouth – literally everything. He’s definitely a curious one. To be honest, he doesn’t seem any different to any other pup his age. He’s doing remarkably well and you would not see a happier looking dog than Bronson. He’s thriving every day. Many people may have thought that he didn’t have a chance, that he wouldn’t make it, but he did. Bronson is a real-life hero! And so is Kaffe. Her 30th Birthday really was the beginning of something beautiful. A beautiful friendship.
6 A Therapy Pup
When Kaffe met Bronson on her 30th Birthday, it really was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. Together, they faced heartache, struggles, pain, joy, love, worry, and lots and lots of happiness. They both grew incredibly attached to one another and Kaffe soon realized that Bronson made each day so much better. He had become almost like a therapy dog, she said. And though he cannot say it for himself, it’s clear to see that Bronson felt the same way about Kaffe. Both of them made each other’s days better and brighter and hopeful. And who doesn’t want that in life? We all want someone who will listen to us, understand us and make our days better. Dogs are particularly great at providing you with that unconditional love we all secretly crave. If you have a dog, you will know exactly what we mean. Dogs are just the best and they deserve to be treated accordingly.
5 He Just Keeps on Growing
Just as his body kept on growing, so did his face and in doing so, his palate grew longer and closer. Kaffe kept pestering the surgeon but she kept being told the same thing: to wait. Meanwhile, she was trying to decide when to stop the tube feedings and start dry food. By this point, Bronson had already been sedated a few times for getting stuff stuck in his cleft. Those things happened to be an ear plug, desert tortoise and kitty litter – what a typical Lab! Like any normal parent, Kaffe became quite obsessed with his health and would continually have her hands in his mouth, trying to pull out whatever he’s got his jaws on. She didn’t want him to have to be sedated again simply for them to remove whatever rubbish he’d found around the house to chew on. Thanks to the girls at work buying him a baby pool, Bronson became obsessed with something else: water.
4 He’s Everywhere She Goes
Everywhere Kaffe goes, Bronson goes. Literally! From the bath to the toilet, he follows her pretty much everywhere. He also goes the gym with her and, like said before, to work with her. Everybody loves him and he knows it! Dogs are such loyal animals and it’s easy to see why so many of us are so besotted with our canine companions. They are everything to us. Well, it’s the same for Kaffe. She just adores Bronson and by the way he follows her around everywhere, it’s easy to see that the feeling is mutual. Although she did have to put an abrupt end to her daily bubble baths as Bronson, with his habit of eating everything in sight, started trying to eat the bubbles. He doesn’t, however, seem too keen on her 4am gym sessions and you can see from the picture above that those gym sessions really tired him out.
3 Bronson’s 1st Birthday
Today was a special day. It was Bronson’s 1st birthday, Kaffe’s 31st birthday and a year since they’d first found one another. It was also the day that Bronson was having surgery. Kaffe said she was a ‘’nervous wreck but excited that this hard year was coming to a close.’’ What a year it had been. So many emotions, so many events, so many things to take in. It certainly hadn’t been easy. From today, Bronson was going to finally start living a normal life, the life he deserved. He would no longer have to put up with that defect that had almost cost him his life a year back. He was on his way to living a normal life, one that would be pain-free. It was daunting and exciting and unbelievable all at the same time. Kaffe, in addition to all of Bronson’s other admirers, kept their fingers crossed throughout the procedure.
2 Surgery Success
To put it in a simple, non-technical way, the surgeon was going to lift the skin from one side, flip it to the next, tuck it and stitch it. Obviously it’s more complex than that but generally, that what’s happening. Finally, after a year of suffering, Bronson was having the treatment he needed and the treatment that would change his life forever. He’d reached 1 years of age, even though it was said he’d only live for two weeks max. Bronson could take on anything. He was a living miracle. And just as everyone had expected, Bronson got through the surgery with flying colors. The surgery was a success. The tissue would take a while to heal but once it is completely healed, Bronson is free to play with his toys, swim in lakes, chew on raw hides and carry sticks, just like any other dog. Essentially, he’d live the rest of his life as a normal lab dog.
1 A Happy Dog with a Happy Ending
Today, Bronson is one of the happiest dogs you will meet. He lives with Harley, his 10-year-old border collie brother and Layla, his 12-year-old pit bull sister, and of course, Kaffe, the woman who refused to let him die, who gave him a second chance at life, and who, ultimately, saved his life. The bond between these two will never be any less solid than metal. They adore each other. Kaffe made such a difference to this dog’s life and if it hadn’t been for her, Bronson would not be with us today. He would not be playing with his toys, swimming in the lake or chewing his raw hide. Yes, it’s been hard work. Especially at the beginning, looking after a severely sick pup destined not to live, is not easy. But she did it. Kaffe saved that little ball of chocolate fluff and now he’s the happiest, strongest, most normal dog in the world.