Luna Elizabeth Lovegood Finch

Meet our newest family member, Luna Elizabeth Lovegood Finch!


Luna and Her Shaved Tummy with Abby

Luna was rescued by the Nebraska Humane Society from a home with an adult West Highland White Terrier and adult Chihuahua and several litters of puppies of different ages.

She was adopted out to a family and soon became very ill with what was most likely hepatic encephalopathy – a condition in which the liver is not clearing toxins well and the toxins cause illness that can be life-threatening. She was treated at Animal Emergency Clinic, where they discovered her liver issue and saved her life with their medical care.

Because of her probable poor long term prognosis, she was relinguished back to Nebraska Humane Society with the agreement that if she had a correctable or treatable condition, the Nebraska Humane Society would finance and direct her treatment and readopt her to the same family that first adopted her.

Often when Nebraska Humane Society has a complex medical or surgical case, Gentle Doctor Animal Hospitals is brought in to help. I am SO proud of that, although all I have really done is be smart enough to work for Dr. Bashara!

Luna was one of these special cases. She had sky-high liver values and bile acid values (a measure of liver function). The veterinarian who saw her with her first family worked with them and together they contributed to her becoming stabilized and surviving her medical crisis.

She came to Gentle Doctor Animal Hospitals to be assessed and to have an ultrasound with Dr. Krapfl. When liver values are so far out of balance in a young, small breed puppy, what we suspect most highly is a liver shunt. A shunt was not found, and it was sadly determined that she most likely had a condition that could not be surgically fixed. The original adoptive family and the Nebraska Humane Society medical team, in an effort to spare the children of the family heartbreak and the puppy suffering, wisely decided to have the puppy euthanized.

I had done the puppy’s initial intake and medical care, and knowing at the time she had a family to be readopted to and a suspected surgically correctable condition, I figured it was “safe” to let my daughters meet the puppy, and we spent an hour playing with her that first night.

The next day, the day of the puppy’s ultrasound, was my day off.

I recieved medical updates and the final decision to have the puppy euthanized in a series of several emails from Dr. Bashara and the doctors at Nebraska Humane Society, all of which came at once in the late afternoon.

I sat on the bed and bawled.

Russ came to check on me, and I may have yelled something like, “I take one day off and puppies DIE!” Probably suspecting this was not a complete or even an accurate statement, Russ sat down on the bed next to me and gently took my phone out of my hand.

He looked up after reading through all of the emails and said, “Couldn’t we take her?”

Still in complete despair mode, I said “She’s probably DEAD!”

I called Jan. Of course she was not dead. Dr. Thomassen said she would not euthanize the puppy unless she knew it was an absolute 100% decision agreed upon by everyone. And she thought maybe Milo would like a friend…Dr. Bashara and Dr. Krapfl were getting ready to call me. I would guess they did not want to get the full on emotional collapse that Russ had to deal with, sadly, not for the first time. (Sorry, Russ!)

So guess what?

We accidentally adopted a puppy!


Luna Meeting Mom and Dad Nelson

I talked with the Mom of the first adoptive family to make sure that was okay with her. It was. I talked with Jared and Dr. Horn and Dr. Farrington of Nebraska Humane Society, and they were thrilled at such a happier outcome. I talked with Dr. Bashara and Dr. Krapfl. They – I gather – thought I was a little nuts to adopt a broken puppy, but I think they understood. We are vets. It is what we do.


Luna with My Friend Jordan and Her Dog Sandy

I talked with my daughters. Other than the pup herself, Amanda and Abby were the ones I most of all did not want to be hurt. Adopting a puppy with an unspecified liver disorder is one of the best ways that I can imagine to ensure heartbreak. I told them we were adopting a puppy we knew was sick. I said that I did not know what was wrong yet, but her lifespan may be shorter than other dogs, possibly much shorter. They had already fallen as hard as Russ and I had, and there was no doubt in their minds that this puppy was meant to be a Finch.

I wanted to name her something like Grace or Hope (because we have Joy!) or a food name to go with Noodle. The girls were not having it. They wanted to name her after some You Tube star whose name I could neither pronounce nor remember. On the way home with the puppy in my lap, I said to Russ, “She’s blond.”


“She’s really sweet.”


“She’s pretty spacy.” (To her credit, she was still recovering from a very severe case of hepatic encephalopathy, and has since proved much sharper than when we first met.)

I got out of the truck in our front yard with our new puppy in my arms and said to the girls waiting on the lawn, “Let’s name her Luna Lovegood.”

Finch - Luna LovegoodOne of My (Our) Very Favorite Harry Potter Characters

They both cheered, and we had our name.

Dr. Byers of Midwest Veterinary Specialists helped me through those first overwhelming weeks of feeding her. (How do you feed a growing puppy with liver issues the right amount of protein, not to mention every other nutrient, micronutrient and vitamin in balance?? You ask Dr. Byers!), medicating her and planning the next steps of her medical plan.

At Dr. Byer’s direction, we had her Protein C level tested. (Should I have known dogs have a protein C? Yes! Did I? No!) Results confirmed that Luna most likely did not have a shunt – good news! But…what was making her liver values so high and what had made her so sick? We still planned on a CT Scan with Dr. Byers and probable liver biopsy surgery with Dr. Thoesen.

Meanwhile, she had recovered beautifully, and no longer had signs of illness.


Soon After We Adopted Luna, Jordan Adopted Mustique, and They Are Great Friends!


Luna and Mustique – They Truely Were Playing!

Our next step of diagnostics was a simple liver blood panel. After that we would rerun bile acids then have her seen by the specialists.


The liver blood panel came back completely normal!! Normal! We all celebrated and decided together that our next step would be…nothing. Or benign neglect if you prefer. I think that sounds worse, so I will say we did nothing.

We weaned Luna off her medications. We transitioned her to completely puppy food.


The Green Spot Got Us Set Up for Everything Puppy – Thank You Green Spot Team!


We Love This Store and Everything the People of Green Spot Do for the Pets of Omaha!!

And now the veterinarian me gets to ponder what in the world happened. Here are my two guesses…

1) Knowing Luna now, it is highly probable that she ingested something she should not have, causing her extreme illness and liver issues.

2) Knowing the very first place she lived – the home from which the Nebraska Humane Society team rescued her – had more dogs and puppies than fit well in the space and that she was most likely NOT potty trained even a little, it is also probable she ingested some urine at some point in her young life.

So my two top differentials (guesses) are 1) a liver toxin from which she has recovered or 2) leptospirosis from which she has recovered.

I asked Dr. Horn, I asked Russ (several times), I asked Dr. Thomassen and my other friends at work, “Now that we know she is not broken, do we have to return her to her first adoptive family?” They have all agreed with what I know is probably true, though I am sad for the first adoptive family, Luna is truely our puppy and will remain with our family.


Abby Giving Luna a(nother) Bath! I Had Forgotten How Hard it is to Keep a White Dog White!

I will be eternally grateful to the original adoptive family for pursuing the therapy that saved her life, and for allowing us to adopt her. While I know of course, that she will one day most likely break my heart, I am so glad it is not on the second day or the second month that I have known her.


Luna on the Deck

She has been a challenging, exhausting, strange, wonderful, goofy amazing puppy.


Luna Helps Herself


Luna Hoping…

I am so happy she is a Finch.


Good Night Luna! We Love You So!


Abby’s Drawing of Luna on my Lap <3







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