Miniature Boston Terrier Puppy born with cleft palate THRIVES! ;)

by Heather Gere
(Quechee, Vermont)


Just wanted to share with you a story about my little one, Googles. She was born on September 17, 2008 and shortly after birth we discovered she was born with a cleft palate. Because of this, she was bottle fed every 2 hours for her first weeks of life. My husband and I saw she had a strong will to live and decided to raise her - even though we were told that most cleft puppies are put to sleep. It has been a long road however she is thriving and growing into a beautiful young lady. Today she is 9 weeks old and weighs around 1.8. To everyone's surprise, last week she began eating all on her own.

We started her on kitten food but then switched to a brand our local feed store recommended called mini dog 30 by Royal Canin - well, she just loved it! She also learned to drink from a rabbit bottle quite naturally.

Don't let her size fool you - this little one is FULL of it! She loves to chase our 8 year old all over the house. It is amazing how fast her little legs will move - because of her size, it is funny because she looks like a little hamster running! She also thinks she is big & tough - so funny watching her toss her head back & forth on a little toy (while growling). She is one tough little cookie. You can see a video of her at the following URL:

Here is a video of her eating with her cleft palate:

We would love help with a name. We have nicknamed her "Googles" because of her big googly eyes but would love to get some more ideas. She is a little bundle of love!

Please pray for her! She is a little puppy that has defied the odds - even the vet is amazed that she is able to eat all by herself.

Comments for Miniature Boston Terrier Puppy born with cleft palate THRIVES! ;)

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Oct 09, 2013
boston terrier pup with a cleft palate
by: Anonymous

My boston terrier just had puppies two days ago and 2 were born with a cleft palate. I took them to the vet who brought up the option to put them to sleep. I refused to do it. However I'm looking for a loving person who has experience and would be there to feed and take care of the puppy since although it would break my heart to depart from them I know it would be selfish of me to keep them due to my long hours. I would not be able to feed them every two hours., if any one is I nterested I live in houston

Mar 06, 2013
Boston w/cleft lip response
by: Anonymous

It sounds like he has a cleft lip, instead of a cleft palate. He will gain weight once he gets onto regular food. Keep a close eye on his breathing, to make sure he does aspirate any fluids into his lungs. If you could supplement with a bottle, that would probably not be a bad thing, just because as the other puppies get bigger, they will push him off his mom, and he may get less and less. You could also allow him to eat first, by himself, as another option. Best of luck. I have seen cleft lip puppies make it. Just need a little TLC. :) Heather

Mar 05, 2013
4 week old boston terrier with slight cleft palate
by: Tiffany

Hi, so happy I found your site! I recently noticed my 4 week old boston has a slight cleft palate :( he is slightly smaller than the rest, but very active and full of energy! I've been researching like crazy online, but most pups required bottle feeding and seem much more severe than my situation. He does sneeze at times,he has milk come out of his nose at times, but other than that he eats ok, and although slightly smaller he seems like a normal healthy pup! I looked at the site you posted and checked the roof of his mouth and no line? his right nostril is just slightly larger and his lip slightly curves up. His cleft is barely noticeable... Has anyone experienced this? Heard a similar story? I'm in love with him and hope he will be able to live a normal healthy life!

Jan 23, 2013
by: Mackenzie

My dog Maggie is a big bunch of WILD! SHe cant stay away from us, but we leave often. Got any ideas to help her because when we leave she has 'short snout' problems.

Jan 10, 2013
by: Anonymous

Found your blog and so excited to talk to someone about Sapphire.
She is 10 weeks old and doing very well. She is on hard food (science diet puppy, small round kibbles) and eats 4 x's a day.
A couple things have me baffled.
First of all, I feed her with my hand one kibble at a time, now it's fast the way she gulps them down, but I'd like to put her on the floor and put the kibbles in a bowl but scared to death she'll try to bolt them too fast and choke to death.
By the way, she's a frenchie! Beautiful baby girl and yes, we are keeping her! I breed frenchies (home grown and only 3 to 4 litters a year) and found out at 3 weeks they had missed a severe hard cleft palate. Vet wanted to put her down, and that's what I've done in the past, because he said they wouldn't make it, but I said, NONONONO! I've got her this far and started research. Found Henwood's sight and started her on rabbit bottle, which she took too immediately and kitten food, then switched last week to science diet.
How do I transition from her taking each kibble out of my hand to taking it from floor level on a plate? Sounds dumb, but I don't have a clue how to do this without her choking. She eats so darned fast, and right now I have her on 1/4 cup 4 times daily. Also, does that sound like enough? It's a cup a day, which her brother, Benny, is on and doing great. He's not a cleft and is twice her size but she beats him up mercilessly and I have to pull her off him. She's a spitfire!
Second, she choked a little yesterday and I still hear some phlegm in her throat. Not rattling in chest, but is that normal? Usually, it goes away, but this time it has stayed over 24 hrs.
And yes, she has had 1st parvo. She is now 10 weeks and will probably go for second set in about 2 weeks with brother.
Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much and hope you respond. Frenchie rescue in Ohio took my donations for their cleft palate puppies but would never respond to my questions.
Please go to my website and see out wonderful children! We are totally in love with frenchies and have rescued several, as well as love to raise the babies. I will never euthanize another cleft palate. Tears me up to think of the 4 I have already let go over the past 5 years.
Thanks and hope your cleft baby is doing well.
Best regards;
Barbara Woodard

Oct 08, 2012
WoW thanks everyone
by: Philip

found out today my three week old boston has a cleft palate (white froth started coming out of his nose) He never could take a teat so we have been bottle feeding him since day two. He is the runt of the litter and now weighs 1 pound. The vet told me natural selection would have weeded this one out but not to give up he will do some research to verify what can be done. Then my best friend turned me on to this site . . . WoW since this pup is such a fighter I will not give up either. I just picked up a rabbit water bottle. Also going to get me some Royal Canine Mini babydog30 and some Chlorhexadine (to help kill bacteria) this week. Now i know there is hope. Thanks to everyone taking the time to tell your story!!!!

Aug 11, 2012
Cleft palate puppies can live normal lives!
by: Anonymous

I've had 3 cleft palate mini schnauzers in the last yr. it takes some tube feeding, antibiotics, and tons of care. How ever, once you get past that first month, you should be im he clear.
Once they start the hard kibble, only allow a hard kibble and clean water with chlorhexadine water additive. Reason being is the additive in the water kills bacteria. Often the cleft palate allows some of the water to asperate in the nasal passage. Don't be alarmed on this, because this can be of benefit to flush out any food that my get into the nasal passage.
No need for surgury. They can live a very normal life!

Jul 18, 2012
puppy question
by: Anonymous

To the person seeking help with puppy, where are you located?

Jul 17, 2012
Cleft puppy
by: Anonymous

I would help you but I live in Texas. I am sorry.

Jul 15, 2012
NE -- vermont
by: Anonymous


Jul 13, 2012
Cleft puppy
by: Anonymous

Where do you live?

Jul 12, 2012
Cleft Shih Tzuh
by: Anonymous

I have a Shih Tzuh cleft puppy... will anyone have him? I am offering one, my dog had three!!!

Jul 03, 2012
min pin
by: gerrielynn

How bad is the cleft defect? Do you have a good vet? How long have you had her? I have hand raised a boston terrier with both a hard and soft cleft palate defect. She was the hardest thing I have ever raised. She too was very tiny, only 8 ozs at 6 weeks. My email is

Jul 03, 2012
Can survive.
by: Anonymous

My Boston survivied with a cleft lip and palate and made it to almost a year. Our vet said he was too little to vaccinate for Parvo and that's what killed him. So my advice to you is vaccinate for sure. Just keep his weight up for sure and find a vet that sincerly wants to help you. They don't always. Also pneumonia is your biggest threat. Try and keep them suctioned well with a bulb syringe if he seems congested. Good luck to you!!!

Jul 03, 2012
Message for Caren
by: Anonymous

Hi Caren,

Great work with your little puppy. Mini Wheat is still alive, very healthy and by far the most spoiled dog on the planet. She is our 3rd child. Mini Wheat was tiny, in the ounces size until she was around 2 months old. I thought she would remain a pocket puppy but as soon as we moved her to hard food, she grew almost over night. Mini settled out at about 10.5 pounds. The hard parts are going to get easy soon for you. Check online but I think you can start introducing your little one to hard food at about 5 weeks. I highly recommend the mini food by royal canine. There is a youtube video of her learning to eat and a photo of this food. I recommend it because it is TINY, it is smooth and she will be able to swallow it relatively easily. We tried several kinds and some people recommend cat food for these clefts but I do not. Also, do NOT give her wet food at all. Just dry food. For water, when mini wheat started drinking, we attached a rabbit bottle to a chair leg and she used this for a while then gradually she learned to drink all by herself out of a bowl. She scoops it up and then swallows with her head up. Wheatie had a very severe open cleft on the top of her mouth. When she got on food, and started to grow, the plates closed. Her only other issue was allergies (itchy) however in 2 years, she outgrew that. She is heathy and beautiful. You are almost there. I know it seems like extreme work however it will get so much easier. It will be VERY hard to get the little guy to eat at first. They will gum it, spit it out over and over... just keep steady with it, one morsle at a time, and he will get it and then begin to grow. If you have questions for me, just email geredesigns @ gmail. Best of luck. Heather

Jul 03, 2012
by: Caren


I am currently raising a Min Pin with a Cleft Pallet.

She is now three weeks old. Her name is sweet pea.

She is doing great so far. She is growing but still only weighs 7 oz.

I just want to know if she has survived this long, will she continue? I just don't want to get my hopes up. I was hoping someone could tell me if they had a puppy survive for more than three weeks only to pass later.

I love her so much already. I want her to survive, but I also want to be realistic about her condition.



Aug 10, 2011
by: Stacie Cole

My Boston terrier gave birth to 6 puppies, 1 of which has a SEVERE CLEFT PALATE!!! I have read all this and got him a bottle and some replacement milk, but I feel like I'm getting it in his nose too!! Someone please help him. I am in Longview, Texas and need some help. Please contact me by email or facebook.

Thank you so much,
Stacie Cole

Aug 09, 2011
available pup with cleft lip and palate
by: Denise

We had a little guy born August 7 with a cleft lip and palate. He tries to nurse off mom and we are nipple feeding him. So far he is holding his own. We will be looking for a dedicated forever home. If you are interested, contact me at my email. We are in the central Texas (Waco) area.

Thank You,

Jul 22, 2011
puppy with cleft pallate
by: Nichole

Hello Bt friends and others,

As of last night I have a puppy born with a cleft. Im not sure how bad it is medicaly but will be calling vets in the area to have him examined. His cleft looks like one of those you see in many children in other parts of the world. The hole as I call it extends from his nostril to the bottom of his top lip. He seems to be nursing well so I am confident he will be a fighter...We have decided to name him "Heff" or "Heffie" as in Hugh Heffner :) I will be posting pics on my fb as soon as I can...If anyone else with similar situations would like to be friends, i was also considering making him his own fb page to see how many followers he will have...Im hoping the gap will close on its own in time. Please Pray for Baby Heffie :) Bless you all who are in the same battle as we are... I havent decided whether or not I will be looking for a knowledgable home for him when he is of age or if I will be keeping him :)

Jul 17, 2011
Puppy with cleft lip
by: Anonymous

Our puppy had cleft lip and palate and we did not have it closed right away and I bottle fed him on his back or you can tube feed him until he is old enough. He made it to 6 months old and would have lived but he got Parvo.Don't listen to the vet or find a new one!!! You can do it. He was very active until he got sick. I know it's hard but so worth the effort. If he is has the will to live like ours did you have to at least try.
God bless and please let me know if you need any advice.
God Bless

Jul 16, 2011
by: Anonymous

i am so happy for you that your little doggy is up and about
i dont no if you can help we have a 16 week puppy who has a hairlip
he was operaton on but 5 days later it broke down
the operation was major and it has also enlarged 1 side of his nose which is now open
the vet has said the kindest thing is to put him to sleep on monday
can you help please

Jun 18, 2011
by: Anonymous

I have had a boston with a cleft palate for 5 years. She is the best.

Apr 01, 2011
To all of you , who loves to save lifes
by: Anonymous

May God bless you all for your effort, saving this little angels. They need love to survive and special care. Please dint give up, they will love you forever. Much love to all of you !!!.

Mar 25, 2011
Boston with cleft
by: Anonymous

If anyone in North Texas has a Boston with a cleft lip and palate to take care of I would be happy to do it. Or any breed for that matter. I miss my boy that was born with it and know how to take care of dogs with that problem.

Mar 21, 2011
Keeper is almost 3 years old:)
by: Gerrie Lynn

Keeper was born with a hard and soft cleft palate defect March 28, 2008. She should not have survived, but she didn't know that. She had corrective surgery at 6 months. She drinks out of a rabbit water bottle and eats dry dog food. She weighs 6.2 pounds and will chase her much bigger playmate (Tank weighs 32.2 pounds) around the living room barking and growling. She is our demon child and we love her.

Mar 16, 2011
Help for puppies with cleft palate
by: Anonymous

This is a great guide that helped me with raising mini wheat, who was born with a cleft palate:

If you have additional questions, you can email me at


Mar 16, 2011
by: Anonymous

Your puppy is absolutely cute. I am glad your puppy is doing well.

Feb 11, 2011
Little "Maggie"
by: Linda

We adopted Maggie from a couple that breeds Boston Terriers. They said that they thought she was blind and had white coming out of her nose. We got her at a little over 4 wks and have had for for two weeks. The vet confirmed that her eyes are underdeveloped and she is totally blind. She also is believed to have a cleft palate. When she eats the foamy milk comes out of her nose, however not at every feeding. We feed her every 2-3 hrs and she is a little fighter. She follows sounds and is 1.1 lbs. We will not give up on this tiny baby that we are in love with. She loves love and cuddling. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

Jan 31, 2011
Please email me
by: Anonymous

I have a cleft palate puppy that i have been raising and i would love to get some information from you ! please email me back at

Dec 19, 2010
Update on Mini Wheat
by: Anonymous

Mini is now a healthy 2 year old Boston. She weighs around 10 pounds, and is full of life. She eats regular food and drinks like a regular dog. She didn't require any surgeries despite her large full line cleft. As she grew, the cleft closed naturally. Also, she had a very large soft spot that closed at around 1 year. Mini Wheat is doing great!!

Dec 19, 2010
by: Anonymous






Aug 31, 2010
Boston with cleft lip and palate
by: Anonymous

We just lost our beautiful bt. He was born with a cleft lip and palate but was doing so well and doubled his weight in one month. Our vet said to wait and vaccinate until he got bigger. Sadly our precious boy got parvo and then pneumonia. He was suffering and couldnt breath and we couldnt see him suffer anymore. We were and are still devasted. Please make sure to vaccinate. My boy Mickey was thriving and now we have a hole in our hearts. If anyone has a pup with that defect and you dont want to care for him or her please let us know. We know how to care for them and we now know you must vaccinate asap no matter what the weight or be extremly diligent in putting your shoes in bleach water before coming in the door before vaccination is possible. I think we were given bad advice from our vet and it will never happen again. My baby paid the price and it hurts.If any breeder in north Texas would like to contact us with a pup that has cleft lip and palate please contact me at

Aug 13, 2010
Lil Bits
by: Anonymous

I also had a puppy with a cleft palet, he has a small one and was able to eat good after he started on puppy food. He is growning like a weed now is a sweet boy.

Jul 06, 2010
your lovely baby
by: dog lover

Just to say, well done not giving up. We are spending time in Portugal at the moment and have just found a 2 day old puppy in our garden. She was tangled in weeds and crying (or i would not have found her). I went on the internet to try to find out what breed she was like. Your lovely little girl is like a sister to our little one. We have had her 6 days and has doubled in size, she now weighs just over a 1lb. I so hope he ends up looking like your little girl and we have named him LUCKY. Good luck and may she thrive.

Jun 17, 2010
cute puppy
by: Anonymous

i would name her or him gwen for a girl name and finn

Mar 25, 2010
Boston Terriers
by: Cathy

I have 2 bostons, males, Hercules & Conan, brothers. 11 years old. When they were 9 we found out Conan has an enlarged heart. He was ok at 1st, 9 months later he got very sick. After many different vets telling us "let him go". My family vet & I found Metro.Vet hospital in Akron, OH. (we live in Erie,PA). They are wonderful!! After $14,000 and 2 surgerys, Conan is great. He goes to Merto evry 6 months for his check ups and takes his pills everyday. They can not believe how well he is doing. He had the sack removed from his heart and then part of a lung removed. He also has a tumor on his heart and 2 leaking heart valves. He is my Baby!! I'm very glad we did not listen to the doctors that told us to give up. I even wrote a letter a few months ago to one of the vets, telling her how great my little man is doing. (She didnt resonde)Many people have asked us if we would do it again- my answer is YES!! I love to see others do what ever it takes to help their pets. I wish the best for your little guy!! Keep up the good work!

Feb 18, 2010
Judy - you forgot to leave your contact info
by: Heather

Hi Judy,

I do have some advice for you and your Yorkie. Email me at


ed. - Heather, I'm sorry, but due to some people posting other people's contact info on the internet, we cannot post email addresses or phone numbers any longer. You can post information here in the comments if you'd like or provide a website reference. Sorry for the inconvenience - too bad a few bad apples ruin it for everyone. :-(

Feb 18, 2010
Cleft palate Yorkie 11 wks old
by: Judy

I have been tube feeding a yorkie since he was 4 wks old. I had started out being a foster parent to him as the breeder had surgery and could not feed him. I fell in love with him and after going the past 6 wks with feeding every 2 hrs and not sleeping because of bad nights I was so tired but it has been worth every min. I am mostly concerned that he will not eat dog or cat food and the formula coming back out his nose after feedings. I have tried less food and closer feedings as well as longer times with more formula but it is still happening. I took him to a vet . who gave me the name of the surgeon who does these all the time. We have to wait til he is at least 4 mo. old as the liver is not fully developed. Anyone have any ideas as to how I can get him to eat puppy food. I bought xx small bites and he ate it about 3 wks ago. and has not touched it since. I have already spent 500 dollars on Dr. visits(chewed his feeding tube off and had to have it taken out by a vet) to getting an irritation in his nose and needing an antibiotic for some fluid in lungs. Please help. Your stories sound so positive. I am willing to do whatever it takes but I need to know what that is.

Feb 18, 2010
by: Ashley

I was browsing the internet for boston terrier pups for sale and stumbled across your story. I just wanted to let you know how happy this made me. I also have a boston that was born with a cleft palate. Her name is Annabelle and she is a happy, healthy, lovable 2 year old now. She was given to us by a friend for free because she has a cleft palate and needed extra care and attention to survive. We got her when she was 5wks old and went through many of the same stuggles as you. We weren't really aware of what a cleft palate was or how it affected a puppy until we went to the vet for more information. They discussed corrective surgery but I just didn't want to put her through all that unless it bacame a life threating problem. It didn't matter to me what she looked like as long as she was healthy. It's now 2 years later and she is the biggest joy of my life. She makes you realize how everyday is a blessing. It broke my heart to know that we got her for free because she wasn't expected to live and even if she did they would have trouble selling her because of the way her face looked. Someone else's burden has became a joy to us. I hope you boston is still doing well and thakyou for giving googles a chance to live. I wish everyone had the same kind of love to give. Take care!

Feb 16, 2010
Cute Doggie
by: Elton

I bought my Boston from a guy on a street corner and he was only four weeks old. I had to feed him by bottle too...I was afraid in the beginning because he didn't want to eat but he was so small and trouble walking at times (underdeveloped)...He was taken from his mother too soon as I realized but he checked out fine at the vet. We named him Hercules that was almost four years ago...Hercules is now almost 30 pounds he has definitely lived up to his name and is the strongest Boston I've seen and had (I have had two others before him) Herc was even born without one of his canines so he two on top and only one on the bottom but he can chew on anything and crush it no matter what kind of dog toys...he usually goes through a "Pup Treads" every two weeks now...just my old 8-Ball from my pool table he can't rip apart...We will be getting a playmate very soon! Ha!

Jan 03, 2010
my little wonderful Lily
by: Anonymous

your website has gladenned my heart so much. My little girl is one month two days old and still only weight 7 3/4 oz. I have had newborn pups weight more as i am sure you all have. I have been feeding her daily every two hours via a dropper. Yesterday i think mum tried to play with her and she seemed concussed and would not feed at all. I managed to get manuka honey onto her tongue throughout the day, and A soaked corner of hanky into her mouth which she seemed to suck. I went to bed with her next to me in her incubation type box fearing that she would have gone over the rainbow before morning. Wow at 1.30 she woke me up demanding her feed, i just cried. i love her so much and have told hubby often 'do not be surprised if you see me lick this pup one day'.

Jan 02, 2010
by: C Willoughby

I have a female BT born with a hair lip..the palate was not clef but almost. She had to be bottle fed and remained very small for a very long time. She thrived and is the love of my life. Good luck with yours.

Dec 24, 2009
by: Heather

Does your little one have a cleft palate? This is a common reason why this would happen. Good to use an ear dropper or nose sucker each time you feed him to get that out. Mini had this happen too but she doesn't have any problems now that she has grown up. She turned one on November 19th. Best of luck w/your little Porkchop - cute name by the way. Happy holidays!

For anyone with a cleft palate puppy, I recommend doing a search on the words - Hennwood Clefts - you will find a lot of VERY valuable advice on how to raise your little ones.

Dec 24, 2009
by: Jamie

your puppy is adorable and inspiring. we love boston's sooo much and would do ANYTHING to keep our baby thriving. thank you for sharing your story. <3

Dec 19, 2009
by: Janet

"Porkchop" is now 4 weeks old! He seems to be doing well. He does bubble alot, and sometimes after he has been sleeping, he will have milk coming out of his nose. Anyone else have that problem? Thanks!

Nov 24, 2009
My oe bulldog puppy had a cleft, fixed itself
by: Gus EngAm story

Me, my wife and daughter went and bought a EngAm bull dog when he was 8 weeks old (Gus). We get him home to find out he had a hairline upper cleft palate, but he ate and drank normal. So we took him to the vet the following week and the vet confirmed he had a hairline cleft (breeder offered to give our money back, but we wanted a vets opinion first). When we picked our puppy out he was the same weight as the rest of the litter, and seemed very healthy. The vet reluctantly recommended we take him back and even called a bulldog specialist who was infuriated the breeder even let the puppy survive, he also wanted like 1200.00 to fix it. Our vet told us that he was the first puppy she had ever seen make it to 8 weeks with a cleft palate without some type of intervention from the breeder. Well after having a family sit down and talking about what to do with Gus, we decided to keep him. I figured if the little fella made it to 8 weeks on his own without any help he deserved a chance to survive.
Well I am here to tell you it was one of the best decision ever made, wife just called me from the vet for his checkup. Gus's (our puppy) cleft has fully closed at 11 weeks old and is very health. He went from 8.8 lbs at 8 weeks to 16.6 at 11 weeks old.

Nov 23, 2009
Just got a cleft puppy
by: Janet

My daughter works for a vet and last Friday she brought home a newborn French Bulldog with a cleft palate. We have been tube feeding him every 2 hours. We switched to every 3 hours through the night because of sleep deprivation! He seems to be doing well, but I am scared because he apparently came from a breeder whose litters have a lot of defects. I spoke with someone who has taken some of her other pups with clefts, and only one survived:(. We are hoping for the best for this little guy.

Nov 20, 2009
Hats off to you
by: Anonymous

My mother is adopting a cleft mini schnauzer in a few weeks - the breeder has been stellar and has raised him to 6 weeks already - he's thriving and is such a little fighter...we can't wait to have him join our family!

It is so nice to read all of your stories about these precious little ones!

Nov 05, 2009
Hudson the Bulldog
by: Paula

My vet supports my decision to attempt to raise Hudson. He admits to having very little experience with cleft palates but was willing to read the Hennwood site.
I am manually expressing mom's milk and finger feeding every 2 hours, sometimes bottle feeding. We are only 24 hours old but he is sooo strong. He has not bubbled through his nose as of yet and we will start antibiotics in the am.
As long as he fights, we will too. Thank you sooo much for your story about your little cleft baby. It gives me hope!!!!
Thank you,

Oct 20, 2009
A little note from Mini Wheat's mom :)
by: Heather

For those of you who read my story (and have a cleft palate puppy), I recommend viewing the following URL for tips on how to raise a puppy with this condition. Cleft puppies require a special DRY diet - as soft food or softened food can get stuck in the cleft and cause infection. More details can be found here:

This site is what saved our Mini Wheat's life. Although her cleft was very severe, as she grew, her cleft closed nearly all the way. I think it is important to wait a little while before thinking about surgery as sometimes it isn't necessary. Heather

Oct 20, 2009
thanks for not giving up!!
by: donna carr

my hat's off to you for not giving up on your little one. i too am 4 weeks into bottle feeding my own little "braveheart" who was born with a double hairlip but not a hard cleft palate. can't tell if there's a soft cleft or not, his mouth is too tiny to feel back there. :) i refuse to have him put down, which was my vets advise over the phone. he is a beautiful, brave, fighter and i get more attached to him every day. i named him braveheart because he is such a brave, handsome little fighter and he deserves a great big name to match his determination. he still has days when his nose is stopped up and has problems sucking but he just gulps down the milk like your little one when he has 'one of those days'. i read a great article that said to let the pup suck on your little finger and it would clear out their nasal passages. gave it a try and it really does work! it's a built in 'God, creator, thing.' i hold him in my open hand every day, for the Lord gives and the Lord takes away...he is definately worth the time and prayer and worry. so if you're out there and are trying to decide...just do it!! you won't regret at least trying to help them. (see braveheart on my website: blessings to you all...donna

Oct 15, 2009
Maltichon Cleft Palate Puppy
by: Anonymous

I loved your story because I am in the middle of raising "Uno" born on August 16th, a Maltichon born from my bichon girl and maltese boy. Her 3 sisters were born big, fat and feisty, while Uno was tiny and within a few hours we realized he couldn't nurse, nor would his mother let him. We immediately started bottle feeding every two hours and got him through. At about 4 weeks we started him on kibble mushed with puppy milk, which he really took to. At 5 weeks we took him to the vet, where he weighed in at 8 ounces - they had to weigh him on a postal scale. But he was thriving. He is now eating both the kibble, still mushed as well as caned puppy food, which he loves. He is doing so well and goes back to the vet this week. They will take a picture this time of his cleft and send it to the surgeon to decide on a course of action. These pups are SO worth saving. Uno has been a labor of love and the heart of the litter to us. He has the sweetest temprament, and loves to be held, cuddled and played with. While he is miniscule beside his sisters, he does love to play and sleep with them. Need prayers for this little guy too - he is a real keeper!!!

Oct 14, 2009
Mini Wheat turned one in September
by: Heather

She is doing great! Finally began gaining weight - when she was around 4 months old. She now weighs around 10 pounds. She drinks & eats on her own. Her cleft that was severe at birth has nearly closed completely - naturally. She never has any problems eating or drinking. She is a sweetheart! Check out her new photo! :) Thanks for all your prayers & support! Heather

Oct 14, 2009
My Prayers are with her
by: Mariela

I am going to PRAY for your puppy. She is a lovely girl!!!
I just LOVE Boston Terriers.
We were fortunate to be blessed with an unexpected litter. My Baby Girl gave birth to 3 girls and 1 boy. Unfortunate for us, we have come to find out that due to her inability to keep her weight, or gain weight in the last 3 days of her life, that she may have a secondary, hard palate cleft.
We cannot afford the high VET bills and compared her palate witht he rest of her litter and noticed a slight gap.

We are so worried and beside ourselves. I place her to nurse and she will nurse for short periods and then stop. I have not noticed any discharge from mouth or nose, hoping this is a good sign and parying, we can see her through this.

Did you have to perform surgery on her? Please offer me any advice on how I can keep this little angel alive!!!

Oct 13, 2009
boston terrier puppy
by: Lori E.

you should name her hope or faith because she had a struggle through her first couple of weeks of her life.

Sep 25, 2009
I'll pray
by: Shiane

I will pray for your puppy. I ABSOLUTLY love boston terriers and this is one realy big miricle! when I got my boston terrier he was the runt so he wasn't suppose to live, but he's doing more than that!

P.S: I have a suggestion on the name, dotty or roxy

ed., - if you scroll through some of the updates, you'll find that they decided on "Mini Wheat" for a name.

Sep 14, 2009
by: Anonymous

Mini Wheat is awesome!! I'm waiting on my first boston, his name will be Bozs (pronounced boss) he's a red boston and will come home on oct 12th. You are amazing for caring and taking care of your wonderful special lil pup!!

Aug 15, 2009
Cleft palate
by: Anonymous

I also had a boston terrier that was born with a cleft palate. She was rejected by her mother at 2 weeks old I took her to our vet and he told us not to get attached that she would probably not survive. I just wouldn't accept that, so I fed her with a syringe until she was able to eat on her own. She died last week from heart failure but she was 9-1/2 years old. We still use the same vet that told us she probably wouldn't survive he to this day he is amazed at the obstacles she overcame. She had a wonderful life!

Jul 30, 2009
an update on the Boston
by: Anonymous


I just realized I hadn't updated this site. We ended up calling our puppy Mini Wheat (instead of Googles). To answer some of the questions I received on this blog...

Mini Wheat's cleft was a full midline. It began maybe 1/2" in back of her teeth and ran the entire way back. It was pretty wide. It got wider as she grew and then as she grew bigger, it came somewhat together. I would say she was a severe. The vets told me she would not make it and to their surprise, she did.

Mini Wheat is on a hard food ONLY diet. If you have a cleft palate puppy, you must keep them on a hard food diet. Soft food can easily get into their clefts and cause infection. Mini Wheat was started on a hamster bottle for drinking. She then graduated to a rabbit bottle. One day I noticed her drinking out of a water bowl. It came out of her nose, she sneezed a few times but over the next few days, she mastered drinking. She would scoop the water up and put her head back. She now drinks like all our other dogs and NOTHING comes out of her nose.

Mini Wheat did not need surgery. She has a strict diet (no people food) and is doing great. She was VERY small until around 3.5 months. As soon as she mastered eating, she grew. Now she weighs around 10 pounds. She is VERY spoiled & loved. Despite her birth defect, I believe she is one of the most beautiful Boston Terriers I've ever seen. I put up a video of her that can be found here:


ed. thanks so much for the update. we are so glad to hear that Mini Wheat is happy & healthy!

Jul 25, 2009
I will pray for googles she sounds amazing what a little
by: Bobbi brethour

I will pray for googles she sounds like a little miracle from god . My husband and I have two bostons ourselves named Fiona and we have Bella we went with a princess theme they are true to their names Nd are our little princess's too we love them so much and we have a 13 yrbold pekingnese named harley our three four legged kids r truly a blessing to us .. We have our little tough guy with a big loving heart and two little divas that keep our hearts full of love everyday... God bless u guys for not giving up on your little princess gos always smiles on people who always keep an open heart!!!!!!

Jul 24, 2009
same here!
by: Anonymous

my yorkie had a cleft puppy last year and i had to bottle feed him every 2 hours and syringe "nutri-cal" down his throat all the time! i just knew he wouldn't make it! he was smaller than a cell phone for months! but he pulled though and is a holy terror now lol.

Jul 22, 2009
sooooooooooooooooo cute
by: star cool

Your dog is sooooooooooo cute Im saying that cauze i have a boston terrior but even if i didnt I'LL STILL SAY ITS SOOOOOOOOOOO CUTE.
If i had to get a dog id pick a cute little boston terrior there my favourite dog for ever!!

Jul 20, 2009
Any Advice
by: Kahla Kirk

My Boston Lulu just gave birth last week to 4 beautiful puppies. The first born was smaller than the rest and then I noticed his split lip(knowing its a sign of a cleft palate) and beagn to some what panic. I hoped and prayed that it wasn't severe enough that he would have to be put to sleep. After calling the vet 500 times the day he was born the vet gave me his oppinion.
Now a week later Jellybean is being bottle fed every two hours. He is still so small and his younger brother Bruitis is over twice his size. The two of them though cuddle like there is no difference in size. I have to use a human baby medicine bottle to feed him b/c its the only nipple he can grasp onto and it blocks his hole when he nurses. I also use a bulb syringe to suction his nose after every feeding. I am looking for as much insite on this that I can get. My e-mail is wrightkahla@yahoo. It would be great to have someone to share with.

Jul 10, 2009
Cleft Pug
by: ilovejoomla

I tube fed a cleft Pug nicknamed Popeye for 10 weeks. He had a severe cleft and hair lip. You can YouTube the videos of him by searching for "Popeye Cleft Palate Puppy"
Popeye was not able to drink water without choking so I started him on a hamster bottle but it didn't yield enough water. I would love to know how you got enough water in your pup without causing him to aspirate. Water consumption is the key to weaning onto solid food. Was your dog's cleft considered mild, intermediate or severe?

The photo you have posted doesn't even show the cleft or a hair lip. Did he have surgery to repair it?

Feb 10, 2009
i also have a cleft palate / hair lip boston
by: heather g.

i also have a boston with a cleft palate/hair lip. he was born april 2006 his mother rejected him as he could not feed like the others and was very small and i noticed part of his lip was missing. i took him away at 3days old and took him to a vet that told me to put him to sleep, and that i did all that i could do. but i am more hard headed than that, so i took him to another vet and she said that she was gonna make it the mission in life that he would live! thank god for her.

I fed him every 2 hours every day for 2 months and he slept beside my bed in an aquarium with a heated bean bag small and a light to keep the temp. just right. he started eating soft food first then he stared growing very rapidly, the vet was amazed at his growth and i was just beside my self that he was still alive and my baby was doing great but not out of the woods yet though.

When he was about 4 months old he was bit by a yellow sack spider in our home. he got a severe staph infection and he had pus bulges all over his body. He stayed in the i.c.u camber at the vets office for 2 months and got better but she said because of his past being a hair lip and being underweight his immune system was neg zero. he has since recovered completely He is now going on 3yrs old and doing amazing! he is spoiled rotten as you can imagine. he is a wonderful pet and a joy to have and i am so thankful that there are people like us in the world that are that devoted to take care of a special needs animal. you are doing a great thing and your reward will be your boston. good luck, heather

Dec 31, 2008
by: Leisa

She's soo cute. It's awesome that's she's beating the odds.

As far as names, I think Gwyneth would fit her. It means: Fortunate; blessed.

I kept Emma's name because it means: Embracing everything. Which she does, right before she chews it! lol Plus she's nosy.

Jackman (Jack) I got from Hugh Jackman.

Dec 28, 2008
miniature boston terrier
by: Brittany

Hi, I am looking for a miniature boston terrier and was wondering if you could give me some advise on where to find one, what is the average weight?
please e-mail me at missbrittanyg(at) if you have the time. thank you so much


ed. - there is not a distinction for "miniature" boston terrier. The breed standard recognizes three weight classes: under 15 pounds, 15 pounds and under 20 pounds, 20 pounds and not to exceed 25 pounds.

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