BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) ––– A television host known for sending unfaithful spouses to the dog house makes a trip to Baton Rouge to help a four-legged friend.
Tommy Habeeb is well known for hosting the show Cheaters, but his new show To The Rescue explores a different topic. “We feature these amazing heroes, these rescuers, these fosters, these people that adopt these unadoptable little sweet puppies. So many of them, they’re the last chance dogs and this is the last chance for them to make it and so we want to shed some light on these amazing heroes that do the work that they do,” he says.
One of those dogs is Fitzgerald, who was found on the streets of Dallas, Texas, and has been in foster care for four to five months. “They found out he has this heart situation. So he had some blockage in one of the valves on the right side of his heart, and it’s given him a heart murmur,” Habeeb explained.
The show went on the road, driving from Dallas to Baton Rouge so Fitzgerald could be seen by a veterinarian at the LSU Veterinary Hospital. After the pre-op appointment, it was confirmed that Fitzgerald would need surgery.
Habeeb says they were confident the surgery would be a success, “you look at this little movie star face, and you go, listen, they’re gonna pull out all stops and make sure this little guy makes it through.”
Make it he did. Dr. Henry W. Green, III says the surgery was a success. “The procedure we did today was something called balloon valvuloplasty, and it’s a surgery where we can noninvasively insert a catheter with a balloon tip through the vessels in his neck, into his heart, across that valve and dilate that valve, and stretch it open so it now functions more normally,” Dr. Green explains.
He says it is the second most common congenital disability seen in dogs, and the LSU Veterinary Hospital performs a similar procedure two to three times a month.
Dr. Green warns it is important to bring your pet to their annual check-up because veterinarians can discover this defect during their exams.
For Fitzgerald, the recovery time will be reasonably quick. “He’s going to be up and around in the morning and he’s going to be discharged from the hospital. He’s going to have probably about a day or two where we just allow his incision to heal and then he’s going to be pretty much released to normal activity pretty quickly after that,” Dr. Green says.
So what is next for Fitzgerald? Well, you will have to watch the show to find out!
Making the switch from cheating spouses to rescuing dogs was not much of a stretch for Habeeb. He says, “you watch how I deal with somebody that needs help, I help them. I cry right along with them. I feel for them. So my job was to help them.”
Roughly 25 years ago, the SPCA-LA asked him to host a telethon with Betty White, and he has continued his involvement since.
Habeeb runs a foundation called The Forever Family Rescue Foundation, where they work with and assist rescues across the country. The foundation also pairs vets, first responders, and firefighters with pets deemed unadoptable from kill shelters.
“All we want that vet or that firefighter to do is give the dog love. We’ll pay for all the food medical care. You don’t have to worry about a thing. Just give that puppy some love,” says Habeeb. The plan, he says, is to wipe out these kill shelters.
“It just came time in my life to do something this important and I had the time to do it. So I created this show and I believe this is truly the best work I’ve ever done. The most gratifying is saving these lives and really featuring these people, you know? Show’s just not about dogs, it’s about the human beings and the interaction, the humanity that happens with the love of a pup,” he says.
If you would like more information on the show and how you can help, visit their website HERE.
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