Dogs are a man’s best friends indeed.
A 5-month-old puppy named Lentil (how cute is that?) is helping raise awareness of children with facial abnormalities, such as cleft palate or cleft lip.
The 10-pound French Bulldog was born in New Jersey along with another three pups. They all had facial defects and only Lentil survived. He has a cleft palate and cleft lip. Due to the facial abnormality, Lentil was unable to eat or drink on his own and had to be fed through a tube ever couple of hours.
Lentil eventually underwent surgery to fix his palate.
“The cleft lip itself is more of a cosmetic surgery,” Dr. Alexander Reiter, a vet with the Department of Dentistry and Oral Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania said to CNN. “It’s not really a necessity for patients that are not fully aware of what they look like.”
The vets at the school suggested Lentil become part of a program that helps kids with certain conditions meet animals with the same condition.
This way, Lentil became an “ambassadog” for children with craniofacial defects.
“Our passion is to help these children and their families become normal parts of society,” Dr. Jesse Taylor, a plastic surgeon at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia said. “They need to be able to interact with one another on a very human level.”
Lentil has visited hundreds of kids at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“He doesn’t look like, you know, a regular dog,” said Danny Pfeiffer, a 14-year-old with a genetic condition called Saethre-Chotzen syndrome told CNN. “So that kind of makes him special, so it probably makes kids who have something that I have, makes them feel special.”
Since his surgery, Lentil has been able to eat and drink on his own. He’s also become an internet sensation with more than 94,000 Facebook friends.