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Rescue asks for support to help neglected Neapolitan Mastiff live without pain for the first time in her life

Dhicon_thumb By DogHeirs Team | September 01, 2013 | Comments (36)

Rescue asks for support to help neglected Mastiff live without pain for the first time in her life

A severely emaciated Neapolitan Mastiff named Sydney was covered in flies, feces and urine and could hardly stand when she was rescued. At barely 90 pounds, she was placed in the care of Valley Mastiff Rescue on July 25th, thanks to Friendly Giants Dog Rescue and a Good Samaritan Sydney's rescuers call "Sydney's Angel". Sydney was weak and frail, and her rescuers say that her starving body could barely hold her up. In fact, Sydney was rated 1/5 on the body condition index, the lowest score possible.

*** Refer to the bottom of the article for the latest updates on Sydney's progress ***

Rescue asks for support to help neglected Mastiff live without pain for the first time in her life

A victim of horrible neglect, Sydney has suffered a life full of excruciating pain, agony and misery. She had never received any love or attention, nor had she ever received any of the essential medical care she desperately needed. At one year old, Sydney seems to have never walked on grass before in her life.

"She showed great curiosity about grass, as though she had never seen it," France Turcotte, the founder of Valley Mastiff Rescue, told DogHeirs.

Rescue asks for support to help neglected Mastiff live without pain for the first time in her life

Pain is a constant factor in Sydney's life. She walks with a wobble and limp, and often yelps when she walks. Unable to squat, Sydney urinates on her ankles and struggles to get up from the lying position.

During her physical exam after she was rescued, Sydney's response to tests was heartbreaking to her rescuers, as she constantly cried and let her caretakers know that the basic assessment she was undergoing was extremely painful for her.

Rescue asks for support to help neglected Mastiff live without pain for the first time in her life

Sydney is crippled with several orthopaedic conditions and has only one good weight-bearing leg. According to veterinarians at the DMV Veterinary Centre, she is suffering from the worst case of hip dysplasia ever seen or documented in medical reference books.

France told DogHeirs, "Sydney's pain is all she has ever known, it is second nature to her. She cannot stand for very long, maybe 2 minutes now and then she crashes to the ground. She will come on walks, but we need to stop for some down-cuddle time; she rests, struggles to get back up on her feet. Its very hard for her."

Rescue asks for support to help neglected Mastiff live without pain for the first time in her life

"She can run, she spurts and goes crazy, actually unbelievable when you think about it, but its bunny hopping," Frances said. "Then, again, she crashes to the ground in relief. She will yelp often in her day when walking."

Rescue asks for support to help neglected Mastiff live without pain for the first time in her life

Despite the neglect Sydney has endured, this sweet Mastiff has only demonstrated love and friendliness and craves human attention and touch. "Sydney sits and waits for hugs and kisses. She follows me everywhere, I never have to put on a leash. She drops to the ground and enjoys belly rubs and massages. She just is so in need of love and touch," Frances said. "She looks you right in the eye too, when she walks she will lean against your leg as to seek support in case she trips, because that happens."

Rescue asks for support to help neglected Mastiff live without pain for the first time in her life
Above is a photo of Sydney and Georgie, her best friend at Valley Mastiff Rescue. "She likes Georgie a lot (He is in kidney failure and very sick and I guess he is no threat to her.)", says France. Currently caring for 10 dogs, Valley Mastiff rescue is a sanctuary for abused, neglected, abandoned and unwanted dogs and many of their dogs have special needs requiring extensive medical care or behavioral rehabilitation.


Sydney is in desperate need of medical care; costs are estimated at $12,000. The first surgery planned for Sydney is arthroplasty, where surgeons will cut the head of her femur bone to alleviate the excruciating pain Sydney has to deal with every day. This will cost $2,500. Sydney will then need an external steel splint for her front leg for four months. This radial wedge and ulnar osteotomy will cost $4,500. Finally, Sydney needs a complete hip replacement at a cost of $5,500. Sydney will be cared for at the DMV Veterinary Centre in Montreal, Quebec, under the caring hands of Dr. Madore.

France said, "Sydney is facing a long road ahead before she is pain free and can become a dog again. If you ask me what real courage is, I would answer: SYDNEY. She survived horrid living conditions and atrocious neglect without ever knowing the meaning of love and managed to adapt and survive."

Keri Borden, a dedicated rescue worker who volunteers with Cool Dog Rescue, Friendly Giants Dog Rescue and Pilots n Paws Canada, shared Sydney's story with DogHeirs and told us that, "This rescue [Valley Mastiff Rescue] cannot afford the 12K in bills that are about to come up. They will simply go under. But the love of the breed and her story...they are determined to show her that someone in this world cares for her."


Update September 4, 2013:

Since arriving at Valley Mastiff Rescue, Sydney has gained a healthy 18 pounds. France says that Sydney is happy and that her joy is evident in a recent video she took.

"Her issues are ortheapedic and can be fixed surgically, this will give her not only a pain free life but a long happy life at our sanctuary. Sydney is more than welcome to make the sanctuary her forever home if an adoptive home does not come along," France added in a comment below


Update: September 19, 2013

Sydney after her arthroscopy surgery

Sydney's journey towards full health has begun. She underwent her first surgery this week. The surgery was called an arthroscopy and the doctors removed part of her femur bone to alleviate pain.

France said the surgery went well and she was stable throughout the procedure.

Here's a video of France picking up Sydney from the vets after her first successful surgery.

One of the vets was thinking that Sydney might be incontinent, but France explained that Sydney just pees when she sees men or when she feels like it. "I explained there was still some 'fear issues' she needs to work out. We will still keep an eye on her, she just needs to learn to pee outside," said France.

Sydney will have the staples from her surgery removed in 2 weeks. For now, the doctors have instructed Sydney to have complete bed rest for 2 weeks - so no running, no playing, no jumping and only short walks. She is on painkillers and with help from the donated funds she has a harness/sling to help her avoid falling when out for the walks.

France wanted to thank all of Sydney's supporters. She told DogHeirs, "The love felt from around the world for Sydney is more than words could ever describe. because of all of you, Sydney will get the medical care and surgeries she needs. We will even be able to build a fenced in area for her and she will be getting hydro therapy sessions for her recovery, both things we could never afford before. Your donations turned her life around and will make her life pain free. Thank you for showing Sydney what love is all about."

Update: November 24, 2013

Here is Sydney 6 weeks after her arthroscopy running and enjoying the first snow of winter.

She will be seeing the doctor in mid December to schedule her front paw surgery.


January 23, 2014

Sydney after her paw surgery

Sydney underwent her second surgery for her front paw on Tuesday, January 21.  Frances Turcotte provided DogHeirs with an update on her progress and how the surgery went. "Sydney's paw surgery lasted 8 hours, it was performed by Dr. Madore at the DMV on Tuesday. It was an extreme case, but Sydney remained stable during the whole procedure with minimum blood loss. Today, I visited her and she was a bit drowsy on the pain medication but managed to walk a few steps."

Sydney after her paw surgery

"The titanium fixations will remain for approx. 4 months and require daily cleaning. She is strong and walking on it already without painkillers or medications. It's so nice to see her paw straight for the first time."

Update: February 5, 2014

Sydney had her second surgery on her paw and after 17 days in hospital could go back home with France. Here are some pictures of the fixations in her paw and leg.

rods in syd's paw

rods in syd's paw

Update: May 11, 2014

Sydney is doing fantastic. For the first time in many months she does not have any metal pins in her leg, no cast or bandages. "Freedom at last," wrote France. "Doctors are happy to say the angle is now 5 degree on her paw compared to a devastating 65 degree angle she knew. Its a new Sydney!"

Syd in cast

syds fixed paw

syds fixed paw


Want to help Sydney? 

Dogs are family tshirtFor every purchase of a Dogs are Family T-Shirt:

You can also donate directly to Valley Mastiff Rescue online here or via mail. Checks should be made payable to Valley Mastiff Rescue at: 67 chemin Legros, La Pêche QC, J0X 2W0, Canada.

Valley Mastiff Rescue is a federally registered Charitable Organization #84050 2934 RR0001 and tax receipts will be issued for direct donations over $20.00. Valley Mastiff Rescue is also a Donation Recipient of the DogHeirs Giving Back Program for non profits.

See more photos of Sydney here: Sydney the Neapolitan Mastiff




Copyright 2015 DogHeirs. All Rights Reserved.

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Comments on this Article

I hope everything goes well after the surgery and she has a lot better mobility and rang of motion with her front leg. The second picture from the top makes you just want to hold her. She has been through so much in her young life. Thanks for the update guys. I'm glad she is getting the help that she needs.
So happy to see Sydney on her journey to a healthy, happy, painfree life. She's such a sweetheart. Thanks to all who have helped her along the way.
I am so happy to see this update. I happily made a donation towards her care and I do not regret it at all after seeing how much better she is getting around. Thank you to her rescuers and to everyone else that gave a little of themselves to help out this beautiful girl
What a beautiful girl. So, so sad that she was in constant pain. Thanks to all the caregivers and especially her "Mom", she is enjoying life so much better. Hopefully she will have a long, happy and pain free life to look forward to. It really disgusts me to know there are so many people out there who just don't care about animals and the way they are treated. I do know what Regina Hudson is trying to say as there are just so many animals in the same boat as Sydney, but I guess if there are people out there who can afford to pay for her journey to a better life, then more power to them. I for one cannot give to every needy case that I see here on Facebook (and there are THOUSANDS). All any of us can do is pick a project and help as much as we can, whether it's prayer, money, sharing the posts, etc. There are BILLIIONS of children and animals in this world needing help. One child, one animal at a time for each of us ...
It's so great to see Sydney doing so well! To see her running on the snow is priceless. Thank you again for saving her and for not giving up on her. You and everyone who works with Sydney are angels!
Sydney the gentle giant I think she is has won our hearts.Sadly we cannot go after the abusers but we can love and help her to live a pain free life.I thank France again and again and I clearly remember the night of saving her and France was a Savior so many odds were against success.Sydney is progressing more than I ever thought possible and it is because of each and everyone of you supporting her your prayers count so much. She is a special baby I follow her progress every day and wow how far she has come and so full of love.For Sydney keep sharing her story let no stone be unturned in helping her we can make a difference and I thank you all!
Words cannot express how sad and wonderful this story is. Poor baby Sydney...what torture she endured and carried on. I praise the Lord for leading you to her and saving her life! Thank you for all the love and care and support . What an amazing place for these animals to live at! I sent a small donation via Paypal for Sydney's care. You are wonderful Angels of Love!
Donated...........I wish Sydney a very long and pain free life:)
Donation sent! Sydney is my dream dog. Who wouldn't love to live with a beautiful, big mastiff?? I hope the rest of her precious life is wonderful and pain-free.
donated! This sickens me. Please tell me someone will pay for what they have done to this poor dog.
Sent donation. Poor baby! I wish Sydney and all of you who are working so hard to heal her all the best. Thank you.
Donation Sent!...Good luck to Sydney with her surgery and thank you to all who contribute towards her future well being and to Valley Mastiff Rescue for helping her.
I am SO happy to see Sydney doing so much better. I will be awaiting the outcome of her surgery the 17th of this month as well! Praying for a total and rapid recovery with no pain ever again. God bless this angel and you all as well for saving her and giving her a chance to really "live"... <3
I knew I felt a connection with this dog, she will be having her surgery on my Birthday Sept. 17th.......I was glad to give the little bit of money that I could afford....she deserves to live a pain free life...Thanks to all of you caring for her....the light is coming back in her eyes....
Thank you so much to all that have extended their love to Sydney and donated for her surgeries. Her 1st surgery is sheduled for September 17th. We will keep you all updated on her progress. Keep sharing her story and again, from Sydney and all of us at Valley Mastiff Rescue, thank you for your support and wishes of love.
Thank you for the update on Sydney....so cute to see her rolling in the grass.....precious!! Keep us posted on her recovery....
Poor poor Sydney, but what a brave girl! I have donated $10 as its as much as I could afford. I hope you get all the money needed to help her. She deserves a pain free love filled life. Please do keep us all updated xxx
France Turcotte thank you for the update on Sidney, I did watch the video, and and when I seen her feet it remindede of 5Houndpuppies we found in a cardboard box pn the side of the road. They could barly walk on there paws they were that malnorished.I'm glad that Sidney will have a painfree life after her Surgery, I also hope you understood what I was trying to say. Thank you for all that you do!
Regina, I assure you Sydney is not sick. She has gained 18 pounds in 6 weeks and is happy. Please watch this video and witness her joy and progress. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pO2g2_A_j9U Her issues are ortheapedic and can be fixed surgically, this will give her not only a pain free life but a long happy life at our sanctuary. Sydney is more than welcome to make the sanctuary her forever home if an adoptive home does not come along.
I know there are a lot of people that won't agree with me and think that I'm cruel, but I think when an animal is that sick and does not have a good quality of life,they need to end its life humanly. How many people are willing to adopt a dog with that many medical issues. I have 4 animals myself but there is a limit of what I will put them through!
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