From Disaster to Happily Ever After for Princess Blueberry Hippo

August 18, 2021

When disaster strikes, we are thankful to have devoted Guardians like you by our side. Your monthly support provides a reliable source of funds so we can be ready for emergency situations. One dog named Princess Blueberry Hippo, was assisted by the ASPCA after a hurricane last year.

Animals in distress, like Princess Blueberry Hippo, can count on devoted friends like you in their time of need. Thank you for your support—your dedication to help animals is why you are a cherished Guardian. Your dollars are at work every day helping to rescue animals, save lives and create happy stories like hers:

Days after Hurricane Laura made landfall in Louisiana, officers at Calcasieu Parish Animal Services (CPAS) in Lake Charles, found a stray female English Bulldog-mix.

In distress from severe heat exhaustion, the three-year-old dog required immediate lifesaving measures to reduce her core body temperature. She also suffered from multiple health conditions including intestinal parasites, hair loss, poor skin, mange, flea infestation, excessive debris in both ears, and inflammation in the tear glands of both eyes.

The hurricane had significantly damaged CPAS so the dog was taken to the ASPCA’s temporary shelter nearby. Showing remarkable resilience and a sweet disposition despite her ailments, she soon became a favorite among ASPCA staff and volunteers.

“She was a medical mess,” says Jessica Rushin, Director of Placement Partnerships for the ASPCA National Field Response team. “But she brightened our days. We came across hundreds of animals after this disaster, but none was quite as memorable as this little lady.”

A Charismatic Canine

The 47 lb. wrinkly pooch was eventually named Princess Blueberry Hippo—also more simply known as Blue.

“She was like this squishy gargoyle,” says Lacie Davis, Former Manager and Animal Rescue Technician for the ASPCA. “A total diva. She’d waddle out for a walk and quickly waddle back to the much-needed air conditioning.”

On October 8, Blue was transported to the SPCA of Texas in Dallas, where their Foster Coordinator, Tommie Anderson, decided to take on fostering the cuddly canine.

“[Blue] was a last-minute add-on to the roster,” says Tommie. “But when I saw her, I knew I wanted to foster her.”

At the SPCA of Texas, it was determined that Blue’s medical issues would take at least six weeks to treat. Like the ASPCA team, SPCA of Texas staff fell in love with Blue’s sweet, gentle personality and her strong desire to receive and give affection.

“She leaned into our staff for all the love she could get,” says Madeline Yeaman Arnold, SPCA of Texas’ Senior Marketing/Communications Specialist. “She even curled up at our feet.”

Veterinarians prescribed a multitude of medications to treat Blue’s conditions, including steroids, antibiotics, antifungals, a prescription diet, eye and ear medications, and medicated shampoo for twice-a-week baths.

“Within a week, Blue’s skin showed signs of improvement and her hair began to grow back,” says Madeline.

Expanding Blue’s Circle of Friends

Blue often accompanied Tommie to work, delighting staff with her personality and progress. At home, she got plenty of attention from Tommie’s husband and their two young children, as well as the family’s four dogs and cat.

“She was great with everyone,” says Tommie, who fostered Blue for nearly seven weeks. “She’s just the sweetest, easiest dog we’ve had and loves to give hugs.”

Blue’s circle of friends widened even further at the Veterinary Eye Institute in Plano, Texas, where specialists performed surgery to correct a condition known as entropion—where the eyelids roll inward and scratch the eyes—commonly found in bulldog and other short-nosed breeds.

“Blue lit up the room the minute she came in—everyone just loved her,” says Cara King, a veterinary technician at the Eye Institute. “When I learned she was available for adoption, I couldn’t believe it.”

Cara’s family lost their yellow Labrador, Sassy, to cancer last May and had wanted a new dog ever since. In December, Cara, who has experience caring for dogs with medical and behavior challenges, took over as Blue’s foster caregiver.

A New Beginning for Blue

Blue immediately blended in with her new foster family: Cara’s husband, Will; their five-year-old son, Max; Cara’s brother-in-law Ty; and a nine-year-old tabby named Tora.

“Without Sassy, Max was very lonely,” says Cara. “He learned so much about how to be gentle and how to play with her, and I knew he would benefit from a dog like Blue who could match his energy and teach him boundaries.”

The family adopted Blue on January 13, and her companionship quickly became a valuable source of support when Will was laid off from his job during COVID-19.

“Will’s layoff was a blow,” says Cara, “But we’re much happier with a dog in the home. After Will and Blue play fetch, his mood is 100 percent better.”

Blue’s happy story demonstrates the resilience of our nation’s animals and that there is hope even in the dark times of a disaster.

September is National Preparedness Month and a reminder of the important role supporters like you play in our swift response to disasters nationwide. For animals like Princess Blueberry Hippo and communities impacted by devastating disasters, ASPCA Guardians are a beacon of hope for which you are appreciated and cherished.