Kelly Sayer has always loved animals, advocating for their welfare her entire life and choosing a career as a veterinary technician when she was just 18.
Now married with four children, Sayer is still an animal welfare advocate, but has found a special niche in caring for puppies born with a cleft lip and palate.
Sayer told Liftable, a section of The Western Journal, that she and her husband had always fostered and rescued dogs in need.
But after the birth of their fourth baby, Landon, the Sayer’s had to put their foster and rescue efforts on pause.
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Foster puppy in the house!! Everybody meet Bogart, he was born with a bi lateral cleft lip and palate!!!! I will be tube feeding him every 3 hours, another cleftie in this house is pretty excited!!!! Landon loves Bogart!!! #cleftstrong #cleftpuppy #adoptdontshop #rescue #fredsfriends @ff_mrfignewton @zack_of_alltrades @cleftclub @travissayer
Landon was born with a severe cleft lip and palate, and caring for his medical needs became all-consuming.
“When he was born we were unable to do much with rescue work because we were so busy with him and our new normal,” Sayer said. “Feeding Landon was very difficult and his cleft was pretty severe so his first few months were pretty stressful.”
“He had to be at the doctor’s daily, we had to feed him with special bottles and check his weight constantly.”
At 8 months old, Landon had the first of many surgeries on his lip.
“After that, the surgeries just kept coming and they were very difficult,” Sayer said.
Landon’s medical needs were hard on the entire family, and as Landon grew up, he began to realize that his life looked a bit different than that of those around him.
“As Landon was getting older he was becoming more self aware and sometimes things would be said to him that were upsetting,” Sayer told Liftable. “I realized at that time that we should start fostering animals again.”
Sayer let her local rescue center know that her family wanted to resume fostering again, and that very day, two puppies that had been found in a dumpster were brought into their home.
The experience proved to be just the dose of medicine the entire family needed.
“Everyone in the house changed, so much happiness and joy was in the house just having those two precious foster puppies,” Sayer said.
The family wholeheartedly agreed to continue with their fostering efforts, and when Sayer noticed that several puppies with a cleft palate were brought to the rescue, she mentioned that she had the experience to care for them.
“And that’s when received Bartleby Bogart. He was born with the same side cleft lip and palate as Landon,” Sayer said.
“He was our doggy angel. Landon couldn’t believe this sweet tiny baby had what he had.”
As Bogart began to grow physically, his emotional connection to Landon grew as well. While Bogart loves everyone in the family, it appears that Landon is definitely the pup’s favorite.
“They have been inseparable since. True soulmates,” Sayer said. “Bogart is the most wonderful dog with the cutest cleft lip I’ve ever seen and he has helped Landon get through so much.”
“He lays on him when he’s recovering from surgery, they play every day, sleep together every night. They are so bonded in so many ways!”
Even though Bogart started out as a foster puppy, it was clear that he needed to have a permanent place as a member of the Sayer family.
The family continues to foster puppies with cleft palates and other puppies with special needs, a niche that perfectly suits this incredible family.
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