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Stray Shih Tzu Found on Stoop the Day after Christmas Needs Surgery for Broken Heart

A matted, dirty and scared Shih Tzu found shivering on a Dorchester doorstep the day after Christmas is resting at the MSPCA-Angell in Boston—but is still not out of the woods because veterinarians discovered a heart condition that could dramatically shorten her life if left untreated.

“Petie,” as she has come to be called by staffers at the MSPCA’s Jamaica Plain adoption center, was rescued by the Boston Animal Control department after a city resident reported the one-year-old dog resting on their front steps. The dog wore no collar or identification tags (and is not microchipped), rendering any search for an owner fruitless.

The resident on whose porch Petie sought refuge rushed the frightened canine to Boston’s animal care and control shelter in Roslindale, where her severely matted fur was shaved.

An evaluation revealed potential heart problems and Petie was taken to the MSPCA’s Angell Animal Medical Center on Dec. 30 for further tests.

A Broken Heart Needs Mending

Once at the MSPCA Petie was evaluated by Dr. Katie Hogan of Angell’s Cardiology service. “As soon as I placed the stethoscope over her heart I knew her condition was serious—and that it would require surgery,” said Dr. Hogan.

Dr. Hogan diagnosed Petie with Patent Ductus Arteriosus (PDA), a condition marked by a blood vessel outside the heart that does not close properly after birth. If left untreated the condition leads to congestive heart failure and death but, with surgery, Petie would be expected to live a normal life span.

“Given her young age and otherwise good health I believe she’s an excellent candidate for a minimally-invasive procedure to fix her heart,” said Dr. Hogan of the procedure that enables access to Petie’s heart via an artery in her leg vs. performing an open-chest surgery.

“This will significantly shorten her recovery time and—perhaps—ensure she can convalesce in a new, adoptive home.”

Call for Donations

Petie’s surgery is expected to cost over $3,500 and the MSPCA’s Boston adoption center has issued an urgent call for donations. Readers interested in donating toward the cost of Petie’s care, and other animals like her, can click

Petie is expected to recover fully and adoption center manager Alyssa Krieger hopes her story will inspire adopters to step forward. “We’re pulling out all of the stops for Petie to help make 2017 her best year and we hope those inspired by her will continue to support our good work in the year ahead.”

Anyone interested in adopted Petie can contact the MSPCA’s Boston adoption center directly at