Parents Of Parvo-Infected Pup Warn Others Looking To Adopt

By Esme Murphy, WCCO-TV

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Many people who decide to get a dog turn to rescue associations.

It’s a way to get a wonderful animal, often at a lesser cost and to support the work these associations and rescue groups do.

But for one young couple an adoption went terribly wrong. Their puppy had a deadly illness and they spent more than $1,000 on vet bills.

Jill and Steve Buus charge that Paws for a Cause knew the puppy they adopted had parvo virus. Parvo is highly contagious and kills 90 percent of the dogs that get it.

Parvo can result in cardiac arrest, or in its intestinal form, results in severe diarrhea and vomiting.

The day after they adopted 3-month-old Trooper the Buus’s got a call from the rescue group telling them their new puppy had been exposed to Parvo.

For the couple, it has meant round the clock treatment including injecting the dog with fluids, extensive antibiotics and even a hospital stay.

They said no one ever told them when they adopted Trooper that another puppy in the same shelter home had died of Parvo.

“They knew that the puppy was sick and they adopted it out anyways,” Steven Buus said.

According to the founder of Paws for a Cause, this was a terrible mistake.

“We should never have let that puppy out of the house,” Heidi Harden said. “That is very true.”

Hardin founded Paws for a Cause three yeas ago. Hardin said Paws has helped save and adopt 700 dogs.

“This was our first litter of Parvo puppies so there were some learning experiences with this,” she said.

Hardin said Paws offered to take the dog back and pay for the organization’s vet to treat Trooper but the Buus’s said no way.

“You see the guy and he is just adorable,” Jill Buus said. “It would have been a death sentence sending him back to that house.”

So the Buus’s spent more than $1,000 on treatments at their own vet. Trooper is making a remarkable recovery. But since the virus lives a long time, the Buus’s home and yard remain infected — any puppy that comes onto their property could get the virus.

Jill offered this advice to others looking to adopt a pet: “If you are adopting through these places that you do get full disclosure and you do get them checked out at a vet.”

The Buus’s have been told that their yard and home could remain infected for a year. Humans can not get Parvo. Paws for a Cause has 12 other puppies that are also being treated for Parvo, two more of their puppies have died.

The group website now discloses that they do have puppies with the virus.

More from Esme Murphy
  • Judy

    VERY sad situation, but Im happy to hear Trooper is doing much better. Like you, I rescued a dog from a shelter. In the short time we spent with each other a bond develops that you could not imagine breaking. The Rescue I used advised a Vet check her over, get any needed vacinations, and of course getting her spayed within 30 days. Having to have her fixed was disappointing as she is a Affenpinscher. She is the absolute BEST little girl, AND she adopted me. She had to know she was going to get spoiled with tons of love.

    • HB volunteer

      Really? It’s disappointing that you could not breed your dog? You are the reason that rescues exist. There are too many dogs in the world and people think they can breed them, make a quick buck and move on. Shelters are over crowded and thousands are euthanized every year in every state! Shame on someone who wants to breed their dog….

    • Karen Kelly

      People who breed their pets are the reason so many die in shelters.

  • Really?

    “Parents” Since when did “owners” of an animal become “parents.” We need to keep a “reality check” on the fact that animals are animals, and people are people. God made animals as a companion and food for man, not equals or our children.

    • Dolores

      EXCUSE ME?
      It is not up to you to define anyone’s relationship with their dog.
      For many people, their dog is very much a family member, and has been adopted and is loved as any child would be.
      YOU, and PEOPLE LIKE YOU, need to get a reality check.
      There are MANY of us in this world who DO NOT share your view, do not eat animals, and do consider that animals are to be loved, respected, and cared for as we all should do with members of our family.

      • Rosie

        Well said.

    • HB Volunteer

      Dog owners do see themselves at parents. I have 3 sons and 3 dogs. When you are a responsible dog owner, you take care of your dogs like you do your kids and health care is not an option it is a must. You don’t just trade your dog back in for a healthier one.
      God had Noah build an Ark for the animals, that’s a “reality check”!

    • Karen Kelly

      Didn’t God create Eve as a companion for Adam? What does that make women?

  • Pork Chop Guy

    It is a dog. There are a million more of them out there. Sorry to the owners, put they were willing to take the dog back.

    • Dolores

      Hey Pork Chop Guy!
      There are a million more men, just like you in the world.
      Maybe when you get sick your family should just dump YOU and find a new MALE for their family.
      After all, the likes of you are a dime a dozen.

    • HB volunteer

      Really Pork Chop Guy? That’s the problem -there are a million more out there that need to be adopted. Animals are not expendable. Obviously, you are not an animal lover and should not own an animal.

  • Heidi Harden

    As far as a death sentence goes…we managed to save 12 of the 14 parvo puppies….so much better odds that the 90% attrition rate!

  • Heidi Harden

    And really – we did everything we could to help this family. We offered round the clock vet care, we offered them their money back. Unfortunately, Esme seemed to have skipped over that part of the interview. Really disappointing, the one sidedness of this interview. I wonder if any of you realize how detrimental this COULD have been to the organization. 700 dogs adopted, 1 sick dog who we tried every avenue with the adopters. Shame on all of you for not considering the bigger picture.;

    • Karen Kelly

      This story was stunningly one-sided. Wow!

  • Bill

    While I think it’s great that this family adopted and saved this puppy I do feel this story is a little one sided. I’ve always had dogs and would never think of returning one to get my money back as they become a part of your family. I think both sides are doing something good. The family adopted a wonderful puppy and Paws for a Cause is rescuing many great companions that would otherwise be put down. I think both sides have Troopers health and well being in their best interests.

    • Dolores

      BRAVO Bill.
      You got it right.

  • Doglover

    The media is all about making a “good” story. Don’t let the comments and missing pieces overshadow all the good that you do!

  • dave

    an instant cure for parvo….is benadrill…tho the vets surly wont tell you this

    • Heidi Harden

      Just so no one takes this advice: Benadryl can help some of the symptoms that a dog might experience from it’s first parvo vaccine – some dogs take it better than others – but in a full blown outbreak of Parvo, Benadryl has no affect whatsoever.

  • kathy

    Shame on Esme and Amelia at the 6:00 news for such one-sided reporting on this issue! The rescue offered to take the dog back and treat it at their expense, and you had the nerve to report that giving it back to the rescue was a death sentence? Shame on you for going for the “shock factor” instead of reporting what this rescue tried to do. They notified the owner that they found the problem. It’s not like they tried to hide anything – but we won’t know that because you blew off the rescue in your reporting. The adopters were uncooperative with the rescue if you ask me. And SHAME on you for painting Rescue as a bad option. You should be ashamed! Your reporting was SO unbalanced. There are millions of people across the country volunteering hundreds of hours every year saving the dogs that others throw away. We take these dogs in to our homes, we drive thousands of miles, we pay thousands out of our own pockets to save animals that irresponsible owners throw away. We have thousands of vets that work with us and help us. We are constantly fund raising and raising awareness of overpopulation and pet owner responsibility. We screen our applicants so those dogs are placed in excellent homes and not be tossed aside again. We spend sleepless nights with sick and injured dogs, nursing the back to health over weeks and months, and then let our hearts break every time we place those foster dogs with a new family.

    Tell the whole story next time. You did all rescues a huge disservice with this one-sided story. Shame on you.

    • Dolores

      This kind of shoddy reporting is EXACTLY WHY I have stopped watching any and all local news programs. Minnesota news people seem to be all about DRAMA at the expense of factual, in-depth, HONEST journalism.
      SHAME ON YOU, Esme and Amelia. You know that you have an ethical standard to uphold. This kind of Biased reporting puts all rescues at a disadvantage….not to mention the many good dogs who are in those rescues. You also need to FIX this story and admit your errors.

  • Tammy Rose

    I agree Heidi. This was so strange. What exactly was the story here? Are they trying to insinuate that rescues are not good places to adopt a dog? Or suggest that these people were some how duped into buying a sick dog? Or that they had to pay for their dog’s vet bills, even though you offered to pay for the care. It sounded to me that you did everything you could to make this situation good for the family financially. Really disappointed in Esme’s reporting on this.

  • Adoptedadog

    Go to Paws for a Cause’s website and decide for yourself.

    WCCO, I am quite disappointed on this one sided story. We adopted our dog from a different rescue, resources are scarce as it is, and to give a rescue a bad name when you haven’t done a proper investigation? Shame on you indeed, you could cost this rescue invaluable resources that could keep “discarded” dogs alive.

  • Animal Lover

    Animal rescues are a wonderful place to find a pet. Rescue organizations such as this one are operating with the intent to help and rehome animals. Rescue animals most likely have had more vetting that any dog you will find from a pet store, puppy mill or online ad. This care is possible thanks to donors and volunteers who care and provide for these unwanted animals. Rescues are there to support you for the life of your pet and have the pet’s intentions at heart.

    Rescuing pets is a wonderful gift to give yourself and an animal. Always remember you save two pets for every one you adopt. The one you give a wonderful life to and the one you made room for in shelter or rescue across the country! I hope this article does not hold anyone back from saving a well-deserving animal looking for a good home- this case is not the average adoption story!

  • collielover

    Before I got my puppy, she was exposed to Parvo at the Vets office. I think 4 of her sibilings came down with it and 2 died. They were there for a Vet check and vaccines. They can pick it up anywhere. I agree with the others. Story slanted to make rescue sound bad. Just trying to make the story sound more like a big bru haha than it is.

  • Rescue Rocks

    WCCO, Esme, and the family all did a huge disservice to the rescue community as a whole with their one sided reporting and delivery of this story. The potential damage done not only to Paws for a Cause but to rescue organizations all over was obviously not even considered when this story aired. Next time get your facts straight and give both sides of the story. I’m very disappointed in this family for how poorly they handled the situation but worse yet is the media for showcasing this. Shame on you all.

  • Doglover

    I bought a springer pup from a breeder and it turned out that he had parvo. It is just another thing you have to deal with when you get a dog. We ended up losing our puppy.

  • Puppy Owner

    Paws For A Cause is awesome! Heidi and the foster that I met genuinely care about all of these dogs. I believe that they would go to any lenghts to save a dog. Dogs get parvo…it happens. I adopted Trooper’s brother Romeo and according to his vet he is the epitome of health. Hopefully Trooper and the rest of the surviving pups will not have any long lasting effects.

  • Heidi Harden

    I am very, very glad to report that beyond our initial loss of 2 puppies very early on, every one of the other twelve have come through this ordeal and are now eating, drinking and playing like puppies should – Rascal included. And it’s heartwarming to see the response to this story. Steven Buus and his family quite obviously thought no further than their own fear and anger with this issue and didn’t consider the harm they potentially offered our organization. While we completely understand how horrible this situation was for them – we did it times twelve – I am at a loss to understand what more we could have offered this family. It’s very sad when reasonable adults don’t take the time to consider their own actions, but in the long run, given the replies here, the emails and phone calls of support that have kept us scrambling since six o’clock last night and the support through donations that we’ve’s obvious to us how the public feels.

  • Pat Petry

    Years ago, before I knew the right thing to do is “adopt” not “shop”, I got a dog from a pet store, it had parvo. My dog lived and I was lucky, some don’t make it. After that, I adopted a dog from an area rescue. Parvo can hit any dog, anywhere, from any place….. and rescues may not know a dog has parvo until it starts to show signs (duh). People should never buy, while so many dogs die, this rescue and others across the country, have puppies, adults, seniors, purebred, mixes, everything, all temperment tested and all have shots etc, this rescue does wonderful work, maybe you should do a story on all the wonderful dogs they have saved from being euthanized, and all the happy owners so glad they went to this rescue, 1 case out of hundreds of success stories is what you are going to find.

  • rescue volunteer

    people should ask to see vet records before you adopt from anywhere.

  • Deb Kuehl

    I too am disappointed in how one sided this story is. Paws for Cause is a well respected rescue. Parvo is most common in puppies and it is a tough disease. But, parvo can happen anywhere there are puppies – breeders, puppy mills, stores that sell puppies, humane societies, and rescues. Paws for Cause saves many dogs that would otherwise be euthanized – not just puppies, but adult dogs, dogs with special needs, purebreed and mixed breeds.

    I volunteer with another rescue, but know Heidi and have immense respect for her and her rescue. This article, while it may not be the intent, could really hurt rescues. Rescuers spend their time and their own dollars saving animals that otherwise would have no chance. Please do some research and publish an article that has more facts.

  • Deb Kuehl

    Paws for Cause has information on their website regarding the parvo puppies. If you want facts from a knowledgable source, you should read this.

  • Rescue Foster Home Volunteer

    WCCO did a disservice to the great rescue groups out there by presenting this story. Paws for a Cause did not know of the parvo outbreak before the adoption was finalized. As soon as they knew about the issue, they notified the adoptive family, and offered to take the dog back and/or treat the dog for the family so they wouldn’t be out the money. This was not a situation of “the only solution is to surrender the dog” and the dog would NOT have been sent back to the same house and a “death sentance”. I believe Ms Hardin’s quote of “We should never have let that puppy out of the house,” was an expression of REGRET, and not one of knowing ahead of time that the dog was sick. Shame on you, WCCO, for presenting shuch a potentially hurtful story, and driving people to support puppy mills instead of rescues!

  • Katie Johnson

    While I understand how upsetting it can be to pay unexpected vet bills and sympathize with the Buus’ in the regard, their taking of this story to the news and doing a disservice to an amazing cause like animal rescue is very shameful. I would love to know what they hoped to gain from this. Do they want people to stop rescuing helpless animals? Do they want more dogs to be destroyed in shelters? Do they want people to stop taking action when animals are abused or neglected? Are they hoping for more people to support backyard breeding? Mr. and Mrs. Buus, we NEED rescues so please stop “warning” people about rescue organizations because of something unfortunate that happened to you. Any puppy could contract Parvo from the vet, from a dog park, from doggy daycare. Do your research. I adopted a dog and had to pay for 5 unexpected vet appointment and 3 weeks of antibiotics for parasites, but I am educated enough to understand that this happens and in no way wanted to jeopardize the integrity of the rescue organization and blame them for something completely out of their control when they do so much good for NO PROFIT. Even worse, shame on you WCCO for reporting a one sided story that clearly did not include research. I find the title appalling. I am extremely disappointed for a news source to “warn” others not to adopt homeless animals. Where do you suggest people find their pets? Care to do a story on puppy mills, WCCO? I will find my news elsewhere.

  • bad journalism

    If it gives you any indication of how legit this reporting is, notice how the rescue founder’s name is spelled differently in the same paragraph. Harden or Hardin? Nice job WCCO. If you’re going to get it completely wrong, at least be consistent with your proofreading.

  • Vikki Pfeilsticker

    Hmmmm….as a former Journalism major turned Communications major, this was one of the reasons I walked away. It’s all about selling the sensational story. They’ll say that they showed both sides of the story. But it really was rather one-sided.

    Heidi, I think your comments and your organization are to be commended.

    Thank you for loving animals. You have sacrificed so much in the name of rescue and I believe you and Paws for a Cause did the right thing here.

blog comments powered by Disqus
Thursday Night Football

Listen Live