Peso Needs A Forever Home And Bilateral Luxating Patella Surgeries

It’s hard to believe that anyone would just throw away a dog. But as a pet lover, I don’t often understand all the circumstances that bring animals into shelters abandoned and unloved.

Peso, a 6 pound Chihuahua Terrier mix, is currently lying in a pile of blankets at my feet, seemingly unaffected by his past abandonment. This is why I love dogs so much. And this is why I find Peso’s situation one that needs to be told.

PUP (People United for Pets), rescued Peso from the Merced, California high kill shelter. He is currently at a foster home. Peso has luxating patellas—an all too common condition in small breeds—and he needs surgery on both knees.

It is quite likely that his condition is why poor Peso got dumped in the first place!

Most often, luxating patella are a result of a congenital defect, meaning the knees have not developed properly. Breeds commonly affected by this condition are Affenpinscher, Brussels griffon, Chihuahua, English toy spaniel, Greyhound, Japanese spaniel, Maltese, Manchester terrier, Miniature pinscher, Papillon, Pekingese, Pomeranian, Poodle, Pug, Shih tzu, Silky terrier, and Yorkshire terrier. (source: Veterinary Partner)

What is a luxating patella?

The condition is much easier to understand when put into plain English. Patella is a fancy word for a kneecap, the bone that normally sits centered over the front of the knee. Luxation means displacement or  dislocation. 

In other words, the kneecap won't stay where it belongs and moves, or dislocates, out of it's proper position.

This causes pain and lameness until the kneecap returns to its normal position. In many cases a dog will hold up its hind leg and “skip” for a few strides.

Normally, the kneecap slides in a groove at the bottom of the thigh bone, secured in place by ligaments. When the groove is too shallow, the kneecap will slip out when the knee is bent. It can slip out either towards the inside of the knee (medial luxation) or to the outside of the knee (lateral luxation).

Medial luxation is most common, particularly in small breed dogs.

Every time the kneecap slips out it wears down the ridges that are supposed to help hold it in place making it that much easier to slip out the next time and contributing to decreased mobility and arthritis.

This condition varies in severity and is graded accordingly.
Grade 1:  The kneecap can be pushed out of position but pops back into normal alignment on its own.
Grade 2:  The kneecap can be pushed out of position and does not move back into normal alignment on its own.
Grade 3:  The kneecap is dislocated at all times but can be pushed back into normal alignment.
Grade 4:  The kneecap is dislocated at all times and cannot be pushed back into normal
Dogs with grade 1 luxating patellas do not need surgical repair. For dogs with grade 2 knees, it is a judgment call. Dogs suffering from grade 3 or 4 luxating patellas absolutely need surgery to ward off crippling and painful degeneration of their knees.

Peso has bi-lateral grade 3 luxating patellas.

Unfortunately since he is a foster dog there are no funds to pay for the surgery that he needs, and no family has been willing to adopt him with that fee looming over his head. PUP has found a doctor in Issaquah who has agreed to do the surgery for $2,500.00, so at this point we are just trying to spread the word.

It’s sad that Peso has this condition, especially since he sprints around the house like a little pony, pouncing on his toys, and pretending to be coy and hiding under the table to surprise me when I walk by. His little nub of a tail wiggles with excitement whenever he hears his name. He sits patiently at the entrance to the kitchen while I make his breakfast, and has these ears that perk up and down – it’s almost like his own, personal form of sign language..

He’s melted my heart, and the hearts of all who’ve met him. His condition doesn't affect his attitude—even though he walks funny—he is full of life and love. My mother calls him an “adorable dog with the funniest looking hair, but the sweetest personality.”

Peso's surgery bill seems to be the major factor preventing this little guy from finding a permanent home.

So PUP came up with the idea of Pesos for Peso and opened Peso's Surgery Fund to receive donations.  I have no doubt that Peso will eventually make someone a great partner in crime!

Here's a little background on PUP and Peso:

So PUP came up with the idea of Pesos for Peso and opened Peso's Surgery Fund. We hope that this surgery will guarantee him a happy home.

Peso is a male Chihuahua/terrier mix. He is approximately 3 years old, underweight at 6 lbs. He is house-trained and crate-trained. He gets along with other dogs. He can be given to a home with dog respectful children 10 years or older. Adoption fee is $225.

Peso is neutered and microchipped. He is current on his rabies, DHPP, and bordetella. He has been dewormed and flea treated. In spite of his luxating patellas he loves and enjoys his daily 2-mile walks!  Potential adopters are welcome to speak with our vet, once their application is approved.

If you think you have room in your home and heart for this dog and you reside within Washington State, please go to PUP’s Adoption Information page. 

There you will find more information and be able to fill out an adoption application.

Let's help Peso get his surgery so he can find his forever home! 
Update on Peso
November 29th 2010

Peso found a forever home! Still needs funds for his surgeries!

Quick links:
Petfinder link:
PUP’s Twitter:
PUP’s Facebook:
Peso’s Photos:

Further reading:
Luxating patella
Congenital Patellar Luxation
Medial Luxating Patella
Luxating Patella in Dogs


  1. Thank you so much for covering this topic and especially covering the rescue dog charity PUP. What you are doing is great!

  2. I want to send a check to Pesos for Peso ... to what address can I send it?

  3. Dear Michele. Thank you so much for wanting to help Peso! Please talk to @PUPDogRescue on twitter, or email (that's the foster mom)

    I will also talk to her to get the info.

  4. Michele Laboda, thank you so much! You can send your check to:

    People United for Pets
    P.O. Box 1691
    Issaquah, WA 98027
    Attn: "Pesos 4 Peso"

    Or you can make a donation via the Paypal site found on Petfinder:

    Peso says "Thank you!!!"

  5. I'll put a check in the mail later this week ... tell Peso it's from his fellow Merced refugee, Dyadya (formerly Bandit), who has the same condition in one of his knees (but not so severe, I believe).

  6. Dear Michele. Thank you so much on behalf of Peso! Hugs and good vibes to you and Dyadya!

  7. Thanks to everyone so far! Pesos 4 Peso has reached $200! Still $2300 to go, but a great start so far!

  8. Pesos 4 Peso is now at $340, only $2,160 to go! THX to our PUP supporters and fellow animal lovers!

  9. Thanks for writing this article - my little guy has grade 2, and I've debated off and on whether to get the surgery. For now, I'm giving him plenty of glucosamine/chondroiton, and so far it really seems to be helping!

  10. Last I heard $600 has been collected, and one potential forever parent inquiry.

  11. I am so happy to hear Peso found a permanent home! Any updates about how much money is still needed for his surgery?

  12. Dear Britt, my last update is that $1860 is still needed! :-o


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