Pets & Pals Feature Bambi

Pets & Pals Feature Bambi


Owned by Debbie & Joe Rpezka

Bambi has it rough, but she doesn’t notice. Most dogs with her condition of chronic kidney failure would be gone; they wouldn’t have made it past a few years old, but she’s a happy 10. Luckily for Bambi, she was blessed with some wonderful owners, Debbie and Joe Rpezka.

Joe and Debbie had recently lost their dog, Sheba, due to cancer whey decided to look online in 2004 at adoption.  They found a tiny, black-and-white pit bull puppy, about five-months-old in the Hamilton New Jersey Animal Shelter. Debbie said it were the two pink spots on her head and chest that captured their hearts.

After they moved to The Village of Amelia in The Villages, FL., they noticed Bambi was not adapting well. The couple brought her to Buffalo Ridge Animal Hospital to treat pustules forming on the dog’s paws. The staff discovered she had an allergy to grass.

For a few years, the Rpezka’s thought they had Bambi’s issues taken care of until scabs began to form across her torso, stomach and head. They thought it was another allergy until the problem didn’t go away. Fearing Bambi’s condition was worsening, they took her back to BRAH.

“Dr. Sexton was in charge of her care at that time, and I said, ‘We just need to find out what this is,’” Debbie explained. “Our first dog developed a skin condition and that’s what led us to discover she had cancer, so I was really concerned, but Bambi didn’t (have it).”

What they discovered was the pit bull had extreme kidney test readings. Unable to operate due to risk of losing her, Bamabi and her owners were sent to Gainesville. It was in 2013 the Rpezka’s were told Bambi had chronic kidney failure due to unknown causes. They spoke to animal dermatologists and had numerous tests done.

Bambi was prescribed fluid treatments six days a week. Luckily, Buffalo Ridge Animal hospital was able to determine some payment relief options for the Rpezka’s. Today, Bambi is reduced to only having to be treated four times a week with fluids.

“She is holding her own,” Debbie said. “The kidneys will never get better.”

In the past year since Bambi’s diagnoses, she’s had a few close calls, some changes to her medicine and her diet; no one would ever tell she has a health condition.  And because she is at Buffalo Ridge Animal Hospital so often, the staff genuinely loves her, Debbi said.

“I can’t say enough about your staff. They really have helped her and they like her,” she said. “She’s a handful; she wants it her way, but they love her. It’s just wonderful.”

When she isn’t going to the clinic, she resides to her spot on the guest bed looking out the window at what’s going on in their neighborhood. She can also be found napping in the sun on the lania, begging for belly rubs, playing soccer by bumping the ball with her head, and rolling in the grass - much to her owner’s disapproval.

Bambi loves everyone, Debbie said. She jumps in the car and golf cart, ready for her evening ride or to visit the vet.  Some people would have been overwhelmed by the demands or felt it was in Bambi’s best interest to put her down due to her incurable condition. But, Debbie says Bambi has blessed her and her husband.

“She’s a happy dog. She knows she’s going to the vet, she is glad when she’s going for a ride. She’s a pain in the butt sometimes because she can’t keep her mouth shut,” Debbie mused. “But, she’s just worth every penny.”

Debbie continued, “She’s not ready to cash in. We work around her. It gives you a purpose. It helps you understand, even people, because they all go through the same thing. It helps make you a little more tolerant.”  

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