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Bert, Ernie, and Others Need You

Heart surgery. Those two words conjure up a lot of anxiety. That beating, pumping workhorse inside each of us is so powerful and yet can be so fragile. A few months ago, we at Copper’s Dream Rescue saved two young puppy brothers from the Madera shelter, Bert and Ernie, and it became clear that something wasn’t quite right with their little hearts.

For each dog we save, we’re committed to not only finding them the best possible homes, but also ensuring they have all the medical care they need to maximize their precious second chance. This commitment is certainly expensive, but fundamental, because these dogs are trusting us with their lives, in every way.

Through initial veterinary visits and follow-ups with specialists, Bert and Ernie were diagnosed with severe pulmonary stenosis, which means their hearts were having a hard time getting the blood flow they needed. Without intervention, their lives would be cut short, so the choice was clear. They went in for surgery on Sept. 10, and their operations went as well as they could for each of their respective cases. With daily medication (which is gratefully very affordable), they’re expected to live much longer lives — up to 10 years or more.

Bert and Ernie are now 7 months old and patiently waiting for their forever homes — for adopters who will look past that anxious “heart surgery” label and see them for the bright-eyed, playful, affectionate, and loyal pups that they are. Ernie is fostered with another dog and a cat (who he acknowledges is queen), and Bert is in a temporary foster home and could use some stable digs while he waits for his people to discover and adopt him.

Throughout all the poking and prodding leading up to surgery, and throughout their recovery, these delightful boys have maintained their happy-go-lucky spirits. Through Bert and Ernie, and the rest of our Copper’s Dream pups, we’re reminded time and again how resilient dogs are. On the medical front, we also have Buster Brown, our three-legged sweetheart recovering from TPLO surgery on his remaining back leg, and Gwendolyn, our one-eyed joyful Corgi. And apart from physical challenges, we have rescued dogs abandoned in cardboard boxes in empty fields, tied up to trees on flooding riverbanks, and left in backyards when their “families” move out. All of these pups have demonstrated a tremendous ability to adapt, trust, and give us humans the benefit of the doubt. We see the best of this world in the pups we save.

And for each of these dogs, there’s a community that has rallied behind them. From the shelter volunteer who advocated for their safety, to the amazing foster home whose members  so selflessly care for them until adoption, to the veterinarians who discount their services, the Bert and Ernies of this world bring us together and remind us what’s really important. If you’re interested in meeting Bert or Ernie, or joining our Copper’s Dream team, we look forward to hearing from you!

 Meghan Kirby-McFarland is a longtime volunteer and former board member with Copper’s Dream Rescue,, in Sunnyvale. For her day job, she leads a design team at LinkedIn.

Shelter Zone features a different shelter and rescue group each month. To contribute, contact Participating shelters and rescues are also invited to submit bios and images of dogs in their programs available for adoption for the accompanying Doggie in the Window feature.

Doggie in the Window

Adopt Me From Copper’s Dream Rescue



2-year-old Pit Mix. Rose was rescued with her single pup. She is a loving, athletic, and playful girl who would love to go home with you. She is smart and great in the house.




7-month-old Hound Mix. This pup came to Copper’s Dream all the way from Belize. Popcorn is doing great adjusting to city life. She loves all people and dogs, and is an easygoing, happy girl.




3-year-old Shepherd Mix. Kai is super smart and knows several commands and tricks. Kai is also a perfect canine in the house, crate, car, etc. This gem of a dog would love an active home as an only pet.

Main article photo by: Photo of Ernie and Bert courtesy Copper’s Dream Rescue