Vet Drives Over An Hour Out Of His Way To Save A Senior Dog’s Life

Chris and Mariesa Hughes have always been passionate about dogs – so much so that they began their own rescue called the Mr. Mo Project, which is specifically made to help senior dogs. Being the huge animal lovers that they are, it’s no surprise that they have furbabies of their own. And naturally, they only want the best for them, which is why when Mabel, their senior Chihuahua, got very sick, the couple did everything in their power to save her.


16-year-old Mabel was adopted by the couple back in 2016. Despite having lots of medical issues in the past, none of it ever slowed down the senior dog, who is very feisty and rules the house. A year years ago, some of Mabel’s health problems had caused her to begin experiencing breathing trouble. Chris and Mariesa had taken her to Cornell University Hospital for Animals in Ithaca, where they sought to help her in any way possible.

Mabel underwent many surgeries at that hospital – all of which left her breathing out a hole in her throat. Chris and Mariesa have to constantly monitor her breathing at all times, but they’re happy to do whatever they have to keep Mabel safe and healthy.

On one particular Saturday night, Mabel’s breathing issues suddenly grew worse out of nowhere. The hole in her trachea had started to collapse, and that’s what was making it difficult for her to breathe.


Chris and Mariesa immediately called Cornell University Hospital for Animals, and Dr. Baum informed them that they needed to bring her in as soon as possible. The hospital was a 3-hour drive, so they wasted no time in getting Mabel in the car and began driving for the hospital.

It seemed as though everything was going to be ok, but halfway there Mabel suddenly stopped breathing. The little dog was in bad shape as she was flopping around and her tongue started to turn purple. Chris and Mariesa couldn’t give up hope.

Chris began giving Mabel mouth-to-trachea resuscitation until she finally started to breathe again. The couple then rushed her to the nearest vet they could find.


The trio ended up at a small animal clinic, where unfortunately the vet stated that there wasn’t much they could do for Mabel long-term. That is when the couple called Dr. Baum once again to discuss what their options were.

Surprisingly, that is when they were told that Dr. Baum was on his way with Dr. Hayes to help Mabel. The two vets drove an hour and a half just to bring Mabel the necessary medical equipment.

Dr. Baum eventually arrived and was able to put Mabel in a portable oxygen tank before driving her back to Ithaca. He ended up being her lifesaver and giving Mabel a chance to keep going.

Both Chris and Mariesa are still blown away by the vet’s kind actions to drive so far to help their dog. They can’t imagine many vets would, so the gesture is that much more meaningful to them and they know that saying thank you won’t ever be enough to cover the gratitude they feel to him.


“A lot of people say ‘this is a 16-year-old Chihuahua with major medical issues, why are you doing this?’ But I think when you meet her, it’s something you understand, her spunk and her attitude and charisma. She wants to be around.” Chris said.


As a means of properly saying thank you to Dr. Baum, both Chris and Mariesa have partnered with Cornell University Hospital for Animals to create a compassion award in Dr. Baum’s honor. This award has a $2,500 prize, plus it recognizes Dr. Baum’s actions as going above and beyond. While what he did was simple kindness, it changed lives and made a difference so that should not be forgotten.

Chris and Mariesa now send regular Mabel updates to Dr. Baum. They want to let him know that little Mabel is still able to live her best life because of him. While she may be a senior dog, she’s still got plenty of years ahead of her thanks to all the dedicated people in her life.

Cornell Vet clinician's act of extraordinary compassion saves imperiled chihuahua

When chihuahua Mabel was having difficulty breathing, her owners rushed her to Cornell. Roughly halfway through their journey, however, Mabel lost the ability to breathe completely and began to suffocate. This prompted a Cornell clinician to make an extraordinary decision.

Posted by Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine on Tuesday, November 26, 2019

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