A LOVEABLE rescue puppy faces a race against time to complete his bucket list due to a rare heart defect.

Opie, who is 14 weeks old, suffers from a heart defect that is likely to cut his life short but his foster mum is hoping he can first complete the ‘puppy bucket list’ she created.

The Labrador puppy suffers from Tricuspid Valve Dysplasia. He was rescued by the RSPCA in July with 35 other dogs, including many other labrador puppies, from "cramped and unsuitable" conditions in East Sussex.

He is the only one to have been found with this rare heart malfunction, but he is now in the care of RSPCA inspector Julie Parsons who is determined to give him opportunities to do various dog related activities in whatever time he has left.

The Argus: Puppy bucket list for RSPCA pup.

Julie, who lives in Hassocks with her teenage son, two other rescue dogs and a rescue cat, has come up with a puppy bucket list of experiences she feels Opie should have.

She said: “When Opie first came to us we knew something was wrong, he wasn’t like other puppies, he was very lethargic and generally disinterested in life - the opposite to how he should be.

“The drugs have really helped him and he is running around now and you wouldn’t know there was anything wrong with him, but I know this could all change in just one vet visit.

“He’s a lovely dog, we’ve all fallen in love with him so we just want him to experience what it is like to be a puppy and to give him the best life possible while we have him.”

The Argus:

Opie’s bucket list:

· Eat doggy ice cream

· Walk in Epping forest

· Walk on the South Downs to see the famous Jack and Jill windmills

· Learn to swim

· Enter a charity dog show

· Go on a picnic

· Climb a mountain

· Play on Westward Ho! Beach

· Sleep on Mummy’s bed

So far Opie has entered a dog show and won a first and a second place and he will hopefully be completing his other goals in the next couple of weeks.

Opie's ongoing medication is provided by RSPCA Brighton and there is a chance, once Opie is big enough, that he may be able to have an operation to help fix the problem with his heart, but this can cost around £20,000.

The charity is fundraising for Opie’s ongoing care and to help other rescue animals in need.

RSPCA Brighton branch manager Jenny Eden said: “When Opie and the other puppies first came into RSPCA care they were in a really bad way and it took a lot of care, love and attention for them to be able to find new homes.

“It is tragic that Opie now faces a new battle in his short life but we all want to support him as best we can. He has really landed on his paws with Julie and I know she will help him live the life he deserves to have, even in the face of adversity.”

To donate to RSPCA Brighton please visit: https://rspcabrighton.enthuse.com/opiesbucketlist

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