When a nurse practitioner in Westchester County, New York, welcomed a tiny newborn pit bull just barely clinging to life into her home, she knew there was an uphill struggle ahead of her. Marie DeMarco loved little Sasha all the same, though, and that love is what’s pulling both of them through.


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Born in early September with an obvious cleft lip and palette, Sasha was unable to nurse, and was already at risk of death on her very first day of life. Animal rescuer Courtney Bellew was called, and after recognizing Sasha’s need for urgent care, she brought the poor thing to DeMarco, who had extensive experience nursing ill kittens. It was then discovered that Sasha also suffered from hydrocephalus (fluid buildup in the skull), an upper respiratory infection, a urinary tract infection, and orthopedic issues.

“She has an amazing will and determination,” DeMarco told The Dodo. “Through all this, she really shouldn’t be here.”

Despite Sasha’s harrowing first 3 and a half months, she’s getting stronger every day, and even gets to wear adorable dresses and sweaters to stay warm. Scroll down to learn more about Sasha’s story, and keep track of her progress on the official Facebook pages for FURRR 911 (Marie DeMarco’s rescue agency) and SNARR Animal Rescue Northeast.

Meet Sasha, a 3-month-old pit bull who is defying all odds in her struggle to stay alive

Image credits: furrr911

Little Sasha’s life got off to a rough start, as she was born with cleft lip and palette, making her unable to nurse

Image credits: S.N.A.R.R Animal Rescue Northeast

Animal rescuer Courtney Bellew saw her need for urgent care, and placed her with nurse Marie DeMarco

Image credits: S.N.A.R.R Animal Rescue Northeast

The bad news? Sasha also had fluid in her brain, as well as respiratory, urinary and orthopedic issues

Image credits: Penny The Peanut Pibble

The good news? DeMarco, who was experienced in caring for ill kittens, was prepared to help

Image credits: Penny The Peanut Pibble

3 and a half months into her life, Sasha is getting stronger by day, and has even gained weight

Image credits: furrr911

She even gets to wear fabulous dresses and sweaters to keep her warm!

Image credits: furrr911

“She has an amazing will and determination,” DeMarco said. “Through all this, she really shouldn’t be here”

Image credits: furrr911

Perhaps the most important element in Sasha’s recovery has been the unconditional love surrounding her

Image credits: furrr911

“When I hold her and I’m kissing her, if I hold her near my face, she licks my nose”

Image credits: furrr911

Though Sasha has a long road ahead of her, she has all the support she needs to live as happily as other dogs

Image credits: furrr911

“She was dealt some bad cards in life… Boy, is she loved”

Image credits: furrr911

Some people left less-than-sensitive comments…

But DeMarco was quick to defend the bond between her and Sasha