Cleft Palate Dog Inspires Thousands

Cleft Palate Dog Inspires Thousands

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You may recognize this four-legged birthday boy…his name is Lentil and he's got 135,000 Facebook followers and counting.

He is a puppy that was born with a severe cleft palate and cleft lip but he is much more that than to everyone else. He is inspiration, a poster pup, for children born with craniofacial issues.

"He's just made such a difference in so many peoples live," Lentil's owner, Lindsay Condefer says.

This famous pooch has had quite the fight for life. Lindsay Condefer, who specializes in dogs with medical conditions, took Lentil in at two days old after his breeder gave him up.

She tube fed Lentil every 2 hours just trying to keep him alive. "It was you know four months of no sleep. So it was scary, but I mean and that's the thing, I feel like we just wanted to make every day the best day because we didn't know when it would be the last, "Lindsay remembers.

Lindsay started a Facebook page to celebrate Lentil's progress. She never imagined his story would have such an impact.

"I started getting emails from mothers that have children that were born with cleft palates or cranial facial differences."

"The ironic thing with it is people love him for his look, but these children are growing up with the same conditions and they're being ridiculed for it. So that [was the] moment was when I realized okay this is why he made it," Lindsay realized.

At four-months-old, Lentil had successful surgery on his cleft palate so he could eat on his own, but not his cleft lip since it was purely cosmetic.

That made lentil the perfect ambassador for children going through the same thing children like 12-year-old Connor Loescher.

"I have Goldenhar syndrome. It's usually when most kids, they'll be missing their jawbone or have an undeveloped jaw. I was missing my right eyelid. I had a hole in my heart," explains Connor.

Connor almost didn't make it, on more than one occasion.

"I've gone through fourteen surgeries, it's been rough," he remembers.

"Sometimes when I get depressed I think why am I here…then I think back okay. I'm here because I have to fight. Lentil hasn't given up his fight why I should," Connor declares.

Lentil has also changed 14-year-old Danny Pfeiffer's life.

Born with a genetic craniofacial condition, Danny didn't even want to leave the house following his latest operation, until he met this quirky looking cutie.

"I mean he kind of gave me a feeling to show people it's okay to be different," Danny Pfeiffer says.

"He's going out in this world and he's not embarrassed and he feels good about himself and Lentils just made that happen," Grace Pfeiffer, Danny's mom says.

This little guy has become such a rock star, he even has his own product line to get the message out, from t-shirts to key chains to stickers, and now Lindsay's even working on stuffed animals.

The idea is to buy one and donate one so she would send them to hospitals all around the country so kids could wake up the next morning with a little Lentil right by their side after they've had surgery.

"It's no longer just these families or these children that feel alone. These kids have strength and the world cares," says Condefer.

Lindsay, whose kind of a superwoman herself, started a kids club for children going through their surgeries, awarding them "lentil" metals for bravery.

"It's pretty awesome. I got a medal for going out and showing the world that when you're born to stand out , don't try to be different," Danny said.

"I just in a million years … I never thought a dog could do this," says Grace Pfeiffer.

Lindsay loves to dress up the dog in an effort to make people feel good. She's gotten pretty good at making some creative costumes.

A fan favorite is his turkey costume at Thanksgiving. He was a mummer for New Years and a cupcake for his first birthday. Lindsay says "it's just something else to smile about."

It's been a whirlwind first year for Lentil and Lindsay but these two are on a mission to make a difference for those who look a little different.

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