Flapjack is settling in to her new home with the Slater family. Credit: Provided by Nicole Sopko

AUSTIN — When a fluffy, friendly stray was found with a broken jaw in an alleyway behind Upton’s Naturals, the team behind the vegan food company stepped up to make sure the pup, Flapjack, was safe and healthy.

Now, after being adopted by the folks who found her, she is doing better than ever.

When Flapjack was first discovered in the alleyway, she had been alone for some time, living beneath an abandoned van. She is a Yorkie-Chihuahua mix, so her long fur had become dirty and matted.

Upton’s Naturals production manager Tony Slater noticed the straggly, caramel-colored pooch scurrying through the alleyway as he was heading in to work in late July. When he lured the pup over with a little sweet talk and salty treats, he saw that stray had a broken jaw that left her adorable tongue drooping out of her mouth.

Flapjack’s broken jaw leaves her tongue perpetually dangling out of her mouth. Credit: Instagram: @bakeanddestroy

The already-small dog was also visibly malnourished. When Flapjack was initially taken for an emergency visit to the vet, she weighed in at only 3 lbs. The vet also found that Flapjack had two types of intestinal worms and an infected tooth causing an abscess on her face, all making her too unwell to have her jaw fixed.

After seeing a vet, Flapjack was taken to Kira Pet Cuts to tend to her matted fur. The groomers were sympathetic to Flapjack’s situation and gave her a fresh cut on the house, leaving her looking and feeling like a brand new dog.

Flapjack after her fresh haircut. Credit: Instagram: @bakeanddestroy

Flapjack has since been adopted by Tony and Natalie Slater, both members of the Upton’s Naturals team, and is being well taken care of. She has been to the vet several times since her initial visit to have her worms treated, to get up to date on her shots, to get the antibiotics to clear her infected tooth, and to monitor her health to see if she can eventually have a surgery to repair her broken jaw.

The pooch has more than doubled in weight at about 8 pounds. Now that her weight is up, she is worm-free, and is cleared of her infected tooth, her vet has given approval for her to see a specialist to see what can be done about her broken jaw so she can get back to being a regular, ordinary, playful pup.

Flapjack’s most recent visit to the vet showed she weighs 8 pounds, more than double her weight when she was found. Credit: Instagram: @bakeanddestroy

But since Flapjack is such a small dog, the best course of action might be to leave the jaw as it is. There is only a very small chance that a specialist would be able to fully repair the jaw, Natalie Slater said.

The pup received an outpouring of support from the Upton’s Naturals family who created a GoFundMe to help pay for the steep veterinary costs. The fundraiser smashed its goal, collecting over $5,400 — enough to cover the vet visits, medications, shots, and the procedures she may need in the future for her jaw. Excess funds that aren’t used for Flapjack’s medical bills are being directed to One Tail at a Time to help other pooches that are down on their luck.

According to her new mom Natalie Slater, Flapjack is a sweet, remarkably intelligent dog that is fitting in perfectly into her pampered life. Flapjack seems to be a young dog, and she is bursting with puppy energy and overflowing with love to share with her new family.

“Flapjack has settled in at home and we’re just amazed by her. She was house trained in about two weeks, and knew where the snacks are kept even faster than that,” Natalie Slater said.

Flapjack is warming up to her furry new older sibling Lulu, and Natalie Slater is hopeful that the two dogs will grow to be best friends. Flapjack loves to throw the hand-me-down rope toy graciously donated by Lulu in the air and chase around.

According to Natalie Slater, Flapjack is lucky that her husband happened to stumble upon her. But they are even luckier that the dog found its way into their life.

“She loves going on walks and playing with her rope, and she sleeps in bed cuddled up to Tony,” Natalie Slater said. “Obviously she loves him the most.”

Pascal Sabino is a Report for America corps member covering Austin, North Lawndale and Garfield Park for Block Club Chicago.

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