My name is Opal ~ Happy Hippo!!

American Pit Bull Terrier Mix Dog for adoption in Caldwell, New Jersey - Opal ~ Happy Hippo!
Photo 1 - American Pit Bull Terrier Mix Dog for adoption in Caldwell, New Jersey - Opal ~ Happy Hippo!
Photo 2 - American Pit Bull Terrier Mix Dog for adoption in Caldwell, New Jersey - Opal ~ Happy Hippo!
Photo 3 - American Pit Bull Terrier Mix Dog for adoption in Caldwell, New Jersey - Opal ~ Happy Hippo!
Photo 4 - American Pit Bull Terrier Mix Dog for adoption in Caldwell, New Jersey - Opal ~ Happy Hippo!
Add me to your favorites

I'm being cared for by:
The FernDog Rescue Foundation

Facts about Opal ~ Happy Hippo!

  • Breed: American Pit Bull Terrier Mix
  • Color: White - With Gray Or Silver
  • Age: Adult
  • Size: Med. 26-60 lbs (12-27 kg)
  • Sex: Female
  • ID#: 10192942

Opal’s Woof Facts:


  • Special medical needs require a financially secure adopter
  • Crate trained (but need not be crated), housebroken, spayed and UTD on vaccines
  • Does fine with low-key, submissive dogs after slow, patient integration
  • Loves people of all ages and sizes
  • Low energy – enjoys playing and walks but snuggling is her number 1
  • Lives with a cat in her foster home – chases just in play


Meet Opal!  We have no doubt that as soon as you meet her you will fall in love…because everyone does!  At our adoption events Opal (aka “Opie” or “Opie Mama” by her admirers) seems to catch the eye of every passerby and soaks up their love like everyone is her new best friend.  This girl is the belle of the ball no matter where she finds herself!


Although we never like to dwell on any dog’s past, Opal’s backstory is important to understand in order to ensure that she lands the perfect forever home.  That said, please read on to see if it might be you….


Opal’s Background

FDRF stepped in to help Opal, a 4 year old little hippo...errr...pit bull who came to us in February 2016 when her owner fell on hard times and decided to put Opal's needs first and allow her to find a new home.  When she first came to us she had lost not just her home and guardian, but also most of her beautiful fur due to some nasty bacterial skin infections.  The “before” photos on the left, below, are of Opal back in February and March when she was itchy, uncomfortable, and depressed.  The non-treatment of her environmental and food allergies had created multiple bacterial and yeast infections of her skin.


Despite how she was feeling, from day 1 Opal never lost her spirit.  Even when her foster mom would slide one of the (many) pills down her throat, or lathering her bald belly up with medicated shampoo for the third time in a week, she remained wiggly, waggy and kissy.  It’s as if she knew she was finally in good hands!


Over the period of a few months, and thanks to the care of our wonderful vet, Dr. Scriffignano (who we hope her adopter will continue using), Opal’s fur has come back (and it is beautiful!), but the medical issues have not ended there.  In fact, the skin issues, and the limited diet that comes with it, are just the beginning. 


Opal’s Medical Needs

The junction between the end of Opal’s spine (her final vertebrae by her tail) and her pelvic region, called the sacrum, is very arthritic.  Opal also has hip dysplasia (an abnormal formation of the hip socket) and possibly slipped discs in her spine in two different places.  Dr. Scriffignano consulted with a veterinary spinal specialist, who reviewed Opal’s X-Rays and agreed that pain management is the best course of action.  So, Opal is on two different prescription medications (an anti-inflammatory and a pain killer) which have helped her pain levels tremendously.  Now it’s only after romping in the yard too much (running and jumping, especially) or going on a long walk that she becomes very sore and is unable to go up stairs or jump up on to the couch or the backseat of the car.  Opal’s forever family should be prepared to continue these prescription medications, and it is possible that in the future she will require surgery on her spine and/or hips.  If Opal’s forever family opts to have this surgery completed at Verona & Montclair Animal Hospitals, FernDog will help with the costs.


Opal also has a grade 2/3 (very low) heart murmur, which has no effect on her health at this time and has been recorded as no concern by Dr. Scriffignano. Opal's forever family should commit to annual echocardiograms throughout her life to ensure that the murmur remains stagnant and non-concerning.


In sum, Opal’s forever family should be prepared for the following medical regimen, which has turned her into a super happy and healthy dog:

  • Skin: limited ingredient diet plus over-the-counter Zyrtec once per day, and bi-weekly baths and ear cleans with prescription shampoo and ear rinse, vet monitoring whenever itchiness or a flare up occurs
  • Spine/Hips: two prescription medications with breakfast, vet monitoring with any changes in pain or activity level, openness to surgery should the vet recommend this for quality of life down the road
  • Heart murmur: annual echocardiograms


Opal in a Home

Throughout all of recoveries, Opal’s love of life has remained constant and contagious for all of those she meets.  In her foster home, Opal is living with a pit bull foster bro who is slightly larger than her, and a cat.  Opal and her foster brother are buddies now after a slow introduction and some healthy separation in the beginning, and now he lets her be the boss!  A forever home with a submissive male dog and a family that knows how to take things slow with two dogs would be fine for Opal.  The only time she instigates anything with her foster brother these days is around high-value or human food – she charges and chest bumps him a bit as if to say, “this is mine!”  This is easily managed by simply feeding the dogs separately, and teaching Opal to give space to humans when they’re eating.  As to the cat, Opal does chase her but just in play!  It’s easy to call Opal away from the cat.    


Overall, FernDog, and especially Opal’s foster family, feels so incredibly lucky to have her as a part of our rescue.  Inside that bald, broken, depressed dog that came to us in February was a happy-go-lucky, silly, resilient, loving girl who makes everyone smile with her antics.  And that is who Opal is.  She is not a diagnosis, or a prognosis.  She is a gem who simply requires a bit of polishing.


We are hopeful that Opal’s forever family will fall in love with her rock solid personality, and accept the medical maintenance she requires.  If you think that could be you, please click below!

About The FernDog Rescue Foundation

About Our Rescue Group...

We are a small rescue that started in January 2013 after years of working for different rescues and decided to join forces to start our own rescue/foster program. With over 20 years of combined experience with animals (rescue, training, advocacy), we learned that many dogs are not properly matched up with the right families. We realize that no one is at fault here since the overpopulation of homeless pets is staggering and animal advocates what to spare these precious dogs lives by finding homes as opposed to being euthanized. We decided that we would do our small part and keep our rescue small so we can focus on getting to know the personality of each dog in our foster program, doing proper evaluations and temperament testing, putting each dog through any type of training services they may need, and completing a thorough screening for all applicants which includes a mandatory home visit all BEFORE the dog gets matched up with a compatible family. Our mission statements says:
The mission of The FernDog Rescue Foundation is to help dogs at risk by providing foster homes that will nurture their physical and emotional health, help locate the ideal forever homes for them while providing support and training to help assure that their stay in their new homes is permanent. In addition we focus on developing programs to promote pet adoption services and raise public awareness by providing community education of the issues surrounding animal rescue.

Come Meet Our Pets...

The FernDog Rescue Foundation does adoption events every 1st and 3rd Saturday of the month at Pet Valu in W. Caldwell NJ from 12-3p , the 2nd Sunday of the month at PetValu in Clifton NJ from 12-3p and every 4th Sunday at Petco in Verona NJ from 12p-3p.
All of our dogs are current on our website and our application can be found online as well.

Our Adoption Process...

The application is the first step in our adoption process. We will screen all applications through a vet reference check, 3 personal reference checks, phone interview and a mandatory home visit. An adoption donation is required of $300 (adult dogs), $350 (puppies), $200 (seniors/special needs), which covers the cost of spay/neuter, microchipping, vaccines and preventatives per the dog’s age, health check, fecal / deworming as needed and heartworm testing and treatment as needed.
Contract will be signed at time of adoption with a set of guidelines which include, mandatory microchip registration at time of adoption, agreement to return the dog to FernDog if care can no longer be provided at any time during the life of the dog, all animals will be treated humanely and live indoors and adequate medical care will be provided, etc.