This Dog is Loved

"You were sick, but now you're well again, and there's work to do."

Every thing I love is on the table.

Well, I HAVE been looking for a way to bring this blog back for a while. Like, over a year a while. I suppose drastic life changes usually kick start old habits.

A couple days ago I was posed with a question. If I were dying- and only had time to say one thing- and that thing was what I’d want people to know about my life. It’s old hat enough that those who know me best know that I said my dogs. Maybe not old hat to know why they (and specifically Elsa here) are the most important thing I’ve ever done. It’s all very self serving, and I don’t know what it says about me or really where this dog “thing” came from, but there is something about taking something that is unwell and making it so again. And when I really think about it, I gain nothing in return other than I just enjoy these dogs. Dog lovers are interesting to me because we do these things to give a creature a life, no matter how difficult it makes ours, because we.. like dogs?

I can’t appropriately sort out any one’s motivation, but I think I vaguely understand mine, and it might help people understand me. I am completely inept when it comes to human interaction. I am awkward, skittish, impulsive, and terrified. I always say the wrong things. I am constantly working towards healthy relationships with people, but I never quite get ahead. Humans are weird, way too complex, and capable of a wide range of terrible things, sometimes for reasons we can’t even begin to understand. I am aware I have a reputation for being cold and shut off, but I’m definitely not. I have a very small group of friends, some made quite quickly, that have earned my trust and I am comfortable with. Most importantly, comfortable with fucking up with. I don’t need to have an out to purposefully fuck up, but these people get me, love me, and can continue a relationship without letting mistakes upheave the whole thing because the friendship outweighs whatever happened. This is the rad thing about dogs. The relationship is truly unconditional.

I fucked up with Jonas years ago right after I brought him home. He bit me in the face. The physical scar is life long, but the emotional damage was over and done with quickly. He doesn’t understand that I’m sorry, and he can’t tell me he’s sorry. There is no room to dwell on it. When I came home from the hospital he hid under the couch until the next day and we started over. Something about the lack of being able to communicate verbally, for me, takes away a lot of the challenge. We didn’t have some long drawn out discussion about where I went wrong, why he did what he did, and how we can fix it. I could trust it wouldn’t happen again because I wouldn’t make the same mistake again, and we could easily move forward. 7 years on now and the fear aggressive guy is gone.

Then I get dogs like Elsa and Magpie, where someone did the fucking up for me, and they can still come back. This isn’t to say that all dogs can magically come back from whatever happened to them (and same goes for us of the people variety) but if you get it the feeling is indescribable. Magpie came to me withdrawn and only came out of her shell to bite in response to.. most things. Elsa would scream and climb a wall if I came within 10 feet of her. Neither had very high chances of functioning as what we consider “normal” dogs, but now they are and I did that. There is something good about me that is capable of patience, love, and understanding that comes easy. These dogs trust that I am good and will not hurt them, and vice versa. In turn we do fun things together and are happy. This is not easily transferrable to people, so I would imagine this is where this weird dog love was born. Also, Shambles can do stuff like open the baby gate when I need to carry my laundry downstairs, and who doesn’t think that’s cool?

The reason I’m writing this is because I am losing two of my dogs. Not LOSING them, but due to the end of a relationship with shared dogs I will be moving out next month and Jack and Magpie will not be coming with me. It was always said that this would be the order of things, but it was just that. Saying. Now it’s reality and it fucking sucks. Realistically I likely cannot afford all of them on my own and I will still see them when we work out scheduling, but I can’t even look at my Jack and Magpie right now. In less than a month there will not be so many daily things. Random lung crushing hugs from Magpie. Jack moving about the house, guarding each door way for a little while while I sleep. Snarly bear noises from Magpie while she attempts to play with Shambles, and that ear piercing Elkhound yap as he fun polices the whole thing. Their smelly, old dog problems that are nothing but endearing to me. These dogs that I need every day.

There are too many questions. Will their affection lessen towards me when they’re not with me every day? What do dogs actually think when you don’t came back every day? What will the dogs do when they don’t see each other on a daily basis? They’re both elderly, what if they’re not with me when they pass?

Overwhelming.

I laughed now that I wrote all this because these little soul suckers are opting to ask to go in/out one by one in various intervals instead of all just going out at one time, forcing me to get up and walk back and forth 50 times. Dogs.

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Tramps like us, baby we were born to run.

I thought I’d update you in a big of a picture heavy deal. I should probably name this blog “selfies in cars with dogs” since Elsa has strayed off from the main focus. I completely credit every thing I do to her. I didn’t realize the gravity of how much our shelter dogs need someone until I met her. Social media is also AMAZING. The lives that have been saved via a facebook post is insane. 

The ball got rolling with a fellow at our shelter named Meiko. His family had been victims of unfortunate circumstances when they left him with family during a move, and he got dumped at the shelter. He was microchipped, which led back to them, but that was all they were left with. I saw the family post on FB that they would like to get him back and need help, so I messaged his owner. Shortly there after he was pulled with the aide of a rescue friend and we were on the road. Another friend of mine I met via the internet met us in Ohio and deliver Meiko back to his family. Thus began the “freedom ride” selfies with dogs: 

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Around the same time as Meiko, we photographed a sweet little Chi named Buddy. Over the next few weeks Buddy rapidly declined. He got sick and began starving himself. He also started snapping at strangers from his kennel. I sent out a plea for him on social media and again friends stepped forward. He was pulled and fostered by my friend and awesome stylist, Jen. He got his very own photo in her car, because he’s just so handsome: 

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Buddy gained weight, got healthy, and got happy. He was adopted by another friend of mine, who also owns a very special to me shelter dog, saved from the same “rescue” Elsa was. 

And of course, right after that, I met Camo. He was just a baby and so scared of the environment it took me 10 minutes to coax him out of his kennel. Then we pranced down the hall and he exploded every time I came in. I put the plea out, again, on social media and a friend came forward to adopt him. He also looks very similar to ANOTHER dog saved from the “rescue” Elsa was, baby Carl. Camo is now Zeke and loves his new family. 

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Right after Camo a friend and fellow volunteer discovered Elmo in quarantine at the shelter. He had a massive growth on his chest. She put the word out and an seriously awesome rescue stepped forward and took him into foster. We had the pleasure of transporting him to the founder/his foster mom who renamed him John Merrick. Unfortunately John’s mass came back as cancerous, and a month after the removal his cancer reoccurred and he passed away. In a home and loved, free of that mass to move around.

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Then the Husky gals. They were apparently owner surrenders, but their mushing collars caught my eye. Who in the community gave up these trained runners? Their collars also caught the eye of my e-friend Jess, who put the word out to mushing rescues. One stepped forward right away and thus the girls were sprang. They were a joy to ride with and were very interested in my coffee: 

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And of course, I can’t necessarily resist the kitties. Gully was on the euth list and was obviously sick with a bloody nose, so I knew his time would be shorter. I adopted him directly rather than scrambling to find a rescue to pull him and took him home. He loves to bite my ankles, harass the dogs, and generally be a shit stirrer. He sure is cute though: 

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We took the photo of a handsome spotty nosed man named Grover. Another social media winner. A friend of mine adopted him and reports at home he is wonderfully mannered, house trained, and we already knew he was a peach with other dogs and children from an adoption event. He’s still Grover, and still my dude:

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The next two guys are directly thanks to The Urgent List- Michigan. A page I admin on FB for my city shelter. We have nearly 3,000 fans and pleas are circulated like wild fire. First I threw up Can-am, who had been at the shelter 73 days. Chippewa shelter, a lovely no kill shelter up north of us, jumped on him. An awesome lady and her husband met us half way in the ~6 hour difference and he went immediately into a foster to adopter situation. He liked to sit in my lap. The.. entire ride.

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The next day we transported Lefty to another rescue up north of us. The Northwoods Animal Coalition offered to take him in and have since renamed him Benny. We don’t know where Lefty came from, but where ever it was they were not kind to him. His ears are completely butchered. He is missing nearly all of one, and a giant section of another. He’s head and body are also riddled with scars. He was so scared and shy but over weeks he came out of his shell. When we took him to go to rescue he leaped out of his kennel and pranced the whole way to the car, where he also spent the drive curled in my lap. 

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Dale was up next on the urgent list, and adopted by a man who saw his post. His name is Bernie now and his cute teddy bear self is doing well:

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We’re going to cap off this Thursday by grabbing up Lily the Saint Bernard and delivering her to Saint Bernard Rescue Inc in Ohio. My friend who aided in Meiko’s transport will aide us again to take Lily home. I am in love with her and am very happy to get her to her new beginning: 

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I have a rescue willing to pull a really lovely German Shepherd boy, so I am hoping if he isn’t adopted this week then we’ll just spring him and deliver him that way. I’m anxiously working on a couple Pit ladies but had an interested adopter message me about adopting a Pit. I’m working with an awesome lady I met at my years at the rescue who shall not be named (like Voldemort, but actually sinister) to start a non-profit to pay pull fees and fund programs to save our shelter dogs. Wish us luck!

I’m not afraid of you. I’m just a victim of your fear.

You cower in your tower praying that I’ll disappear.

Where did I leave off? Where ever it was last time I was here it resulted in my volunteer status being threatened for being “negative” about animals being killed at the shelter. I know when I go to my happy place it involves dead kittens, but I digress. I don’t really know what to say other than “someone” pointed “someone” in direction of my blog and it was read as unsavory. I stated my case, which I obviously feel is a very good one and… never heard any thing back. I’ve always lived in this weird world where if I’m faced with a confrontation, I confront it. Especially if I started said confrontation. I’ve been told in no uncertain terms my blog is being watched now and I don’t really have any thing to say to that except maybe I’m a thug and I ain’t going back to jail? 

I think most no kill proponents can agree with me in what a yucky feeling it is to be treated like you’re a whimsical, naive kid who can’t possibly understand what things are like. I’ve been on the inside of a “no kill” shelter and rescue for a decade now, so I’m not fresh off the starry eyed dreamer boat. It’s even more frustrating when even with limited access you have done so much to save animals. Our methods that totally work.. don’t work? I’m not even talking about the difficult to place dogs, like the fellow with the tumor we pulled and transported to rescue. I find it more peculiar the sanctuary I worked at took a human aggressive dog with no hope of home placement from the shelter when asked, but we can’t do every thing to place the adoptable dogs. 

The term adoptable is something else I want to address. Obviously my view is skewed as the sheer lump some of resource guarders, dog selective, fear aggressive messes I’ve taken in. I don’t think I’m brilliant with dogs and I don’t necessarily think John Q. Public could handle some of the cases that definitely need work. It’s incredibly difficult to be subjective when you’ve got a lovely dog sitting on your lap, even if said dog wants to maul the faces of other dogs. The very basic definition of “adoptable” when it comes to shelter pets is any dog that is treatable and not dangerous. Pretty broad. What it doesn’t include is breed, age, disability, or disfigurement. Treatable means any dog that is not adoptable but could be with reasonable efforts. According to Hayden’s Law: “Sick, traumatized, infant or unsocialized dogs need appropriate medical treatment, behavior modification and/or foster care to turn them into healthy animals ready for placement.” 

Hayden’s law has taken a lot of hits for being too broad, but I really think we think too critically about this. We also assume people are always too stupid to handle a variety of issues in dogs. There are plenty of dogs that do not do well with other dogs that can be safely placed. I have handled a handful of seriously DA dogs that would not fall into this category, but many others that just do not prefer the company of dogs that are perfectly safe to walk and handle. Reactive dogs != aggressive, either, and I live with one previously SERIOUSLY reactive dog. Human aggressive dogs are obviously not candidates to be placed in an adoptive home unless there are very specific, experienced circumstance. Heartworm positive dogs are not untreatable. Blind, deaf, missing limbs, whatever. There are homes for them. Distance is also not an issue as transport is readily available. Not EVEN going to get into how a lot of things like reactivity and frustration aggression are borne of environment. I’ve seen dogs do serious 180’s once they’ve left the shelter system. The most important thing I want to get past here is that when you have a lovely Pit, they are not less adoptable because they are a Pit. Or because they have one eye. Or because they’ve been in the system for two months. There are plenty of nutjobs like me out there that are OK with being called a nutjob just so long as we can do our best to get a dog where they need to go. No animal with a place to go should be euthanized. I willingly embrace any one willing to help me place a dog and I’ll volunteer myself for beheading to make things better.

Undeniably in a lot of areas of my life I am the villain but I refuse to accept I am here. I don’t even necessarily want to villainize others. I get the pleasure of volunteer with some lovely kennel staff that want to see these pets find homes. I just wanna save some animals, yo. I am asking for nothing more than being allowed to do that. Nobody puts baby in a corner. 

One of the shelter dogs also stopped short at the door and it took me way too long to realize he was urinating all over my leg. Kind of how my life is rolling lately. And I’m doing the best that I can. 

And we wept that one so lovely should have a life so brief.

Elsa is fine and happy. And someone wanted her. Maybe not right away, but someone did. Someone wants ALL shelter pets and quite frankly I have my panties in a bunch here.

I admin a FB for shelter dogs, high lighting the dogs in danger at the shelter in my city I volunteer for. My city shelter who filed paperwork with the Department of Agriculture stating they received 1,960 dogs in 2012. 400 shelter dogs were euthanized, 464 owner requested (which is sometimes slang for “Owner surrender, no legal hold period, killed immediately”), 198 transferred to rescue, 387 adopted. Weird, I went to public school and all but I have a decent grasp on simple math and that leaves 511 dogs unaccounted for. Are we to believe those 511 dogs were strays that were reclaimed? Found magic carpets and rode out of the joint to dog land?

My city shelter, who did a mass slaughter on Monday before Christmas without any warning or pleas for the animals on the euth board. They were not full, just swept through and preemptively killed “a bunch” (kennel staff’s words, not mine) of animals. They did find time to post videos on Facebook of themselves as Christmas elves, so PHEW thankfully they got that covered rather than advertising the several dogs (and uncountable amount of cats) they killed.

The reason my panties are so bunched is beyond just that. It’s the crap every one willingly swallows. This crap is drudged up after I announced this mass euth on said FB page, including a lovely little gal named Salt (who was maybe a year old) that I had personally promised I would not let die. Someone had donated $100 towards her adoption fee (and she was already marked at $25 off, so a total of $125 off $142 regular adoption fee she was.. a $17 dog.) and I let them know she, and another dog they pledged on, had be euthanized. The response?

“That’s unfortunate, however they do have to make room for more dogs that are more likely to be adopted. And from what I understand both Salt and Butters had issues with dog aggression.”

No. No, no, no, no, no. Nope. NO. AHHHHH I don’t even know where to BEGIN with how much that enrages me. First, Salt was barely a year old if that and she was out with a volunteer while I was taking another dog’s photo and I let them meet. They played all over each other. She regressed with other dogs as time went on because surprise, it sucks to be in a tiny box all day while other dogs bark constantly.  I was not aware of Butters’ status with other dogs but HEY GUESS WHAT. They could have lived happily as only dogs! And sometimes, like people, dogs don’t get along with each other. I don’t even know why I am offering any sort of justification here but I’m angry on and on a roll. Are we really so desperate?

Second, to address a big pet peeve of mine, no dog is any more adoptable than any other dog. Rescue, especially in my area, has become this giant shitty ball of choosing to only save “the most adoptable” which means if you are a Pit Bull, a large black dog, elderly, older, not flashy coated, too hyper, whateverwhateverwhatever you are less adoptable than the Shipoo puppies. Since when did “who gets adopted the fastest” equal “better” ? Rescue has become this really creepy business where every one willingly discounts a life because it’s not young, or small, or pretty, or purebred, or because they get the rescue notoriety because BAWW THEY SAVED THAT DOG NO ONE ELSE WOULD SAVE! We tell people to REALLY think before bringing a dog home, then we cap any dog that sits in a shelter for more than a month. Your mileage may vary, but my local shelter never updates their Petfinder or FB. Two dogs on the euth board (but they killed at least 10?) and not a single plea sent out to save them. The internet is an incredibly powerful thing, but nothing? We’ve taken months worth of photos for PetFinder only to see them never go up. It’s a really foreign concept to me that it’s acceptable to kill a dog then pat the shelter employees on the back and say “They’re doing the best they can.” Look, I’m not saying any thing new here, but when I don’t even see minimal effort from a place that has a live release rate in the 50% I’m gonna go ahead and gamble and say that is not the best one could do.

This last week I have, however, had two good rescue experience. The thing that is (and excuse my language) fucking appalling is that I get excited when I actually deal with a rescue that knows what is up and is interested in saving lives. My city is over saturated, if you will, with rescue and somehow we euthanize “400” (I doubt that is the solid number) a year, and even if it was correct that’s 400 too many. The city shelter also only lists 198 dogs as transferred to other facilities which is pretty appalling considering there were 5 rescues in the immediate area. A friend of mine that does every thing she can to rescue dogs offered a local rescue A THOUSAND DOLLARS to take a slightly mangey, blind Pomeranian and they took that money and surprise, the dog was placed nearly immediately. Then she gets in contact with Midwest Small Breed Rescue (donate to those named, if you can) regarding a Chihuahua tucked away in quarantine at animal control with a large growth on his shoulder. By large I mean like.. HEY:

TUMAH

He was not advertised in any manner and quarantine is off limits to the public. He had one week to be reclaimed (if he had an owner and who would know he was there?) then he would die. My friend gets a hold of MSBR and offers the same amount of money for them to save him. They not only say yes, but they refuse her money, especially at that amount, because they don’t want to rip someone off on a surgery not yet performed. I drove little tumor man (now named Merrick) to the rescue founder and she immediately wanted to give us gas money for bringing him to her. All this rescue cared about was that he was safe and treated those of us who were involved along the way with respect. The second rescue is Hairy Houdini Siberian Husky Rescue, who immediately jumped to the plate when three Huskies in mushing collars (a Sibe and two Alaskans) landed in our animal control. They busted ass to find placement and to get crates to me to transport. I’m picking the girls up tomorrow (one of them was reclaimed) and taking them to their foster home. The rescue asked for nothing from me. These things make me feel better about rescue, but they also make me wonder. Why is there such a stark difference between rescue to rescue or shelter to shelter?

I don’t know guys. Blowing off steam here. I just feel like it’s time for someone else to cry in their car in the shelter parking lot, but not because they couldn’t save some dogs.

As an aside, An Act of Dog will be painting the beautiful Butters and adding her to the 5500 memorial. An Act of Dog is  a visual representative of 5,500 “portraits of injustice” of dogs who lost their lives in shelters. Shelter is not a synonym for death.

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We found love in a hopeless place.

I didn’t make the midnight mark in time! November 17th marks two years since we brought Elsa home. The two months we’re not going to count any more because it’s just fields and fields ahead of us now. 

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It feels cold where ever I go.

 

 

 

 

So it seems this blog only faces a flurry of activity when things are extremely positive, or extremely negative. I guess I wouldn’t say negative, but at least difficult. Elsa is back in pretty decent condition and things are like before, except it seems my lady much preferred her life free of a rotation because now she just screams and destroys her apartment. Some days not at all, some days constantly. I want to say we’re just struggling to get back into the swing of things and adjust, but if you heard her cry and it didn’t break your heart I don’t know. It’s also extremely frustrating because I’m a people and I get frustrated. She has a great life here so the SA like activity (she does not have SA, but the behavior is a mirror) frustrates me. 

 

It’s ironic that I took this chance adopting her out so she wouldn’t have to live with a rotation, only to find before she was pretty fine with every thing and I’ve gone ahead and fucked her up. I know I didn’t actually fuck my dog up, but it’s almost 3 AM and I’m riddled with guilt and anxiety so let me have this blog at least. If I hadn’t sent her to asshole land she would be just the same as before and we could have had two months of summer where we had a blast instead of whatever happened in her life during that time.

 

I also can’t figure out if I’m making the right decision immediately declaring I will not adopt her out again. Our gal Magpie had an adoption that went really wrong and we kept her. It just feels different when a dog is returned versus a dog having an adoption that goes bad. They get returned, you brush it off and find the right home for them, but they come back in bad shape or you find them in the pound and now your need to protect them kicks into over drive. I am scared if I adopt her out again it will go wrong somehow and she’ll just be bounced from place to place. Is that more or less fair than having a rotation system? There are people in rescue that think people who rotate are the root of all evil, which is really helpful. 

Then I wonder, say I am faced with a situation that can’t go wrong. Like.. single family, no other pets, right near me. Or they have pets but I can supervise a million introductions to make sure the way I know her is true and not what was claimed by her adopter. Would I let her go THEN? I should think I could make a good choice, but let go this dog that paws at my hands while I lay on my stomach and type on my lap top? Rescue is probably a lot easier for the people who don’t really give a shit which is probably why it is frivolous to run into people from the SPCA and say “Look! This is that dog I took! Living all awesome!” People who don’t give a shit don’t worry where they end up. I probably obsess over it.

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I loved you then and I love you now.

I loved you then and I love you now.

No matter how much time elapses, or what happens in the interim, I think there are some bonds that just can’t be broken.

I knew you’d never forgive me.

but I was wrong, and I’m so, so sorry. 

As previously mentioned, my Elsa dog was returned to me this last Saturday. Obviously a lot of feelings were born as a result, relief being the most prominent. I think I was doing the right thing by wanting her to live a rotation free life. For her, and I can admit it was easier for us. I think I was doing the right thing and trying to be selfless because the reason I was so relieved was because I really love and missed this dog. For all intents and purposes, she was my dog and I should have accepted that while different it doesn’t mean our living situation isn’t ideal. If every one is happy, why isn’t it ideal? I digress.

I cannot confirm or deny any thing as I was not physically there, but the circumstances behind her return involved an attack on the adopter’s other dog. I am going to stick the the “facts” as closely as I can, because I will never actually have clear answers, be it what really happened or an answer in which I am satisfied with. The attack resulted in surgery, but the extent of the injuries I am still unclear on- just what they apparently cost in veterinary bills. My initial reaction was that I was very, very sad this happened. Very sad for the injured dog, and very sad for Elsa. The way I know her, something had to REALLY be wrong for her to react aggressively. I know exactly what went wrong with her and Jack McCoy because I made a mistake, but I don’t know what happened here. The story was that while the adopter was out of the country a house sitter was feeding Elsa inside with her, the other dog was outside and eating. I’m supposed to believe that out of no where Elsa suddenly burst out of a dog door she was too frightened to use previously and just attacked. I say that I am supposed to believe this because it’s passed to me third hand and the only witness is not someone I know or will ever speak to, and I’m unaware of their knowledge of dogs. I would consider myself to be above average in regards to understand what I’ve seen when a dog fight happens, but I know that in the heat of things it can be frightening and confusing. It was hypothesized that it was resource guarding, but RGing is a completely foreign thing to old Elsa and the situation itself regarding RGing doesn’t add up. Issues, even ones not previously known, can manifest out of stress. I could only theorize that perhaps her combated barrier issues were reborn under duress of the move and being with a stranger and perhaps seeing/hearing something outside triggered it. I can theorize a lot of things, but I wasn’t there and this is not as I’ve known my dog. I consulted with friends that I trust, and especially trust with dog related things. There was some back and forth over this before I was told a behaviorist would be coming out to observe and then less than a day later the conclusion she just could not be trusted and needed to be sent back.

I reserved some of my issues with this until she was literally in my arms. They begin with the fact that after she was adopted a handful of photos were posted, a question regarding how to teach her to fetch, and that every thing was happy and well. I never heard any thing else about her. In rescue I try to not be an overbearing foster but I was chomping at the bit having received no personal updates about how things were going, and led to believe they were going just swimmingly- until the news of this attack. At that point it still seemed every thing was fine until it wasn’t. This is where the roller coaster truly began. As concisely as possible:

  1. In her very first day, doped up and fresh off the plane, Elsa was given immediately free run of the house and introduced to the resident dog. This gave me a nervous feeling in my gut. 2 months later on the report of the attack I was told she had bitten the resident dog the first week and left a deep puncture wound. I did not hear of this at the time, otherwise I would have likely intervened earlier.
  2. When I raised questions that were not liked, I was told Elsa had been a problem the entire time. She was supposedly a big time resource guarder, leash reactive, and a bully to other animals. That the adopter would have not adopted had she been informed of these things before, and that supposedly (supposedly being a magic word here) a behaviorist had been working with them the whole time. Setting aside the fact that these are not things we experienced and have not experienced since her return, that at no point until it had allgoneverybadwrong I heard nothing of this, nor did any mutual friends to my knowledge, AND such language to imply I withheld any pertinent information, I was extremely relieved she had been returned because if all these things were true and so much so a professional had to get involved I truly question and consider it common sense that you would not leave the country and leave a new, problematic dog with a house sitter and your other dog- a supposed target in some of these issues that had previously been bitten. If any of that is true. If it was I figured I would have been aware from the beginning, or the dozens of other people who have followed Elsa’s life closely over the years.
  3. Elsa was returned to me in a condition I consider unacceptable. I can’t definitively draw conclusions on whether or not it was intentional, but the fact of the matter is she left us at 44 lbs and returned at 37. 7 lbs weight lose, for an already fairly small dog, is drastic. Her coat was so dull she looked chalky. Dandruff and fur fell out with every touch. When I observed her gnawing the life out of her own hip I discovered she was covered in fleas and scabs from subsequent flea bites/scratching herself. I removed a improperly fitted collar to discover her throat bald and a broken, coarse ring of hair around her neck. I could have just chalked this up to a lot of questions that were not going to be answered or proven, until I picked her up in this condition. For reference, the first link has seven pictures: http://imgur.com/1A6GSBa,ULHzI7s,nZnRPEH,TVmwsqN,G8xK0TS,Wg0CHJZ,IOexq7A#0
    http://imgur.com/uoOmTZx
    http://imgur.com/0lLus94
    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=879539969799&set=vb.210800172&type=2&theater

For further reference, this is our beautiful gal the day before she left us: https://www.facebook.com/GreenandGrowing/media_set?set=a.853498033049.1073741828.210800172&type=3

Hence why I was not pleased. She also seems to have a urinary tract infection. Willful or otherwise, and regardless of the fact she obviously wasn’t emaciated on death’s door, I do not find any thing about the way she came back to me to be acceptable.

I am openly sharing this because I am willing to admit some sort of fault here. I can’t decide what my fault was, but I do know that I miserably failed this girl. This girl that I saved from death from the “rescue” that miserably failed her before, and however many people were responsible for and subsequently miserably failed her before she landed at the rescue we would meet at. My thought process in just adopting her may still not be right, but I know I can protect her here and not fail her again. I can’t protect her from ALL the things, I’m not a god of sorts, but I hope I can protect her enough that she has a happy ending. I have this tremendous amount of guilt and she’s just laying on a ridiculously giant bed covered in toys and chews.

The worst part, though, is that she just keeps looking at me. Every thing seems the same but something I can’t quite put my finger on is off. I have to chalk this up to adjustment period because it doesn’t feel like before and I hope she can feel right here again. A lot of people (in the spirit of good nature and moving forward) have suggested just that- to brush it off and move forward. In the beginning someone said something that resonated with me: “It’s not any different because the dog is Elsa.”

Yes, it is different because it is Elsa.

You belong somewhere close to me.

This time I fell out on the blog because my Elsa dog has come back to me. The details of such I’ve told so many times now I’m not going to relive them in this entry, but my lady is back with me since yesterday afternoon. I’ve never been so relieved by any thing in my life. 

And though the declaration may seem short sighted after one failed adoption, Elsa will not be adopted out again and is officially ours. I believe a lot of things. I believe she was meant to be in our lives. I believe dogs should not be bounced around from home to home. I believe when you take responsibility for a dog you see it through to the very end, even if it’s hard or not ideal. We’ll go back to our gate and rotate system from before but we’ll make it better and we’ll live with it. I believe it’s hard to trust any one else. I believe my place is to protect the dogs I can. 

I hope every one finds something in life they love as much as I love dogs. 

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Oh.. Hey guys.

I’m as terrible at keeping this blog as I thought I would be. It’s not like I have any thing going on in my life preventing me from updating, I just don’t want to. Not that I’ve been doing much of any thing, but this blog has become the last thing I want to do. I had a lot of suggestions to start and maintain the blog, tell the story from the beginning, but the longer this goes on the less story I feel there is to tell. Dog spared from euthanasia, dog has happy ending with new family. To me, that just seems like some shit any one would do. Part of the reason Elsa stayed with me for so long is because I loved her so much. I love every dog I take care of. The concept of not bonding with dogs or some dogs not being worth time and effort to save is foreign to me. The fact that if I had not worked at the shit show that is the SPCA of Southwest Michigan Elsa would have just been euthanized and no one would have said nothing is something I still can’t wrap my mind around. So maybe that might clear up why, from my perspective, I’m struggling to maintain telling the story. It just doesn’t seem that spectacular to me to step in when someone else fails. Especially not for dogs because dogs are neat. 

Anyway, in the spirit of things, here is a video from after her heartworm treatment. She really did a 180 after the treatment and her 30 day quarantine was complete because dogs don’t act themselves when they’re sick. Imagine that. I made the mistake of going upstairs to get some food and left a magazine on the floor next to my lap top and she competely destroyed then scattered the remains of said magazine EVERY WHERE. I gave her quite a talking to about it, and regarding the fact she was refusing to eat kibble at the time. She in fact refused to eat kibble ever until I got her a Kong Wobbler. For the next year and a half all she ate from was that damn Wobbler. 

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=676827931349&set=vb.210800172&type=3&theater

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