This Dog is Loved

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

I’ll look after you.

Hello folks. It has been a month since Elsa left so I’ve been bummed. More so than normal, as it seems I’m just bummed a lot. I’m particularly bummed about the things I see and hear every day, which should explain why this blog has dropped off some. I don’t want to disappoint all like.. 4 of you, so. 

If you’re a pet owner, you know there are a lot of grey areas. When/how often to vaccinate, when/if you should alter, training methods, food, etc. If you’ve done the research, I think you’re free to make your own choices and bicker about it on the internet if you like. If you have not done your research, then I recommend following the advice of your veterinary professional. It may not be what I would agree with personally but they’re not going to steer you horribly wrong. The rules are a bit different for rescue, as I do not personally believe that any animal should be adopted out unaltered. They should be healthy, but any medical issues that are known should be disclosed (that goes for behavioral as well) and vaccinations should be current. There are however things for owners that are not up for debate. 

Flea/tick preventative. Use it. Whether or not these things are an issue depends on your area, but if they ARE an issue then treat your animals. Your dogs go outside. Winter does not kill fleas that are already active in your home. No animal should be subjected to digging themselves bloody because they’re not protected. I don’t think it should be news to any one that ticks carry disease. 

Heartworm preventative. Another area subjective thing, another absolutely necessary where necessary thing. Annually a blood test to determine the status is done, some bi-annually in high risk areas. Elsa was unfortunate enough to be heartworm positive and treatment is not a fun experience. If you research any thing, I highly suggest researching the risk in your area, what heartworm is and what it does to your animal. Not protecting your pets from this disease brings out a special rage in me,

If your dog needs medical attention, GO TO THE VET. Do not ask the internet, do not assume they will be fine. I am not personally one to rush to the event in the event someone pukes once or has diarrhea, but I have heard of dogs puking for days and losing weight not going in and even dogs being hit by cars and people taking the wait and see approach. I can’t wrap my mind around this. It’s as if people are unaware that their pets can in fact die and without medical attention they just might do that. 

Cut their nails. I am not such a huge stickler that every animal has to have perfectly manicured nails or lose it if I hear any nail clicks on the floor, but they should not be impeding your animals every day movement, or worse, growing into their paw pays or crossing their toes. Magpie lived for who knows how long without a nail trim and now she pays the consequences of arthritis in her toe joints and permanently gnarled nails that resemble Fritos even at their shortest. If you can’t do it yourself, you take them to the vet or a grooming salon. 

If you have a puppy, vaccinate your puppy. The full series, whatever it is you follow. Same goes for an adult with an unknown history. I personally follow the Dodd’s schedule of vaccinations for puppies AND adults, but rabies is required by law and that depends on your local laws. They still need to be done and do not pull that Jenny McCarthy shit on me here. Science and I hate you. 

I’m not sure how to touch on s/n without going into long rambling details about my own views so just.. fix your pets. 

I am aware there are financial issues that people face. I’m not rich either, but I don’t have any qualms in saying that you need to find a way to take care of your pets. Unfortunately I’m aware of way more situations where someone would rather buy an Iphone or keep the cable on than take care of their animals, so that’s the direction of my rage, not those doing what they can to make sure their pets stay comfortable and healthy. If necessary, right now I can look around me and directly see 4 things I could give up if came to my dogs vs. my things. I can see a whole lot of stuff I could sell and live without. You chose to own the animal, not the other way around.

Oh, and if you do/don’t do the appropriate things here, for the love of god do not get more animals. 

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Love is so short, forgetting is so long.

Where did I leave off? I’ve had a blank entry with the title saved for like a week now. I’ve just been straight bummed out for weeks. I don’t know if I’ve mentioned it to blog followers, but I worked for a true no kill sanctuary training/rehabilitating dogs for a glorious, albeit short, time after I left the SPCA. Too good to be true, nothing gold can stay, all good things come to an end and all that, but the place is in the final stages of shutting down and shipping the dogs out to another sanctuary and the very Friday before Elsa left my job ended. Essentially, I lost a whole bunch of dogs in that weekend. In the last two years I’ve become accustomed to having the figurative shit kicked out of me by being involved in working in shelters, but that’s a lot of suck all at once. No Elsa and no work (or luck at finding work) has left me sad and bored. I think I pretty much just hike with the dogs these days. Speaking of which, here are two lovely photos from such hikes (Magpie excluded. Gal can’t cover any kind of distance any more) 

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Tomorrow I swear I will continue the story. Just thought there was some merit to explaining my absence, even to myself. 

I’ll never get the balance right.

Putting an end to this brief saga, today seemed to be the day I connected with all the kind rescue folks in it to help dogs. Lots cross posted this lady and one recommended a place that offered placement. I checked them out and asked around to hear if they were a decent place and every thing checked out. I was briefly happy to have met my goal and now I’m right at the super guilt part of the cycle.

I haven’t the slightest idea why I feel guilty when I find placement for a dog. This dog was only meant to be temporary and it’s been a difficult temporary, so I should be elated someone wants to take her in. She’s really a lovely dog, but I tend to get really frustrated when things are difficult with my dogs. I’m not frustrated with them really, just the fact that it’s difficult with fosters sometimes because my dogs are quite particular about what they can deal with. Jack has a tendency to bully overtly submissive dogs, and this gal is just kindly enough to fall on his bully radar.  She’s a very busy dog, and that kind of energy greatly offends Jonas and he lashes out at this sort of thing. Thankfully my girls are happy to coexist with any dog ever, it’s just dealing with the boys. After Elsa, I just don’t have the heart to deal with a rotation system again. It worked very well with her, but it’s been hard on this lady and it will be good for her to get comfortable somewhere. Every one says “hey, you saved that dog from going to animal control and are now placing her with a rescue, it’s OK.” but the bad feeling still lingers. It’s been an unfair few days to my dogs and I really need not to gamble on dogs I have never met and can’t pre-introduce them over time to mine. As much as it nags at me to not get involved every single time, it’s more important that my dogs come first. I know I rushed into this because I really miss my brown dog. I had no idea how fulfilling she made my life until now but I need to get a grip and help in ways I can help. It’s just harder when people constantly message me about dogs that do need help. I am considering deactivating my facebook for a short time so I can have these melt downs by myself.

That and I am not a rescue. I do not have the means right now to BE a rescue. I have to do what I can without taking personal responsibility for dogs, but that sucks because these dogs are in these situations because no one wanted to take personal responsibility for their own animals. After my experience with the SPCA I just have a constant fear of what will happen to dogs I am not in control of. It scares me to hand this girl over to a rescue and expect them to make the same choices I would for her- and after all no one makes right choices except me! /facetious. I am just one of those foolhardy people who believe that every dog is worth it. Elsa was certainly worth it and NextDog could be another Elsa.

 

I just wanna SAVE ALL THE DOGS, you know?

How to become a pariah in one blog post!

It’s interesting to me that there are so many posts, memes, whatever out there maligning every person who ever takes a dog to the shelter. Not absolving those that truly are jerks, but what’s with all the “You would bring your dog to a shelter to die!?” when often times people really aren’t left with a whole lot of choice? Yes, if you bring your dog to a shelter your dog has a risk of dying. How big that risk is depends on the particular shelter, but let’s entertain for a moment when you’re faced with a dog you have no idea what to do with. Let’s entertain that because of the aforementioned dog I have here right now. Also, let’s not entertain it with the idea that I’m going to bring this dog to a shelter- I don’t do that nor is it the point of this post.

Saturday night I picked up these two dogs. Buster the Golden and Chelsea the Boxer/Pit mix. I’ve admittedly been kind of lost since Elsa was adopted, so when I got a message regarding helping them before the woman holding them took them to the local kill shelter I got involved. I like to help dogs, but generally where I make my first mistake is that silly part where I trust people to tell me a dog is what it is and they’re going to do what they say they’ll do. I was contacted at some point earlier in the week and so I started cross posting and asking for placement for these dogs. Offered transport and any help I could and that was supposed to be that. Needless to say a young Golden Retriever, despite being intact with no medical work up otherwise, was snapped up immediately. I STILL have rescues calling me today to take him. What do you think the odds are placing an older Boxer/Pit mix despite the fact she is spayed, an easy dog, and I’m offering to vaccinate and microchip? APPARENTLY NONE. I firmly stated to the friend of the now deported owner that I had no intentions of taking a dog without rescue backing or a place to go right now and she said if transport could be arranged she would love to take her. The red light is flashing repeatedly in my doofus face but god help me I like dogs and now I was involved. I did not want a 9 year old Pit mix ending up at our animal control, that had posted a week before that they were full to the brim and pleading for rescues to pull dogs with the same old “we will HAVE to euthanize some nice dogs and we don’t want to do that now do we?” so, I said I would hold her until a transport could be arranged. 2-3 weeks tops!

Until of course that woman stopped responding to me after I repeatedly asked for her information so I could put in the transport request. I requested her information 5 times and got bits and pieces before she ultimately decided she didn’t really want this dog and the best course of action was to ignore me now that the dog was here and my problem.

Don’t worry, I am an idiot and paying handsomely. No good deed certainly doesn’t go unpunished. Now I have this dog in my house driving me up the wall with no end in sight. I’m sitting in Elsa’s apartment with her because we have to rotate lest three of my dogs murder her in cold blood. The folks involved insisted she is a very calm older dog that doesn’t do much of any thing. That may be true if every one who happened to spend any time around this dog was blind, deaf, and confined to a small room without the dog. I am accounting for stress of being in a new environment, but she never stops doing stuff. Ever. Shambles is a busy dog, but this dog is a BUSY DOG. She spends every waking moment either bringing me a ball, snuffling every thing, or destroying the ball when I won’t throw it. As a result, we are rotating because that sort of behavior stresses three of mine out and it will result in some shit being thrown down. This dog is clearly not used to the routine of being rotated, so I get to feel bad for confining her every two hours and then feel ultra bad confining my dogs every two hours after that. She’s actually a very lovely dog. Does well with all dogs that are fine with her love of tennis balls and running them urgently through out the house, has nice manners, walks decently enough on a leash, and if we had no other dogs she’d be pretty welcome here and we could figure this stuff out, but I am a stupid ass. We’ll find out, but I’m suspecting that she has Cushing’s as well.

We are not having enjoyable times around here, which leads me back to opening statement. What exactly are folks supposed to do should they find themselves in these situations, with say even their own dogs? A dog that doesn’t fit with no where to go but apparently impending death? I don’t like death. I especially don’t like it for our canine friends, but I can definitely identify with having a dog in your house that turns every thing upside down. By this time tonight I have left messages with 40 different rescues in a three-four hour radius explaining my plight, Some of those messages the same ones that have room for the Golden but I guess he was worth it and this gal ain’t. I’m just musing here, but we really offer little alternative for these sort of situations except drop the dog off and hope for the best or pull all your hair out in the mean time. I do know that I need to make smarter choices on when to get involved and when not to and not every dog in the world is my responsibility, but that just feels yucky too.

I don’t know. All of this just leaves a gross taste in my mouth. I suppose I’ll stay up late with my beer and try to figure out how to be a smarter, better person.

Brief hiatus.

Oh, so I have this right now:

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And obviously there is quite a stir up in the house. This is Chelsea. I picked her and her housemate up last night at an ungodly hour. Owner was deported and a friend was holding them, but she really didn’t want to hold them and they were on their way to animal control. AC was full to the brim and sent out a plea for help just a couple weeks ago so the risk for a Pitty mix was too high. Her housemate was a Golden Retriever who had zero problems finding a placement, but no such luck for Chelsea. Now I’m back in rotating mode and trying to get the dogs to accept this ward for the time being until I can magically find placement so who knows when I’ll tell you about my crap next. 

I am out of my mind.

I should have quit, but instead I took care of you.

I said Elsa’s heartworm treatment went easier than her spay appointment, but I just meant the ride there. The treatment itself was unnecessarily nerve wracking.

As I think it is appropriate to do, I informed our vet of her behavioral history and that she is fearful so special precautions have to be taken at this point in time. I thought to say she would not bite since at no point had she shown any propensity to do so, but that’s not really a fair assessment of any dog. Any dog can and just might bite, it depends on what gets them there. I did stress that despite some precarious positions she had been in, so far she had not so much as bared a tooth at me. The snaggle tooth is just kind of always bared.

I’m not sure if I contributed to the paranoia by thinking it is important to disclose behavioral inclinations, but either way paranoia crept into someone on staff and caused undue stress all around. I dropped her off shortly before 7 AM and then headed into work. She received her first shot of Immiticide immediately in the morning and was to stay over night and receive the second shot the following morning. By 11 AM when I checked my phone on my break I already had a frantic voicemail from a vet tech telling me Elsa was so stressed out that it would be best if I just came and got her right then and brought her back for the next shot the next day, give us a call, thanks.

Er.. what? My initial reaction was to go off the rails and get all worked up. My sweet scared lady was super stressed? I’m at work for another 5 hours but I need to somehow go rescue her RIGHT NOW? Then, as often my reactions are timed, rage set in. Wait a minute, this is a vet clinic and they don’t know how to respond to stressed dogs? They want me somehow leave work in the middle of my shift to pick up, drive home, drive back again the following day and then BACK home again a stressy dog that is even more stressed by car rides that is ALSO currently under going serious treatment? Why I oughta. I had a brief rage fest in my car and then called the clinic back.

I’m pretty certain I was a bit snarky in my return call. I can’t with any certainty relay EXACTLY what I said, but I know I started the call with a deep inhale followed by “Yeah.. I got a call..” but I was more than slightly miffed so we’ll have to give me a pass or something. I was immediately put on hold until a vet could answer my questions. Thankfully, the vet was more than slightly miffed at the notion someone suggested I pick up a dog in the middle of HW treatment. In fact, all she requested to know via the phone call made to me was if they could have my permission to sedate Elsa as she was a bit stressed in her kennel. We weren’t entirely certain how that morphed to OHGODPICKTHEDOGUPNOOOOOW and she assured me Elsa was doing little more than running to the back of the kennel and making bird noises (my words there, because that’s what they sound like. Yelling birds) which spooked whoever had to call me. I was also assured that they would never ask an owner to transfer a dog mid treatment. I gave permission to chill her out, every thing went fine, and I picked my lady up the following afternoon.

One of my major complaints about the animal care industry as a whole is the inability to read a dog’s body language. My second complaint would be those in the industry afraid of being bitten/clawed/body fluided on/etc. No one wants any of those things, but they ARE going to happen, so do your best to avoid them and get over it when they do. The biting part though, a lot more of that could be avoided with a little behavioral brush up. Dr. Sophia Yin should be your own personal animal Jesus if you’re involved in the veterinary field, especially her low stress handling techniques: http://drsophiayin.com/

I think we can all agree that it’s easier to get through things if you’re not stressed- human and animal alike. You ARE more likely to cooperate for a physical at the doctor’s office if you’re not afraid, on all fours on a table, ball gagged and in a headlock, yes? Well so is your dog. We have to meet with our vet staff in the middle. On our part it’s important to be forth coming about what your dog’s behavior, and physically work on those things at home. There is no bad age to start working on accepting body handling, but man is it ideal with a puppy. There are even youtubes, people! Youtubes: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H0xY4K4FTtw

Also a good idea to acclimate your dog to the office itself. Drop in before the appointment days and let them scope out the place. Positive familiarity with the surroundings and staff.

If your dog needs to be muzzled, muzzle your dog. On a whole we’ve been conditioned to fear muzzles and not want to use them. Muzzled dog = that dog bites. In reality, a muzzle is a tool no more frightening than a bike helmet. I don’t want to crack my head open riding down the road, and I don’t want my veterinarian or vet tech bitten if my dog has not reached a point where they can handle necessary actions. DO condition your dog to accept wearing a muzzle. YOUTUBES: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGLKrQaabRI

And most importantly, don’t panic. We have a neat vet with a staff we like, so we keep going back. Your vet staff is capable and good at what they do, and if they aren’t the good news is it’s OK to never go back and find someone who is. You’re in it for your dog and I know lots of neat vets who are too.

Elsa came back from her HW treatment to a 30 day quarantine. Minimal activity, no free running around nonsense, and 30 days of doxycycline. The first week of doxy went down easy and then suddenly she realized she had some choice in the matter of taking the pills. I think the hidden pill progression went from canned food to pill pockets to cheese to hot dogs to smothering them in peanut butter and putting them as far down her throat as possible.

Towards the end of her quarantine she became a bit more cheeky than her pre-HW treatment self. I don’t think dragging out a stinky rolled up carpet to roll on it was what the vet meant by minimal activity:

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Every thing is quiet since you’re not around.

I’ve been meaning to stay on a roll with this blog. Update at least once if not twice a day. I have so much to say and tell that the first immediate entries weren’t a problem, but I haven’t even made it any where of substance (assuming I’m gonna write any thing of substance, I’m very lazy) and I already hit a wall. Reliving all these memories, some of which I had even forgotten about, started out really exciting and sometimes nostalgia feels good. Well, it always starts off feeling good and then realization that those times are over now sets in and it’s suddenly hollow. Like when some jerk plays a song on the radio that brings you back to a distinct moment in your life and you go through the same wave of emotions. “Hey! This song!” followed by a smile then followed by the sinking feeling.

It’s no secret to most following this blog that Elsa was adopted. A week ago yesterday, in fact, so the enormous loss is still really fresh. I want to keep this blog in order and hopefully by the time I get to telling you about her adoption it won’t be as fresh. That was the end goal, and it’s always the end goal with fosters obviously, but this time it really, really sucks. We spent nearly two years of our lives with that sweet gal and how much she was apart of our lives didn’t creep up on me, it leaped out into my face the first morning I woke up after she left and I sincerely thought I heard her making her weird bird noises. Our routine was so solid I am still having brief moments of panic when we’ve been out for a few hours thinking I have to get home and let her out. No one steals my coffee any more. My chest is getting super tight writing about it already. More so than the angry, tight feeling it still gets when I think about how she was going to be killed.

We love her, a lot of people who never met her love her, and her new family loves her. This dog is loved.

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I promise you I will learn from my mistakes.

Unfortunately for Elsa, we did not have the good fortune of moving slowly forever. Barring a single bordatella vaccination and a heartworm test (seriously, I should have picked up some handling skills from the SPCA if they were able to give an intranasal vaccine to AND draw blood from feral dog.. snrk.) she had no medical work up and was heart worm positive. She was just coming out of a heat when I brought her home as well. It was imperative we start treatment, but so soon? How? Well, good thing by about a month in this was happening:

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Well, that happened shortly after she ate the room she was in. The apartment attached to our house is a wide open basement space, then a living room/kitchen area that has a single bedroom and bathroom. Initially I put her in the bedroom, assuming she would remain weary of me for a long time. Not the case. About a month of hanging out together and we were having some positive, albeit awkward at times, interactions. Like the time she climbed into my lap and immediately regretted it.

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I call that one “Oh god, what have I done?”

She started hollering from the bedroom in the mornings, so we started to prepare the rest of the apartment for her to have free run in but she decided she would choose when she got run of things. We had some repair men over to work on our heater and after a short time one of them came to us and said “Your dog? Is eating the door?” and sure enough she was. We found her with her head and shoulder peeking out through the bottom of a half demolished door.

Now or never, so I went ahead and sent her spay and heartworm treatment appointments. I opted to spay and then treat with Immiticide, I honestly could not tell you if I made the right call here or not. Most familiar with heartworm treatment know your general options are the “fast kill” that is Immiticide, or the “slow kill” that is generally monthly HW preventative and rounds of antibiotics. The latter typically begin regarded as the kinder, gentler treatment. When I brought Elsa home I was determined to do the slow kill method since I figured she would be with us for quite a while, but then it dawned on me that physical treatment would limit her recovery otherwise. Maybe it was better to get her physically well first. Oh, I must have yapped about this and annoyed my internet dog friends to bits over what to do for weeks, so I’ll spare you the same anal thought processing I had then.

Her spay was uneventful. Getting there was interesting. She had never been on lead at this point and completely balked at the idea. She was a gal who liked to know where the exits were and not a fan of being restrained, even by a leash or a kennel. She was surprisingly unmoved by the idea of wearing the cushy fleece lined harness. Every day preceding her appointment she’d wear the harness for a few minutes while being showered with hot dogs. It was so easy, surely nothing could go wrong. And this is how common mistakes are born.

I never tried uh.. practicing with a leash on the harness.

Spay day comes and I suit her up, clip the leash on, and we step outside. We walk around the side of the house and every thing is fine. She stops to pee and then a car pulls onto our street. She turns to run back into the house and the minute she hits the end of the lead panic ensues. I’m not free? I can’t run for safety? Oh shit. I better chew through this tether preventing me from sweet freedom.

Don’t worry. What I lack in common sense I make up for in reflexes. I immediately grabbed the harness loop where the lead was attached and threw the extra slip leads I had around her neck. We sat and chilled out on the ground for a minute before I just opted to carry her to the car- which I should have just done from the beginning instead of trying to cram tons of counter conditioning into a few days AND while forgetting the whole point of the damn thing- successfully taking her to and from the car on the leash. And duh, cars exist, a person could have walked by, a Pterodactyl could have swooped down upon us. Point being, you’ll save yourself a lot of grief if you write stuff down. What point A is, what you want point B to be, and absolutely every thing that could happen in between. In this incident I end up looking like a dingus- even more so when I tell you I put her on Smalls’ specialty leash that cost a decent chunk of change and she nearly severed it in two points- when in reality she could have gotten away from me and been lost again where the odds of recovering her were extremely slim. Or worse, she could have gotten away from me and been killed.

If you HAVE to move a fearful dog, get that dog in a crate. Even if they don’t love said crate, there is no smarter or safer option. Too often I see transport team stories where dogs are lost in the same manner. In wanting Elsa to be as comfortable as possible I just bypassed a simple safety system. If you have a dog that is OK to be on leash, you might still encounter a Pterodactyl. Double leashes. I also like split ones that connect to two points, preferably one point being a harness and the other point being a martingale, but two slip leads will do just as well. Thankfully she made it to and from her spay appointment without further issue and the journey for her heartworm treatment went much safer and smoother.

My motto is to be prepared as possible, but if you mess up, you mess up. Do your damage control, dwell on it for a while, and don’t ever do it again.

It’s your choice.

I named her Elsa for two reasons. The primary one being that there is a lovely true story called Elsa the Lioness. It’s about a pair of handlers training a lion that was raised in captivity to learn to live in the wild again, and they in fact successfully released her. I thought at the time Elsa’s would be a dog version of that, except backwards. She came from living in the woods. I forgot the part where Elsa the Lioness met her untimely demise but details, details.

Second, I find little old lady names hilarious for dogs. I once knew of a Pit Bull named Louise and that just grabs me right.

Our first few weeks together were quiet. She wasn’t sure of me and I wasn’t sure of her. The SPCA could obviously offer no real background on her because she was in essence just an incubator for the litter of puppies she had. Puppies adopt for $375 and generally go inside of a day or two. Moms are whatever. What she wasn’t was feral. Feral dogs don’t go gently into a crate, then quietly for a car ride, then come directly out of their crate and stretch to smell the people around them. She was, however, quite scared but content enough to lay down on her blankets and stare at me. So that’s what we did. I sat on the other side of the room on my computer and she studied my every move from her safe zone.

This is the most rudimentary and important step for fearful dogs. Whatever they do is their choice and you just stay out of their way. You don’t interact with them, you don’t talk to them, you don’t even put even the seemingly smallest amount of pressure on them by looking at them. It seems counter productive to a person. We want to be proactive, but here proactive kind of equals out to inactive. Forcing yourself on a scared dog can have catastrophic results, but at the very least it’s counter productive to scare the shit out of a dog to teach them.. not to be scared any more.

Essentially for the first few weeks all I was to Elsa was the thing that came in, stayed some time, and left behind food. She had potty pads set out though I didn’t really pretend they would do much of any thing for her. I couldn’t exactly show her how to use them, but ah hell the apartment has concrete floors in most of it and I was keeping her in a smaller area of it while she settled in. She had bed, food, water, and an unwanted house guest every so often. I don’t remember a specific time frame, but it really wasn’t very long before she was laying right next to me. She’d take her time after I came down but eventually would make her way over and lay touching my feet, not taking an eye off me but eating up the treats I threw her way. And then another short amount of time later she was laying touching my feet and going to sleep. Then finally this:

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She was starting to accept the food machine. I want to stress that it’s important just to be the food machine in the beginning. The idea behind letting the dog make their own choices is for them to be able to relax and be able to make their own choices. I needed Elsa to know that every moment is a holiday and every decision she made resulted in a reward. Even smelling my feet meant she got a treat. Food is, after all, a universal language- dog and human alike- and a fearful dog eating in your company is a good conversation.

I’d write more in this entry, but I Just watched Shambles pick up an empty bowl, carry it across the entire living room before pausing behind Jack and ultimately sending it clattering to the floor right behind him. Things are gonna get dicey.

This is the first day of your life.

Lolly Doo and another dog named Jacobi were scheduled to be euthanized the same day in mid-November. Jacobi received her sentence for.. growling at her kennel sometimes. At this point it’s probably important to mention no such temperament tests were done at the rescue, and there was no one on staff or otherwise that was educated or capable. No the one signing the death warrants, and not the ones pulling dogs from shelters. The rules of the SPCA of SW Mich are “We only take the most adoptable dogs” with no real constraints on what adoptable means and to who, but if you didn’t fill those arbitrary requirements you were toast. And so it goes for Lolly Doo and Jacobi.

Except not this time. The only time in my year and a half at the rescue were dogs due to die allowed to be saved. The only time.

If you take a gander at their website http://spcaswmich.org/ they really love the tagline “Rescue, Rehabilitation, and adoption of abandoned pets.” So much so if you click on any link that tagline remains the header. So surely they would not want these two dogs to be euthanized and would allow employees to rehabilitate them, right?

Not really. A coworker and I asked the manager Katie Meskil if we could foster these two dogs and were met with a resounding no. These dogs would NEVER be adoptable. However, we could legally adopt them and sign waivers then we were on our own, or we could accept they were going to die. I think at this point it’s important to mention I had been an employee for less than 3 months and no one knew me from Adam, but I was given the option of adopting a “feral” heartworm positive unaltered dog with no assistance from these masters of rehabilitation in the future.

So I did. Our house has four floors, one of which was an entire apartment attached to the house that we didn’t have any real use for and was separate from the normal day to day with our own personal dogs. I had the space, the means, and the resources so I signed that waiver:

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That hand written waiver with my name misspelled, a mention of a vet with no notes or signature from them (and I would hope a veterinarian professional would not note that heartworm positive dogs are contagious) and that “feral” dog was mine. November 17th, 2011 shortly after 7 PM I placed a large crate just inside her kennel door and gently guided her in, loaded her into the car, and brought her to the first day of the rest of her life.

And for the first few weeks of the rest of her life she sat 10 feet away staring at me just like this:

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