April 8th 2007 8:11 am
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As many of you already know, I'm going to my furever home on Monday! But Foster Mom feels like my story is so special, she wants to summarize it all over again.
A lot of people think they know what "skin and bones" means, but they really don't. People who saw me at adoption events (anywhere from 2-3 months after putting on 10 pounds) often remarked "He is skin and bones!" but they never saw me in the beginning.
On Wednesday January 3, 2007, an animal control officer spotted me wandering around, caught me, and put me in one of the compartments of his truck. A scarey ordeal, but at least that compartment was warm.
I went to the shelter and was put in a kennel with another dog that had been caught as a stray that day. We waited for our stray holding time to be up. We all wait a certain amount of days to see if someone will come and claim us. But judging from my condition, I think the shelter staff knew that I wasn't going to be claimed.
So that Saturday, my FM was volunteering at the shelter and someone mentioned me to her. They said, "There is a very skinny pointer in building 2 that needs fostering..." and FM said she'd go over to take a look at me. At first she didn't even notice me, and had to walk through the building twice! Then she finally spotted me: standing very forlornly in the doorway to my outside run, standing next to my equally depressed kennelmate. I had no meat on my neck, my ribs stuck out, my hips protruded and so did my spine, my stomach looked bloated, I had sores on my back, I wasn't neutered, and my legs looked odd. I didn't have any interest in this person standing in front of my kennel. I just stared.
FM left the shelter that day without asking for more info on me, but then e-mailed the shelter later to get the info. Then she said "We'll take him!" and picked me up that Friday.
The most critical part of all of this was the timing. Good thing the shelter knew that FM was available to foster again. I spent only a week and a half in the shelter.
So that Friday, FM walked back to building 2 with a shelter worker. This time I was in a different kennel with a beagle. Both of us were just sitting in our kennel, looking dejected. The door to our outside run was closed off because it was very cold outside and we all needed to stay inside where it was warm. When our kennel door opened, my beagle buddy backed up a couple of steps, but I remained sitting & staring. Neither of us made any move to escape from the kennel. The shelter worker slipped a kennel lead over my head, but still I didn't move. After several minutes of coaxing & tugging, she picked me up. While I didn't fight it, my whole body went stiff. It looked like I was bending myself in half, right in the middle of my spine, since I was thrusting my back legs forward. I was carried through a series of doors and plopped on the lobby floor, where I just stood there and tried not to look at anyone. It looked as if I didn't even have the muscles to hold my head up properly. My kennel ID tag was taken off. Finally, my new FM picked me up and carried me to the van and put me inside a crate. She tried to give me some treats but I didn't take them. The entire ride to my new foster home, I just stared at FM.
When we arrived at my foster home, I had to be lifted out of the crate and to the backyard. It was as if I didn't know how to walk. When FM took my leash off of me, I slowly walked around the yard and sniffed. When I moved, it was as if I was folded in half again. I didn't run. The most I could do was a very fast walk. I didn't want to come to FM, but she put the leash on me again and started to introduce me to my new foster siblings. Surprisingly, they loved me right away. I just stood there and took their sniffs and feebly sniffed them back.
The first couple of days, I was very nervous. I would peek around corners at FM. I didn't know how to go up or down steps, so at first FM had to carry me a lot. By the second day, I figured it out and was brave enough to go outside on my own. Having my foster siblings around really helped, because I would follow them outside. It also took about a week for me to start running, even though it was very slow at first.
I acted like I'd never been in a house before, or like I'd never been asked to be a civil member of a family. Whenever FM would get herself some food, I would literally climb on her wherever she sat, I was so obsessed with that food. In less than a week, I got over it, with the help of FM.
FM also found that I had fleas, so I had to get a bath. It was the worst thing ever -- I absolutely hated it. I also had tapeworms. FM thought it would be easiest to bring me to her own vet rather than all the way down to the shelter in order to get deworming meds. She also wanted to know if I had ear mites since my ears were soooo dirty. I was very well behaved at the vet and walked nicely on the leash. They told FM that I was healthy apart from being very skinny!! They gave me the dewormer for my tapeworms and said that I didn't have ear mites. Despite this, FM still had to clean my ears every other day with cotton swabs, and they didn't start staying clean until after 2.5 months.
But FM started bringing me to the shelter's vet. About two weeks after I first came to my foster home, the shelter vets diagnosed me with sarcoptic mange. This explained the bare patches of fur, the discoloration of my legs, and the leathery ears. They said it was highly contagious and that, if I was still at the shelter, they would have had to put me down because I could have spread it to the other dogs. This was a very stressful day for FM because it seemed like everyone considered this diagnosis very grave news, that would take a lot of diligence to overcome and would take around 6 weeks to treat. Someone even told FM that she might have to keep me in a crate for the entire six weeks so that I wouldn't infect anything else! They even offered to call up a vet tech and see if she would take me if FM did not feel like going through the treatment. But FM doesn't give up like that!
FM was worried about Jasmine, Max, and Socks, because she didn't want them to get sick. She talked to an ACO who was very reassuring that I would get over it just fine. FM took me home and did some more research. It seemed like it would be easy enough to get rid of, it would just take time. And when FM decided to foster me, she knew I would be one that would take a lot of time. She had to get some medicine through her own vet for my trio of foster siblings as a preventative measure. Over the course of my treatment, they all itched somewhat more than usual but it went away very quickly.
I, on the other paw, itched intensely for a long time, and there wasn't much of a noticable difference until halfway through the treatment. In some of my pictures, you can see how my legs look brown (and they were taken after a bath, too). That's from the mange. My infamous "paws covering face & peeking out" pictures were actually taken during a time when my face also itched intensely and I had to scrub my face with my paws for relief. I chewed on my paws. I itched my ears. Some of my pictures also show a stark difference in color on my ears in comparison to the color of my head. This is also because of the mange. For awhile I also had no fur along the edges & tips of my ears -- FM could literally scrape off the thick accumulation (mange) all the way around my ears, and this was the best way to get that stuff off apart from the ivermectin treatments. In other words, I was one very, very itchy dog. One silly shelter worker, who I always saw on my trips to the shelter to see the vet, nicknamed me "itchy and scratchy".
During all of this, I got an upper respiratory infection. I didn't cough, but I had a steady stream of green snot coming out of my nose and leaving green dots all over my blankets. And when I'd lick my itchy legs, I'd leave a sticky mucus trail on them. Actually, that was the original reason FM took me to the shelter vet the day I got my mange diagnosis. But with some pills, it cleared up immediately.
At first, FM tried to keep me isolated from the other dogs. I was allowed free roam of the whole lower level, but was seperated from everyone else by a gate. I hated it. I whined and whimpered, and tried to climb the gate. After several days, FM finally decided that it was fruitless to stress me out this way. My emotional health was just as important as my physical health, and it was tearing me apart to not feel like a member of the family anymore. FM rationalized that Jasmine, Max, and Socks had already been exposed to the mange and the URI. They were also on treatment. If we were all on treatment, why was it so critical to still keep me away? So FM took that gate down, and I had a joyful reunion with my foster siblings, and snuggled with them on the couch immediately for a peaceful nap. FM never regretted that decision!
So in those 6 weeks of treatment, I finally started to pack on some pounds as well. My coat finally started to look good, and finally I wasn't itching at all and my coloring was how it was supposed to be. FM was feeding me five small meals throughout the day at first, and supplementing it with periodic doses of alfalfa and a raw egg about once a week. Finally I got to eating 3 one-cup meals everyday. But I'm really supposed to eat only 1.5 cups each day. I started out at only 25 pounds. I should weigh at least 40 or 45 pounds. I put on about 6 pounds rather quickly, and then in took much longer to put on an additional four. So I've gained 10 pounds in 3 months. FM says, in this last month I have been very active. Constantly chasing birds outside and leaping around, so maybe I've just been burning off so much energy.
So I learned how to go on walks. I really liked it. I was a puller, but I was up for however long of a walk FM wanted to go on. We even walked to a nearby fenced-in playground for an off-leash run. It would have been more fun if Jasmine was there with me. FM was going to bring us both there, but then whaddya know... the playground gets torn down!
FM helped me become completely potty trained. I had some accidents, but only because FM wasn't paying attention to me when I said "Hey, let me out already! I gotta go!"
I also learned (or rediscovered) how much fun it is to play. I loved to chase & wrestle with Jasmine. And FM was so happy that Jasmine loved to play with me, too. FM says I really helped her. When it was too cold or too rainy, FM would throw the kongs in the house and I would go get them and bring them back to the couch as fast as I could. And I would really leap on and off that couch. It was a good way to wear me out. And when spring time came around and I could chase the birds, FM also started to help me learn how to catch frisbees. Although I only learned how to jump up to grab it out of FM's hand, it was still a lot of fun.
I also learned how to "sit" and "down". I knew nothing about training. But I quickly learned my name, and with the help of a clicker, I learned both behaviors very quickly, and loved to show them off to people.
I was also a big cuddle bug. I wasn't afraid anymore (hadn't been afraid at all after the third day at my foster home!) and loved sitting on anyone's lap or snuggling in behind one of my foster siblings. I loved to be wherever everyone was, and loved to lean in FM's lap whenever she sat down.
So when I was finally healthy, it was time for the last thing before going out to adoption events: I had to get neutered! FM took me to the shelter's vets so that I could get all the vaccinations I needed, and was intending to just work out a date for my surgery. But they said they could do it the next morning! So FM left me over night at the shelter! The vet had to drag me through the door. I said I didn't want to go. But when FM came to pick me up, I walked right through the door on my own. And even though I was groggy and my eyes weren't so bright, I went right up to FM and crawled halfway into her lap and said "Thankdog you're here, now let's go home!".
We waited one week for the incision line to heal, and then we hit the adoption events. Just to sum things up, they didn't go very well. The first one had a lot of people oooing and aaahing over me, but that wasn't so for the next 3 events. Everyone said "He's so skinny! Just skin and bones!"... they don't know what real skin and bones is. Most people were knocked speechless when FM said that I was up 10 pounds from my original weight of 25.
Real "skin and bones" is when you can feel all the vertebrae of a dog's neck without even trying hard. It's when you think your dog's legs are deformed, when truly you are just seeing parts of the bone that are normally smooth and covered by muscle or fat. It's when a collar looks like a joke around their neck. It's when the spine sticks up so far, you are actually amazed when a strip of muscle starts to form on either side. It's when you wonder how the ears are attached to the head, because it doesn't seem like they even fit anywhere. It's when you can put a finger between each rib, even the ones in the very front, so much that your finger is level with the other rib bones.
It was hard to be at the adoption events when maybe only 5 people out of 50 were actually seriously looking. Hard to constantly hear the same phrases over and over again. Hard to hear the stories ("My friend's dog was really skinny too, but he gained 20 pounds in a month.") and to hear "Oh, he's too good, I'm sure someone will come take him home. He'll go really fast."
But I didn't go fast. And when you're hearing that phrase at your 4th 6-hour adoption event, it gets tiring. You just want to tell people that no one will ever be adopted if everyone keeps saying that exact same thing. More needs to be done!
But lucky for me, at adoption event #5, I found furever. And I couldn't be happier. FM is so amazed at the changes I've made, and knows that I will be so happy. I will have a couple people to bond closely with and be their loyal companion through life. I'll be their cuddle bug and their side-kick. I'll have a backyard, with a gate that connects to a beagle named Elvis' yard, and we're sure to have a lot of fun.
I'm literally hours away from going to that furever. I can't wait! It's all been worth it.
FM knows that she may have skinny fosters in the future, and while we won't all be exactly the same, she knows that my happy ending will keep her going. Right now she's working on Wiggle's emotional issues. And previously she had helped out Cole. That's three lives saved, and many lives enriched -- whether they are immediately effected or just hearing our stories, we hope they can make a difference for other dogs out there.
I'm the "hopeless case" that never was.
April 7th 2007 1:58 pm
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I FOUND FUREVER!!!
I get to go to furever on Monday!!! But all the applications have been filled out, my adoption fee has been paid... but since tomorrow is easter and my new FUREVER (!!!) will be gone all day, they will take me on Monday!!!
I will be with an older couple, who also have two cats (not sure how I will behave around them). They have a fenced backyard, a neighbor beagle that I will get to play with, and overall just seem so PAWSOME! They've been dog owners before but they know a thing or two MORE than your average dog owner, it seems. And while we only met the man, he left and showed his wife my petfinder page, and she was OK with it. :) Her only concern was the cats -- but this man seems to dedicated, like he'd do anything for me.
He wants a good-natured companion, and that is what I am!! :) He's even glad that I'm a lap-dog. I think we will have a lot of fun together.
FM is anxiously waiting for Monday. Can't wait. :) It will be so sad but so HAPPY at the same time. Couldn't have asked for a perfect furever. I think me and my furever will be best buds all through life! Yeah!
April 1st 2007 4:00 pm
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... what's wrong with me?
Do I have a wart on my nose that FM hasn't told me about?
Am I cross eyed?
Do I smell funny?
Do I look plain?
Do I not seem sweet enough? Inquisitive enough? Pay attention to you enough?
Are you drawn away from me because you can still see bones instead of muscle?
Today was my fourth adoption event, and NO ONE liked me!! I only got one or two "Oh what a pretty dog..." comments. The entire time I was making the shelter staff at this event giggle and laugh and comment yet again on how they are surprised that I have not been placed yet. The first adoption event that I did? Everyone was all over me!! Not anymore! What's the dealy-o!
Do I have bird breath? I did catch one the other day, ya know.
Am I too big?
Look like I'd be a boring dog?
Do I seem not-so-smart? Smarter than you'd like?
So next Saturday we'll be at a different pet store with about three other doggies and hopefully someone will get adopted.
Today we only had one adoption out of 9 dogs and 3 cats. It was a lovely pup named Whirlaway that went to a home with an older couple. The old man obviously had a very kind heart and knew a thing or two about dogs. We all knew that Whirlaway was a very lucky pup and they were going to make eachother very, very happy. Another dog has a "maybe". They have to convince their grandpa about getting the pup, but I think it will be easy to do. FM was very happy that she had helped get Petfinder all updated yesterday because she was able to tell these people to look at the petfinder page to show off the pup they were interested in. :)
And another lady, whom FM has seen many times, came by looking again. She had been interested in a dog, about a month ago, who we all thought had been adopted, but it turned out that it had fallen through! So she has plans to come to the shelter and see the dog she had had her heart set on.... I think it will end up well!!
But little ol' me did not generate much interest. Disappointing again how thin the crowds were! Where is everyone lately?!? Hmph!
Now I sound like a broken record: Maybe next weekend????
March 30th 2007 2:14 pm
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What can I say?!? I discovered a new love!! The DIRT!!
Mind you, I ain't the dig-under-the-fence kinda dog. Now if I were to ever try to get beyond a fence I think I'd attempt to go over it first! Anyway, one day I had really muddy paws when I came inside and FM said "... hmm, Sawyer, what have you been up to??" Well I was more than happy to show her my creation! Yeah! I started to dig right smack in between the day lillies and dug up a couple of young bulbs. FM patiently stuck 'em back in the dirt and shook her head at me.
Over the next couple of days, FM's daily poop patrol led her to the discovery of a new hole -- behind the shed! FM said "Sawyer, that thing is big enough for one of these other pups to step in and twist an ankle when they come runnin' through here!!" plus I think she was upset because it was literally 5 inches away from the former cat, Smokey's, resting place. FM said, "...and I also do not want to find the poor cat's bones uncovered one of these days!!" Eeew, no, I don't think I'd be silly enough to do that one!
And then a third hole was found in the nice BIG patch of soft dirt, where there aren't even any plants. I thought for sure it was there all along as a fun place to dig! And why not?!? It was just calling to me!
Note to furever: Supervise the Sawyer Boy when he's outside if you a) have a short fence and plenty of birds flying over it, and/or b) if you don't want him to dig up your petunias!
Such simple sacrifices to make for the bestest boy ever!!
Oh yeah, and FM is very proud of me because I'm turning out to be a very patient boy with Miss Wiggles, even if FM wishes we didn't play the way we do sometimes! We're too mouthy for FM's liking!!
March 29th 2007 3:24 pm
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...TRUST me! *I* am the happiest *boy* you'll ever meet!!
FM says that my pictures and videos do a reasonable job of showing me off, but it's nothing like knowing me in person. FM says that I'm sure to bring so much joy and many laughs to my furever family!!
FM says the bestest trait my furever family could ever have is: A sense of humor!! If they don't already have one, I will make sure they develop one, tehehehehe!! :)
March 28th 2007 4:44 pm
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I finally caught one!!
Woohoo! How satisfying! Every bird dog's dream... :D
I spent aaaaaaall of my free time for the past two weeks (maybe even longer than that!!) pacing the back fence and leaping for birds, flushing them out of the bushes, etc. etc.
Well FM didn't see me catch it. But she was on poop patrol and saw the little birdie, dead as a doornail in the grass. And I was still pacing my beloved fence line, tongue lolling out a mile long, ears flipped back, amber eyes quite wide -- FM said I looked pretty nutso... or at least like I was having the time of my life! -- panting, "One down, 56 to go!! Barawhahaha!!".
FM says she imagines I used my impressive leaping skills to snatch that poor little birdie right out of the air. Hey -- I really could be a frisbee dog, ya know, FM has been helping me practice my leaps! I'm gettin' pretty dang good!
Next adoption event is this coming Sunday! FM will spend Saturday snapping pictures of all the new adoptable dogs and cats at the shelter. It's been 2-3 weeks and the petfinder pages are starting to lack in the picture department! Eek! But it's so satisfying to see them gettin' adopted, woohoo! Maybe I will finally get to be next on Sunday?!? FM has high hopes!
Oh yeah, and there's a new foster doggie here! Her name is Wiggles and she's a funny girl. She is always teasing with me and flirtin', but when it comes right down to it, she's very picky about her play!! FM says maybe if I didn't tug on her ears so much, she might like me a little better!!
Thanks so much to all the pup pals that continue to shower me in support. Love ya'll!! We're gonna have a great big pawty when I finally find furever!!
March 24th 2007 11:33 am
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Second event (last weekend) there were no interested people.
Third time (today) was not much better. We had only a trinkle of people stop by. One lady had a brittany that looked a lot like a GSP. She said she had two dogs and her husband was not very excited about getting another one. It sounded like she might come back or look at my petfinder page. But she didn't come back. And on the way out someone seemed interested and maybe they will look at my page, too.
Very disappointing how few people came by today. Next weekend we will be at a local mall and maybe that will go better.
March 10th 2007 2:19 pm
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Oh, no one could resist me. Unfortunately, everyone that came by was so confident that I'd find a furever home in a heartbeat, that noone stepped up to be that home!!
We'll try again next weekend, if no one calls the shelter about me during the week (there were some hopefuls).
I am one pooped puppy now. I had a long day -- six hours in that pet store! It was only supposed to be four! It can get to a pup after awhile! (My first time in a pet store, too!). Now I'm snoring in my chair, tehehehe.
Towards the end I was having a hard time settling down. But FM blames that on being tired. She's ready to join me in my chair for a good nap, too!
Thanks to everywoof who kept their paws crossed for me. I guess today wasn't my day to go home.
March 10th 2007 5:35 am
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Hopefully FM will be able to come back and say that I found a furever home. And if not... well, we'll try again next weekend!
March 9th 2007 3:45 pm
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I'm already getting ready for Saturday. FM gave me a bath, so now I am super white! I was SO good in the bath tub. My very first bath ever was horrible, but this one wasn't so bad! FM is about to clean out my ears, and she's been extra vigilent about picking up poo in the backyard so that I will have fresh breath tomorrow. ;)
Paws crossed, pawlease!! I hope I hope I hope I hope hope HOPE I can go to my furever home tomorrow!! If I go home tomorrow, that means FM can take in her next foster by next Friday. The next foster is a sweetheart who is urgent need of a foster or furever because she is out of time. :(
But, the most important thing is MY adoption event tomorrow. Four hours. In a pet store, so it'll be interesting. Surrounded by puppies looking for homes, too. Let's hope there is SOMEONE out there who would prefer an older dog to a puppy. Let's hope hope hope!! FM is just a big bundle of nerves!
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