A New Foster Dog Takes Over My Animal House

 |  May 11th 2011  |   0 Contributions


No offense to the Dogsters who adore little white dogs, butI'm the last person on Earth to have a LWD. Or at least, I thought I was - until a sweet, senior Maltese found herselfon the euthanasia list at the city animal shelter.

Sasha is a 13-year-old superstar who was discovered straying the streets of Brooklyn. At intake, she weighed 9 pounds -well over her ideal weight of 6 pounds. So I'm fostering her until 1) she melts away that excess weight and 2) a Maltese aficionado steps up to take over and give her more suitable digs. Right now, she's shacked up with my cats, and that's fine, but I'm certain she'd rather live with K9s. Size doesn't matter - Sasha actually doesn't mind bigger dogs. She's made friends with my Border Collie Sheba, who adores little white dogs (probably because she's a sheepdog and LWDs look like little lambs).

While she's in my care, I'm doing my best to ensure thatSasha has many happy, healthy years ahead of her. She loves to eat, so I feel like a very bad cop indeed giving her strictly controlled portions. But I know it's in her best interest. Tucked in to her twice-daily loving spoonful - no more and no less! - of Wellness Duck & Sweet Potato canned food is a sprinkling of Milk Thistle, to boost herliver health and keep her eyes cloud-free. She also gets a sprinkling of Acidophilus, for digestive wellness, plus cinnamon and turmeric (for reasons explained here and here).

To satisfy her hunger, whichappears to beinsatiable, I garnishSasha's meals with various veggies; her faves thus far are canned pumpkin and steamed spinach. For encouragement, I remind Sasha of Kate Moss's immortal words: "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels."

Like many miniature breeds, Maltese are prone to dental disease; their tiny mouths are bacterial breeding grounds. During her recent tooth-cleaning session at the vet, Sasha underwent 15 - count 'em, 15 - extractions. But she's far from toothless! She can eat raw baby carrots with the best of them.

In fact, Sasha has the demeanor of a sprightly young pup; everyone is surprised to learn her real age. I'd likefor her to maintain that youthful appearance as long as possible. So, when she's not snacking on raw carrots, Sasha takes a cellular-health supplement called Vigorate. It's the K9 version of the human product Juvenon, and it so happens thatit was gear-testedby its inventor's own senior Maltese - with great results.

Dark-haired dogs show age by going white around the face and muzzle - this is called frosting. So, how dowhite-haired dogs show age? Their facial hairs turn reddish-brown. Sasha has her share of ruddy hairs, not only on her face, but on her feet. I'm looking forward to seeing those red flags of age disappear soon with Vigorate, as they did for the supplement inventor's dog. Happily,Sasha loves chomping away at her daily Vigorate treat.

Sasha also enjoys visits to the park - she could play there aerobically for hours. In fact, she's quite the petite athlete, and much prefers running and walking to being carried around like a purse.But even a quick tour around the block leaves Sasha looking several shades grayer. She's a filth magnet. To keep her looking her most adoptable, I bathe her often with TheraNeem Pet Shampoo, which is gentle enough to use every day; it contains no soap, and its main ingredient - super-moisturizingNeem oil - is great for rejuvenating a drycoat, and won't irritate even sensitive little-white-dog skin.

Sasha may be just shy of 10 pounds, but I find this little dog to bequite the high-maintenance handful. The time I'm spending on her is seriously impacting quality time with my other dogs. She's adorable, and I'm happy to have rescued her. She has the most endearing habit of standing on her hind legs and frantically waving her front paws while grinning madly, like amarionette handled by a puppeteer on crack. Especially when there's food in the vicinity.

But I'm not afraid to tell the truth: Isincerely hope a Maltese maven comes to my rescue soon. Give me a nice, solid pit bull - or three - any day!

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