Monday, August 3, 2015

The Dogs of IMR

While rescue can be very rewarding, there is one HUGE pitfall that all good rescues encounter: The Unadoptables. Here we also call them "Retirees". Simply put: If you operate a dog rescue, and you are not left with a bunch of these, you are either placing badly or not accepting the dogs who need you the most.

Gunther was our first of these. My friend, Lisa, asked me to pick him up from Crawford County Humane Society. I spent a day driving nearly to Indiana and back because we knew he had an eye injury that needed treatment. As it turned out, I wasn't able to treat it anyway because Gunther spent his first two weeks in rescue under my dining room table. He still has a scar.

You see, Gunther had been "rescued" by an elderly woman who thought that she was helping stray dogs by keeping them in a pen in her back yard. By the time her daughter came by and found out about her endeavors, there were 30 dogs of varying ages in that pen. Gunther, still under two years old, was hopelessly feral. He is now 12 years old and hates being touched. We drug him to trim his nails. Gunther requires a low allergen food, but little else. He knows the routine here and hates strangers coming into the house (he will try to bite them). Gunther also hates men in hats.

Sassy is an elderly Rat Terrier who came in a group of mill dogs when she was about two years old. I'll never forget the words of the rescuer who brought me two Rat Terriers. She pointed to the first, saying, "She's a sweetheart." Then she looked at Sassy and said, "That one is nuts."Sassy has been here ever since. No one can pet her or touch her. Much like Gunther,she will never adjust to a normal home. Sassy falls into the "Aren't puppymills wonderful?" category. She requires no special care - just food and compassion.

Canis Stumpus Tripodis
Canis Stumpus Tripodis was one of a large group of Yorkshire Terriers confiscated by a local humane society. Stumpy had a badly mangled left rear leg which had to be amputated. When I brought him home from the hospital, he promptly bit me. It has taken years for Stumpy to feel comfortable enough to allow some guests to pet him. He loves being outside and we often find h
Cha Cha
im in the backyard, laying in the grass or barking at passing cars. He might be adoptable to the right home, but he requires a pet door to a fenced yard and no kids. So far, the proper situation for Stumpy continues to elude us. He is a Retiree with an option.

Cha Cha is a Chug - part Chihuahua, part Pug. She was a confiscation by an area humane society. They asked us to take her because of her intense fear. When she came here at one year of age, she bit Kevin as he tried to get her out of the kennel. Never one to ignore a warning, I placed the whole kennel in our gated laundry room with Cha Cha in it. For several weeks, she came out only at night to eat, drink, and use the piddle pads. Each day I would look into her pet taxi and speak gently to her as she tried her best to blend into the plastic. I fed her, talked to her, began holding out my hand for her to sniff while keeping my face averted - if I looked at her, she was gone! It took months for her to accept me. When she finally decided to trust me, she had reached her limit of one worthy human being. Two years later, no one else can touch her. Cha Cha eats a costly low-allergen food. She has no other special requirements.

Roxie is a 10 year-old Pug belonging to a dear friend who had to move into supportive living. I offered to keep Roxie and bring her for visits. These visits mean the world to both of them. For those of you unfamiliar with supportive living facilities, they take the resident's income and leave them $90 a month for incidentals. Roxie eats a mix of Blue Buffalo kibble and canned food, and uses tacrolimus eye drop at a cost of $50 a month. We receive much thanks and appreciation, but no financial support for her.

Likewise, Khaleesi's owner went into long term care when Khaleesi was already 14 years old and blind from bilateral cataracts. Khaleesi, a tiny black poodle with one Grade IV luxating patella, had two dentals right away - her teeth were horrible. She is the sweetest little thing you could ever imagine, and she fit in so well here, I hadn't the heart to send her on to another rescue. Khaleesi is now 17 years old. She spends most of her time sleeping on a bed in the kitchen near the refrigerator. She gets the food she prefers (Pedigree Little Champions), and takes Flagyl and Metacam each morning. Every evening between 6:30 and 8:00pm, I can count on her rising to make her way down the hallway - it's time for her dinner (if I don't notice her right away, she will come and stand stoically next to my bed until I do). Khaleesi is the only dog here who eats twice a day. At her age, she gets whatever she wants. We will love her until she joins her Mama in Heaven. Her other expenses include grooming four times a year and intermittent vet visits for antibiotics (she is prone to upper respiratory infections).

Sadie is a 10 year old Pug whose owners took really crappy care of her, then dumped her on rescue with a belly full of cancer. We hope our vet was able to get it all, but fear of recurrence seems to be preventing Sadie from finding a home with anyone else. We did a dental and spay on Sadie, too. Our vet missed a small round lump over her thigh, which is likely a cyst, but may require removal. Sadie has really bad knees in her rear legs which causes diminished fecal continence. She gets a queasy tummy, so we give her a half a Pepcid each morning with her Metacam. She eats canned food in weight maintenance formula to keep her weight down. Sadie is a sweetheart who never complains, gets along with everyone, and enjoys barking at stuff in the back yard along with her buddies, Stumpy and Eddie.

Gertie is a 10 year old Pug who is mine by default. Gertie is blind and not housetrainable - 'nuff said. Gertie has the worst KCS I have ever encountered. We use tacrolimus, but are close to giving it up for artificial tears and Genteal Ointment for Severe Dry Eyes. She chose me, and made her choice clear by saying,"Ma-ma-ma-ma-ma" whenever she is separated from me by a door or a baby gate. It would have to be a pug angel to ever adopt her. I would only entrust her to someone I know personally. Gertie is due for another dental soon.

Friends and blog readers will be familiar with Calvin the Curmudgeon. Calvin came to rescue in a group of mill dogs at age nine. He is fecally incontinent and walks by swinging his back legs like two sticks. He frequently falls and still stands back and barks at folks he doesn't know. If he lives long enough, Calvin will need wheels. Calvin takes Metacam each morning for pain and needs another dental.

Nellie is hands-down the most loving dog I have ever encountered. She is also the most submissive. Nellie is a 45# hound mix with a long list of phobias: Loud noises, thunder, open spaces are a few of them. We keep sedatives and she needs them if it even looks like it might rain. Nellie hasn't a mean bone in her body, but her fear is her downfall. If we take her out the front door, she drops to the ground and army crawls. She submissive urinates when strangers pet her or when she is placed in a vehicle. As you might imagine, she does not show well. So far, nobody seems to have the kind of tenderness, patience and compassion to work through these fearful stages. In my home and yard, she behaves like any normal dog. I do not see much hope for adoption for Nellie. Her main expense are her Blue Buffalo and her sedatives.

 Last of all today is Eddie. Eddie is 10 years old. Despite his age, Eddie is adoptable. He's pretty healthy - just needs dental and tiny lumpectomy. He is scheduled for these procedures on August 18th. Then, we hope, Eddie will be going home.

We buy a bottle of Metacam every month, a bottle of tacrolimus, Genteal drops and ointment, 50# of kibble, two cases of Pedigree cans, about 50 bags of Pedigree LC, one box of The Honest Kitchen EVERY month. We stock amoxicilline, Flagyl, Clindamycin, meclizine, baby aspirin, triple antibiotic ointment, and more. We use gobs of paper towels, baby wipes and chewys.

We have a bunch of very tough-to-place dogs. But we feel they deserve to be cared for as well as we possibly can.

If you feel that way, too, please help.