With the post I did earlier, I hope that I can help Lebron, however I am VERY thankful that within the past two years I have been able to rescue and give good homes to three different dogs.
Stinky was the first dog I rescued. I already knew that I was getting First Girl in June. I was getting a tattoo in February (it was our first Valentines day together and The Man got me the tattoo <3). My tattoo lasted for 3 hours. We talked about this and that and the other thing. I mentioned how I was going to be getting First Girl in June and wouldn't mind finding her a playmate. I knew she had never been a single dog, I thought that she'd do a bit better. Well surprise of surprises, my tattooist is also a doggie-foster-mommy!
She had Stinky. He was 9 years old. He had been saved from a shelter in Arkansas and brought up to Maine. She had had him for 3 or 4 months and he had been adopted. Apparently he's very, uhm, strong willed. The woman that adopted him didn't know how to be a leader and got snapped at. She returned him. My tattooist then had him for almost 6 months before I showed up! Poor beast. No one wanted him... My heart bled. I WANT HIM! My tattooist ended up just going on a tattoo tour in Europe and it was a couple of months before we were able to meet up again. In April of 2008, Stinky came home to stay. He is definitely a handful. I was a little insane to think that it'd be cool for my first dog ever to be a dominant alpha but after a couple of rocky months we've got each other figured out. =)
So in June, First Girl came to us. She had been living with family of The Man's. Unfortunatly, First Girl had pretty bad separation anxiety. It was impossible to leave her unattended without her destroying, defecating and urinating all over the place. When the family was at work and school, First Girl was tied up in the back yard. It took awhile, but we convinced the remaining 'kid' that when she went to college, First Girl would do better at our home rather than tied up all the time. She was a wonderful dog. Very obedient and snuggily. I just could never leave her at home. I'd leave her in her crate but she'd always urinate if left for more than 3 hours and would paw and chew at the metal bars, injuring the crate and herself. She was wonderful at the shop. I wouldn't even have to tie her up. She just wanted to be near me.
I first started noticing something odd with her in behavior/health when we moved in July. She was a little shaky but thought that it was nerves from the move. The first vet visit was on a Friday in August. I noticed that there was some green goop coming from her eyes. The vet gave me drops, thinking that she had an eye infection. By the next afternoon however she was shaking violently at the shop. She wasn't interested in food (VERY odd) and grunted any time I picked her up. I was upset because I was going to have to wait until Monday to bring her back to the vets. (The emergency vet is MAD CRAZY expensive.) To my amazement (and relief) my vet happened into The Shop on Sunday afternoon! She took a look at First Girl and told me to bring her in first thing the next morning. She'd make room for her. That's how bad First Girl was looking. I couldn't get her to stand up. I had to carry her home from The Shop that night (1.5 miles).
That Monday morning we did blood work and a urinalysis which all came back normal. We started her on antibiotics anyway to see if it would help. I suggested that maybe her shaking was from pain of some sort? We started her on pain meds. With the pain meds we saw a bit of an improvement but it didn't last long. Her legs started swelling so we thought maybe kidney problems? During the next couple of weeks we did more blood work (fine, no kidney problems), tried different meds and taking x-rays. The vet thought that there might be something on the x-ray of First Girls abdomin. We were referred to internal med specialists for an ultrasound. By this point The Man was starting to get a bit irritated at the sheer amount of vet bills that were coming his way but I wanted hardcore to know what was wrong. The ultrasound ended up being clear. DAMMIT! The internal med vet then decided to take an x-ray of First Girl's legs to see if the swelling was soft tissue or joint. WHOA. Something the doctor had not seen since vet school. First Girl had a condition called Hypertrophic Osteopathy. Essentially her bones were growing out from where they should be. This is usually a secondary condition caused by a lung tumor. We already knew from x-rays that her lungs were clear. We were left to guess that her tumor was in her brain. Huh. That would explain the random seizures she used to have in her old home (she never had one with me).
While this wasn't the answer that I really wanted, I was relived that we at least had an answer. We knew what was wrong and while we couldn't do anything to cure her, we could sure as hell load her up with outrageous amounts of pain meds. She was a brave little girl but it eventually got to the point where she couldn't stand, she couldn't walk, she couldn't even go to the bathroom on her own. At the end of September we made the decision to put her down. It was horrible. We only had her living with us for 15 months but in those few months she almost never left my side. I was in a rough spot.
The hardest thing after losing First Girl was going to The Shop without her. After she joined us, I had never once been at The Shop without her. I tried bringing Stinky but he is just not good there. He whines and barks and is not easily calmed. I started what I wanted to be a very slow process of looking for a new pup. I perused petfinder and craigslist. I didn't want to jump into a dog that wouldn't be right for either myself or for Stinky. I let my tattooist know that I had started looking. Almost instantly she found us Little Girl. Within a few days we had Stinky and Little Girl meet and it was love at first sight! They were even more perfectly matched than Stinky and First Girl had. Since Little Girl hadn't actually made it into the rescue she wasn't fixed but I was able to convince The Man to bring her on because we weren't paying a rescue fee for her. Yeah, that didn't work out quite the way I was planning; her $350 fixing turned into a $600 fixing and hernia repair.
So there's my painfully long Thankful Thursday. Whew.