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I really do seem to be the pied piper to stray creatures of the four-footed fur-bearing variety.  Often I’m away from home and pretty far into my rides when I come across a seemingly-lost dog so there’s nothing to be done about it right then and there.  I have been known to go back to the dog-sighting places in my car to see if I can find a dog to bring it to the shelter, but most times the dog’s already gone or is too slippery and/or wary to be caught. This one, however, I succeeded in getting ahold of.  It was running around just a block over from my house so I had the benefit of being able to go back with a leash a couple days in a row.

He was not wary at all but he was wiggly-slippery; it also appeared as though he’d never been walked on a leash with any regularity, which made our travel a bit challenging at first.  Upon closer inspection I noticed that his nails were so long they’d grown at odd angles, causing him serious discomfort and a resulting limp that alternated between his feet as he walked.  Once I had him home, fed and watered, I saw callouses on his front legs.  Sure indicators of having been left too long and too often in a cramped space, like a crate too small for him to stand up in.  That severity of callous on a dog so young is usually the result of being in a pound or shelter where the dogs lie on concrete slabs day-in and day-out. Also of note, he still had his dew claws.  Any vet would’ve removed those at his first or second well-pup visit when he was getting the series of puppy shots, and if not then, for sure when he was neutered.  But this dog isn’t neutered, which also led to doubts about his owners.  My husband took some photos to make Found Dog flyers, but we began to wonder more and more if we wanted to advertise the finding of this dog.  I wasn’t sure his owners deserved him.

Then, two days after finding the dog, I was walking him in my neighborhood when a car pulled over to the side of the road and when I caught up a man rolled down the window and asked me, “Did you find that dog?”  I actually considered saying no, that he was my dog–but, seriously, this dog is unmistakable–so instead I answered, Yes, is he yours?  To which they responded, “Yeah, but don’t worry, we don’t want him.  We was gonna take him to the pound anyway.”  I could not have been more shocked if I’d tried.  (“flabbergasted” is the word my mother would use, which really fits better in this situation)

Why, I asked them, were they willing to give up this dog? He’s as adorable as he is beautiful.  The woman in the passenger seat leaned over and said, “When we got him he was a real tiny thing but then he growed up too big.”  At this point in our conversation, I noticed that the dog wasn’t even responding to their voices.  He didn’t seem interested in them, his official owners, in the least.  He stood by my side, leaning his weight into my leg, chewing on blades of grass every now and then.  The man went on to tell me that “Poochie” gets along great with their two boys, a toddler and a six year-old, and that he’s a “really good guard dog.”  I asked about his health and was told he was “perfect, no problems at all.”  Before they took off I got contact information for them and the name of the vet.  I asked if the couple would like me to bring the dog around so their kids could say goodbye to him.  The woman said, “We done told ‘em he was lost and prolly got hit by a car by now.”

I cannot begin to tell you how much I wish we could keep this dog.  We still have not found a home for the pit bull we rescued two summers ago and she’s a handful for this MS’d body of mine to handle.  She was severely abused and neglected and she’s only just now arriving at a place approaching wellness of mind, body and spirit.  Having three dogs is simply not an option for us.  I hate the fact of that, but it is what it is.

We’re willing to foster him until someone falls as much in love with him as we have; we’re willing to deliver him personally to the right home (in the USA), that’s how how besotted we are.  If you know my service dog Luke, this pup is more like Luke than any dog I’ve ever met, which is saying quite a lot.  Really, if you know Luke, that’s saying Everything You Need To Know.

This gorgeous, sweet-natured puppy desperately needs a forever home with someone who will love him as much as he loves squeaky balls, plush toys and lying on the couch hogging the armrest while watching TV.  He also likes to position himself half on and half off the chair by the windows–sometimes with his front paws up on the seat, other times with his butt on the chair and his front paws on the floor–pretending the world going by out there is one long, really captivating film. It sounds cliche, I know, to tell you that he’s fond of long, meandering walks but it happens to be true.  He enjoys the sunny spot on the floor in front of the french doors with a nice pressed rawhide bone in the afternoons.

But he’s happy to spend time lolling about chewing and wrestling with a bone no matter the time of day or weather.

He doesn’t like being tied out in the backyard very much (unfortunately we don’t have a fence yet) but he manages to smile through it.

He really doesn’t like being made to impersonate one of Santa’s reindeer, but he didn’t eat me or the antlers in retribution for the shame cast upon him.  (though I do believe he was growl-cursing under his breath at me)

He has the most fascinating blue eyes; photos don’t really do them justice.  Much like a Harvest Moon, the Atlantic Ocean and the Grand Canyon, you have to appreciate the live, in-person verson to get the full experience.

My guess is that he’s about 60lbs at 7 – 9 months, though he’s a mite lanky and could stand a few more pounds on his bones.

He probably has some Rhodesian Ridgeback in him.  Or maybe Great Dane.  Both?  He likes children, dogs and cats, a polyamorous sort, to be sure.  I think he’d make a great hunting or Search & Rescue dog because he tracks the pathways of every squirrel, cat, etc. that crosses our back and front yards with a passion and accuracy I’ve not witnessed since my old neighbor’s bloodhound found the familiy’s escaped parakeet in the magnolia tree three streets over.

He has the intelligence and temperament (calm, focused, eager to please) to make a great service dog; his height, in particular would lend perfectly for mobility assistance. (Luke is willing to give him a few pointers and a reference letter.)

Did I mention that he’s big?

He has a big mouth, a big voice and a big tongue, the latter of which he uses to lick our cats from the crowns of their heads to their tailbones.  A couple of the cats are willing participants in this activity, one of them not-so-much. (I keep trying to get this on video but of course they disband their inter-species trysts the minute I get the iPhone switched over to record, just to spite me & the gods of YouTube)  ((which really rankles me because I just know I could get that video played on Ellen!))

This dog is smart.  He learned to sit by both voice command and hand signal on the second day.  He now comes and sits as soon as I take the leash off the hook by the door or open the cabinet where the treats are kept.  He is very affectionate and has exquisite taste. (that’s my arm in his teeth, thanks very much)

If you’re a regular reader here you’ll remember how I discovered an entire feral cat colony this past summer.  First I became its provider of food and fresh water, and then my husband and I began trapping, spaying and neutering.  We released back the cats that appeared too wild to even think about domesticating for future adoption.  We kept six of the cats which we determined could probably be tamed.  One of those six escaped the crate and was only retrapped a couple weeks ago, so she’s behind the others in the domestication process.  Of the other five, all but one of them is pick-up-able and will roll over to give you his or her bellies to rub when being petted.  So please be in touch, too, if your home, couch and windows need some feline-ness.  (photos in the link above)

What you need to understand is, the websites I read, the vets and cat rescue folks I spoke with, my neighbors–all advised that feral cats could not be tamed: kittens, yes–adults, no.  Don’t waste your time or energy, was the overall message from the so-called experts.  I’m so glad that I’m the stubborn sort when it comes to the saving of creatures.  I’m pretty darn sure these cats are glad of that aspect of my personality, as well. Not to mention the horse-dog of a house guest who thanks and over-thanks us with licks and dancing-on-his-hind-legs greetings each and every morning.  Add to that pool of gratefulness my own, for being blessed with a husband who has a heart as big as the state of Texas, my dear, devoted co-wrangler of feral cats and stray dogs. (though he might just be considering sabotage on my trike if I keep using it as a stray-creature-discovery tool!)

We started out calling this dog Elvis because he cries when left alone in the crate.  He settles much quicker than he did at first, now that he knows we’ll always come back–that he’s not being abandoned, yet again.  The first couple nights though his cries were so mournful it just about broke me.  “You ain’t nothin’ but a hound dog, cryin’ all the time” kept playing in my head, bereft underscore to his bluesy, crooning whines.  Elvis really is a good name for him, but we soon realized that it sounded too much like Elphie, our other rescue dog’s name (short for Elphaba)–and we kept getting wrong numbers, so now we call him Presley.  Alas, Presley and Elphie still sound enough alike in their ending vowel sounds that the dogs still get a bit confused.  He’ll have a new name soon, anyway, most likely, given to him by the person, or people, who will be his family, his once-and-for-all home.  Maybe that’s you?

If not, it could be someone you know.  Please spread the word; pass on this post.  Feel free to contact me with any questions: moonspeak(at)comcast(DOT)net

I have no doubt that this blue-eyed handsome stranger–regardless of his name–will be a once in a lifetime dog for someone.  The kind of dog to which all others who come after will be compared.  And, really, can you imagine your life without this brand of goofballery in it?

I think not :0)

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