Give me the oldest, most decrepit dog you have . . .

After my crabby post about people who dump their dogs, I wanted to write a blog entry about people who adopt special needs dogs. Sometimes being a rescue volunteer can be really disheartening. It's constantly one step forward, two steps back. But, I also get to meet some very cool people along the way.

I have to admit that I don't really believe in angels, per se. You'll never hear me use the word. I also don't use the word "babies" to refer to my dogs (because they are, after all, dogs and not children). But that's another topic altogether. Back to the angels . . . I guess what it boils down to is that I don't believe that an "angel" (as in a winged ethereal-type person) saves one person from a freak accident while a child is left to die of cancer. It just doesn't seem right to me. So, I don't know what to call the people who adopt the dogs that are old, sick, broken, or some combination thereof, but they definitely deserve some kind of grand title.

Our rescue organization has taken in nearly 500 dogs so I'm sure I am forgetting a lot of them, but a few special cases that come to mind:

Gizzy arrived after being rescued by a young woman who knew that Gizzy was being left outside, tied up. Gizzy was emaciated when we got her. You could see every rib, every vertebra. She was a gentle girl and we sent her to a new foster home (new, as in, this was their first foster dog). Gizzy's foster mom called one of our volunteers in the middle of the night and announced that Gizzy had given birth. There were two pups - one lived and one was stillborn. What little nutrition Gizzy was receiving had clearly gone straight to that one pup. Eventually Gizzy was nursed back to health and found a great new home. But, shortly after being adopted, her back legs began to fail. In time Gizzy could not walk. Her new family did not even hesitate with their course of action. They bought her a wheelchair. Today she is tolerating her wheelchair very well and gets around just fine. She has two brothers - a Boxer and a Bulldog - who look out for her.

And how about the nice family that adopted Wilson? Wilson is not only deaf, he has only THREE legs. Again, I don't know what happens to people in the afterlife but I have to figure that Wilson's family deserves something good. And then there was Remy (pictured at right) who lost one eye in an accident but still found an amazing new home.

Penny came into rescue several years ago. Her family dumped her because they were moving into a new house and they didn't want Penny, who was elderly, to pee on their carpets. When they dropped her off, they patted her on the head and said, "Have fun with the other dogs!" As it turned out, though, Penny didn't really like other dogs that much. Oh, and Penny was chock full of tumors (and hadn't been to the vet since the mid-90s). However, she had the good fortune to move into a foster home whose inhabitants had a soft spot for dogs like Penny. They immediately adopted her. Penny had too many tumors to remove them all, but her new owners had the most bothersome ones removed and did everything within their power to help Penny. I can't imagine what their vet bills must have been like. Penny has passed on now, but the last months of her life were probably the best she had ever known.

Another memorable dog was Toby. Toby had been dumped several times in his young life. This would be tragic for any dog but was particularly hard for Toby, because he suffered from an extreme case of separation anxiety. Each time he was rehomed, the problem got a little worse (probably because his worst fears were realized - his prediction of abandonment had come true time and time again). Toby was a tough one to foster. He would injure himself trying to escape from his crate but if you left him uncrated, he would shred your entire house and all of its contents. Amazingly, a very special family came along and adopted Toby without hesitation. They were willing to work with Toby on his issues. Today he does not even need to be crated when they leave the house, and he doesn't tear anything up. I imagine he must have known somehow that he was home at last.

The rescue has placed many other dogs with special needs. We've placed around a dozen deaf dogs, and there is always a special place in my heart for the people who take on a deafie. We've also placed numerous dogs that suffer from demodectic mange, which is often a chronic condition. Demodex dogs require a lot of special care and it amazes me how many people do not even hesitate to adopt them. And then there are my favorite dogs of all - the old ones. While they often linger in rescue for a long time, we've nonetheless had good luck placing dogs that are 8, 9, 10 and even older. You have to keep in mind that most Boxers only live 10-12 years.

So there you go. After my last post I just didn't want to leave my readers (both of them) with the impression that I am some horrible misanthrope. I am just a hapless volunteer who continues to be puzzled by human nature, I guess. But I wanted to let you know that for every person who doesn't do right by their dog, there is another person who goes far above and beyond. Their mama raised them right.


Anonymous said…
Thank you so much for writing this. What a lovely article.
Cathy aka ganymeder
Drasch23 said…
I think you have more then 2 readers. But this post rocks.
Anonymous said…
Thank you Claudia for writing such a beautiful blog about our special needs boxers!

Thank you,
MN Boxer Rescue

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