Friday, May 30, 2008

There was a lady had a dog...

And Banjo was his name-o.



When I brought Banjo home a couple days ago, I discovered what a mess he truly is. The slightest thing makes him shake so hard his whole world must turn blurry. He was terrified of the floor, the kids, the air, everything. He peed and pooped indiscriminately, and spent most of the time with his snout buried in my cleavage. (Ah, who wouldn't enjoy that?)

I've learned more about where he came from. A man in Ft. Garland was breeding chihuahuas and had 130 chihuahuas in tiny carriers in a small camper on his land. Banjo and the others never once received any kind human contact, never set foot on the ground, never smelled fresh air, never went for a walk, never had room to jump, never played, never loved, never lived. Of the 130 dogs, 127 were immediately euthanized due to severe health problems. This, my friends, is the truth about puppy mills.

Only 3 of the 130 remain. 2 are terribly aggressive, and bite and bark almost constantly. Nobody has succeeded in picking them up without ending up bleeding.

Then there's Banjo.

Because I'll be leaving town for 5 days at the end of June and won't be able to take him with me, I want him to get accustomed to both home and the shelter. So he'll be spending some nights at the shelter since I don't want him to be traumatized when he has to stay at the shelter during my trip. He slept there last night.

Today I picked him up for a field trip, and he accompanied us to the bank, Sonic, and the park. He enjoys riding in the car now and looks around interestedly from his perch in the sling on my chest, sniffing the wind without trembling in fear. He ate a few specks of grilled cheese sandwich from my fingers. He watched the kids and let them touch him. But the two biggest milestones today were these: (1) He licked my fingers and my chest, and (2) He stood up and walked around. Yep. Nobody had ever seen him stand up to his full height and actually walk. After a couple minutes his legs started shaking, not from fear, but from lack of use.

He clearly enjoyed basking in the sun and eating some grass, and he pottied outside of the sling this time. I was mistaken in my weight estimate, not realizing how big his frame was. He weighs closer to 7 pounds, but as you can see here, he is severely underweight.

I cannot wait to see his tail up and wagging. It will be a long road, but I'm up for it I think. He's at the shelter again tonight, but tomorrow morning I'll pick him up and keep him until Monday at least. More updates to come.

Learning about love:


Veggie Car

A la Marian.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Storm's Coming


Wanna look down my top?



Jojo, Dharma, Louie, and Darla. (The kids named them.) They all just turned 6 weeks old and are having a blast. I'll have them for a couple more weeks before I have to give them up. Aren't they darling?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

I got a banjo



See those metal rings by his face? Those are the sling rings. For those who are familiar with baby slings, that will give you an idea of his size. He probably doesn't weigh any more than 5 pounds, is about 10 months old (aka close to full-grown), and is my new foster dog. He was rescued from a puppy mill that got shut down, he has never known love, is unfamiliar with kind human contact (but has been injured by them), and has spent days trembling around the clock at the shelter. His terror has not abated at all in that time, so today I brought him home and he is asleep against my heart. His trembling has stopped. I will teach him about love.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Good Tuesday

Toby came through his neutering well, so my concerns about anesthesia were needless. He charmed the vet staff with his sweetness and clumsy antics. (His CH is mild, and he's not so clumsy that he evokes pity, but rather amusement. He is so not bothered by his condition that it is didfficult for anyone else to be before long. His sweet goofiness makes clumsiness really work for him.) When the time came to pay for his neutering and his new eye drops (for his chronic eye issues), they told me my total was just over $5. Yep, $5. Someone anonymously put money on my account, leaving me with a credit that covered almost all of today's visit. Thank you!

Sleeping off the day

The other night I cried for Heidi and Penny for the first time since the night Heidi died. I've since been wondering if I'm supposed to just let Penny go so I can heal, since the two events are so inextricably tied together in my head and heart now in spite of being otherwise unrelated. A kind Sgt. Lopez called today from the police department and asked me a bunch of questions about Penny and our situation, and said he wants to find out who took her. It's been three weeks, and if a town cop isn';t giving up, I'm not either.

I'm still here for you, Penny. I know you want to come home as much as I want you here. Go now in peace, Heidi. Go now in peace.

I rarely attach myself intensely to dogs at the shelter, since I'm mainly "the cat lady." Every now and then one gets to me, though, and I've been fortunate that all have been adopted to good homes. Today I got news that Henry--a mostly deaf, mange-ridden, cancer-suffering sweetheart of an old dog--would be getting euthanized on Thursday. His treatment expenses were so far beyond the shelter's capabilities that there was no other option, and I understood completely. I'd been expecting this, so I told him goodbye, and wondered if I was supposed to be by his side when he crossed over. A couple of hours later, I got a call from the shelter with good news--one of their regular donators has chosen to taken on the expense of ALL of Henry's treatment! (Frank, don't think I don't know that you went to her on both mine and Henry's behalf, either, you big softie.)

So today Henry got knocked out so the vet could clean out his horribly infected ears, and they determined that he still has some hearing left in one of them. I'll be helping to bathe him with special medicated mite shampoo every four days for the next month to heal his skin, and I don't know what his cancer treatment will be. He is an old dog with a gimpy front leg in addition to everything else, but the vet thinks he's got a few good years left in him, even with the cancer on his nose. I went to see him after his treatment this afternoon, and he was like a whole new dog. For the first time he had some bounce in his step, and a big smile for me. I went back to the shelter for a third time today just to get some pictures of him. Isn't he cute?


A smile!

Handsome old shepherd

A future ahead.

It's been a good day. Thanks for reading.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Heidi's brother. Er. Sister?

I hand-raised Heidi and Manny together from the day they were born, and even at the start, Heidi was clearly female and Manny male. At 2 weeks, 4 weeks, 2 months, 4 months, Heidi was a girl and Manny was a boy and everything was relatively normal, except for thew fact that I had bottlefed 11 kittens at once, from 3 different litters. Heidi, Manny, and their gentically unrelated brother, Toby (my CH kitty), all developed at much slower rates than normal, healthy cats. Toby has challenges (see link), but Heidi and Manny were healthy, if quite small. At 7 months old, both Manny and Toby have finally reached the size of an average 5 month old cat.

Time to think about neutering. About a month ago, I inspected Manny to see if his testicles had descended so I could get him in to get neutered. His external genitalia had become ambiguous. I've had this happen with a much younger kitten once before, and that kitten ultimately died (he had many other issues as well) with his biological sex still incredibly ambiguous. In spite of my previous experience with an intersexed kitten, I somehow put Manny's issue out of mind mind quite effectively. I told myself I'd check again later, that the light was bad, that his butt was too furry. And then I forgot all about it until tonight.

I made appointments today to get both Manny and Toby neutered tomorrow morning. Tonight I checked them both out again, and Toby is clearly ready to go. But Manny is now presenting as nearly 100% female, with the only indication of his previous maleness being a slightly larger greater than usual spacing between anus and furry vulva.

Um. Okay. So Manny is a girl. What an unfortunate name.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

A Horse of a Different Color


No, get a really good look at the tail, she says.

Ain't she cute?



Bubba is finally feeling well. He jumped on my lap tonight for the first time in his entire life. And the second, third, fourth, fifth... Seems he's discovered a good thing.

He's playing with the other younglings, purring up a storm, and is just generally charming the hell out of everyone. Except Maude.

It's that time again

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Sorry, Bubba.

Remember Bubba?

Well, he had his inner eyelid stitched shut for two full weeks in hopes that his body would heal it from within. He got his stitches out yesterday. It doesn't look good. (That's not his inner eyelid you're seeing, that's his EYE.)


Time to brainstorm fundraising activities for its surgical removal.