Before reading any further, please consider that—if you are particularly sensitive to reports of cruelty to animals—you may wish to skip over this post and wait for another of my typically pleasant ones. However, I hasten to say that the outcome is better than in many similar stories, and that there is hope for the victim. This story requires more explanation (and is therefore considerably longer than my usual post), but it’s important that I provide enough information to understand her background…
Subsequent to the loss of our dear Limo (please see my farewell post to him here), the doglessness of our lives has been frequently catching us off guard— an apple core; a spaghetti dish that needs to be pre-cleaned before putting it into the dishwasher; the absence of a warm, furry, friendly body when I put my hand down beside the bed when I wake up in the morning; and no alert watchman to give a powerful bark when the doorbell rings (in case we didn’t notice it)—the list just goes on and on. As I wrote in my tribute, we had not been without a dog in the family for some 40 years.
Our current plans cannot allow for a new dog to enter our lives again as a family member in the foreseeable future; however, we have been considering alternatives. The one that has appealed to us the most is volunteering to provide foster care for Humane Society dogs in need of temporary housing for various reasons. We have adopted four of our past pets from the Humane Society, and we are happy to do whatever we can to support this wonderful organization. (Those of you who have been following my blogs for a while may recall my posts from when I volunteered to transport injured wild animals in need of rehabilitation.)
And so our first foster dog is Glenda, and hers is a very sad story. She’s a 9-year-old Poodle mix who (they believe) has spent pretty much her entire life in a wire cage as a breeding bitch in what is called a puppy mill. She’s close enough to looking like a purebred Poodle that her pups could pass as Poodles and so, since she was old enough to breed, she has been serviced to produce as many litters as she could. She was recently rescued from this unimaginable life, but I don’t know the details or if any prosecution resulted. Part of the outcome of her history is that she doesn’t know what a leash is or what it’s for, and when she’s taken outside, she doesn’t know what she’s supposed to do. When she is approached, however gently, she cringes, as if she is expecting some sort of punishment. When presented with food, she won’t eat it unless there is no person in sight. When she has to eliminate, she does so, wherever she may be, and doesn’t know enough to make any attempt to avoid stepping in it, since all she has known, until very recently, is that wire cage, which was probably hosed down occasionally (likely with her in it) to clean it.
She has been in my care (CD is in New Zealand with our daughters and their families) for almost two weeks now and, in my opinion, she has made some considerable progress. She has had two operations to remove mammary tumors (the first shortly before I assumed care of her and the second just a few days ago), and she not only tolerates my cleaning her incision sites and her feet (sometimes twice daily), but now greets me with a full-body wag (her tail was docked) when I let her out of her comfy overnight kennel each morning. It’s been too cold to take her outside to stand in the snow, but the temperature soared to 50°F today and it has melted where the sun shines, so I took her out for a couple of hours. She followed me around in the grassy yard like a duckling. Inside, she is very content to curl up in Limo’s old cushion—so long as I am nearby and in sight, and she seems to enjoy very much staying in my lap as long as she can.
The histopathology results from her first surgery came back as benign (no cancer), and if the good news continues, she will go up for adoption as soon as the staples are removed from her second surgery, in another week. She is a very sweet soul, and I believe that she finally realizes that people can be kind—something apparently not a part of her past before her rescue—and she still doesn’t know how to process this new possibility. She’s like a person who was born blind and suddenly, miraculously, can see, and doesn’t know what to make of the new experience. She will surely need a new home with someone who understands her very special needs and has the patience and tolerance to provide them. I dearly hope, and have faith, that she can be paired with that special someone. And I am happy to have been able to help with her incredible adjustment to her new lease on life.