Candy, a cat rescue friend, suggested a good looking black lab who was scheduled for "death row" at Animal Serivces. That led me to the website of Orange County Animal Services to take a look at the dogs they had. The lab was good looking but I wanted a smaller dog in the hopes there would be no conflict with the cats. Plus, I'm aging rapidly and wanted a dog that would be easy to handle and get into and out of my car. I also wanted a dog who was at least 6 years old. There were quite a few, but one in particular caught my eye.
Don't let the picture fool you. Although she looks small in the photo, she weighs 43 pounds and is amazingly strong. She is 8 years old, housebroken but not leash trained. She nearly pulled me to the ground when Barbara and I went to the shelter on Tuesday afternoon. Although she seemed timid and depressed in the run, once she was out of the run, she headed for the door and OUTSIDE! I took the leash off and she walked around the yard, bounded after any bird who landed on the ground and generally enjoyed the freedom.
Once we brought her back to her run, the sadness returned. No doubt other potential adopters during the nearly two weeks she had been at the shelter had taken her out and then brought her back. There she laid, alone and destined for the euthansia room. She had been at the shelter since February 1st and time was running out and her hopes had been dashed too many times.
Before Barbara and I went into the shelter area, we visited our long time friend, the manager of Animal Services, Dil Luther. I met him the day he started working there, back in 1991. Although we haven't always agreed on their policies, we have remained friends and have worked together to help the animals of Orange County. He has gone to bat for CARE's T/N/R program on a number of occasions and for that I will be forever grateful. Dil went into "the back" where the dogs were with Barbara and I. He rushed us back to the front to get the adoption application filled out. Maggie would be going home with me..................but not until Wednesday afternoon.
She's been with me for just over 24 hours. In fact, right now, she is under my feet as I'm typing on the computer. The cats are hanging back, definitely not sure what she is, why she's here and not particularly happy about her presence. She is a bit hyperactive, especially when she thinks she is going outside. She loves riding in the car, but gets a bit more worked up than I would like. By the time we reach our destination, she's panting and nearly gasping for breath. On the leash, she can't get where she wants to go fast enough.
Although she went through the shelter clinic before coming home, I took her to my vet today. At the shelter clinic she got her rabies, bordatella and DHLPP vaccines along with an Ivermectin shot and a microchip. She, however, had diarrhea. My vet found that she is riddled with hookworms. He medicated her and gave me other meds to give her. She has to go back in 2 weeks to see if another treatment is necessary. For the diarrhea I cooked her chicken and rice tonight. I made enough for the next couple of days. I've found that chicken and rice often works better than any medication out there. In fact over 20 years ago a former boss was frantic because her dog had gone through every treatment her vet knew of to stop her loose stools. Prolonged loose stools can lead to dehydration and ultimately death for dogs and cats. I recommended either chicken or hamburger and rice. Within a few days she greeted me with a huge smile and told me that I had saved her dog's life. I was just happy that it worked and her dog was on the road to recovery.
That's about it for now, but I'm sure I will have occasional updates. I'm also sure that the cats will come around, if for no other reason than the fact that Maggie simply isn't interested in them. She is perfectly happy letting the cats deal with her on their own terms and take their time getting familiar with her. Right now I think she's just happy to be out of the shelter and in a home. I'm happy too!
P.S. - No, I'm not changing her name. She's 8 years old and knows her name, so I won't be worrying over finding the perfect "C" name for her. She will remain Darling Maggie. Oh, and Dil, Barbara, Dr. Porter and I are debating just what her actual genealogy is. Short of having her DNA tested (yes that can be done for dogs), we will never be certain of what breeds contributed to her cuteness.
P.P.S. - Cody, the lab, went to a rescue group so he made it out of the shelter alive as well.
I hope each of you will, at some point, do your part and save an animal from a kill shelter. You won't regret it.