|This is Link, named after a video game hero. He helps rescue the princess' kingdom, rescues the princess, and is also rescued by that same princess on several occasions. He is the bearer of courage—persevering despite the odds.|
Here is our story.
I was having a really hard day on Saturday, September 10th. In fact the last month had progressively been getting harder day by day. Yes, my medical state was/is declining, but the mental doldrums were getting to be too much. I had stopped looking for a dog a while ago—little things kept getting in the way. The drive home from visiting my parents was very tearful. As I pulled into my driveway I was dreading another teary lonely night.
Then I saw what looked like a coyote at first glance, trot across my driveway and lay down under my other vehicle. Strange... coyotes don't usually go near running vehicles. I got out to investigate and lo and behold, there was a scrawny puppy that looked to be about 3 months old sitting there, looking at me and wagging his tail. I could see he had a collar on that was way too small for him, so I called him over. He was scared at first, but snuggled right up after he saw I wasn't running him off.
I looked for any tags or tattoos—nothing outside of the over-tight collar. I put him in my back yard while I snagged a leash from inside and called the local pound. The pound was closed, but the leash was handy. He obviously had either never been on a leash or had been dragged by one because he immediately hunkered down into the passive-resistance-flop at the slightest tug. But he is a puppy, and all puppies like to play, or at least chase moving people with perky voices.
|Bony ribs and hips--less visible than in person|
I figured the poor guy at least needed a home till Monday or Tuesday when I could see if he had anybody looking for him. I feed him some chicken, but I think he had been starving so long that his body didn't know what to do with it—poor dude was malnourished enough that you could see every bone on him including hips, ribs, and facial bones. He never once was the least bit aggressive despite me checking him thoroughly for ticks, removing cactus spines from him (including his face and paws), and giving him a thorough brushing. I saw that he had neither ticks nor fleas, so I brought him into the house and gave him a bath, which he put up with rather well. As it turns out, he was so tired and worn out I don't think he could have resisted if he wanted to.
He slept all Sunday, and I almost took him to the emergency vet an hour away, but he perked up considerably after dark. He slept on the floor by me, with only a quiet whine when he had a bad dream. Monday I went to the vet after asking neighbor's about the dog and coming up empty-handed. No microchip, no lost dog notices, just a very skinny dog in need of a home. The consensus was that if the owners WERE known they would be turned in for animal abandonment/cruelty. At that point I knew that I had a new puppy to love!
He got all his shots, I found out that he is more like 8 months (has all his adult teeth now) but so starved that he is only half what his weight should be (if that). He is most likely a boxer/shepherd cross and should be around 50lbs now—he was 22.4lbs at the vet. Other than being scrawny and having minor allergies, the only thing wrong with him is a tail that broke and mended crooked. No heartworm or other problems that the vet could tell.
So now we are home, he is asleep on floor by me. He is adapting well to the house and is already mostly house trained (only thing he is lacking is the signal for "I need to go out", but I am just taking him at least every 4 hours and he is fine). He is a puppy, but a very mellow puppy with bursts of "play!" that are easily tired out if him. Good at walking even with just a day's training, and a great companion.
|Car ride with his favorite perch on the dog sling|
After two weeks he is starting to fill out and be less bony, as well as learning commands and rules. Sit, lie, leave it, car, and go to bed are all pretty solid, but come and stay with distractions around is still very hard. He has blossomed into a wonderful companion, with enough energy to require me to stay thinking ahead of him, but not so much that I am completely worn out from the interaction. He also has learned to entertain himself with toys, play nicely with other dogs and people, and overall how to be a happy and well adjusted dog (with a bit of separation anxiety, but not bad). He is about to be even more well adjusted later this week when he will be broken—"fixed" just doesn't seem like the right word.
I am starting to actually get fit—I happily walked a mile without crutches for the first time in months! He is more than motivation, because the actual need of someone relying on me has put me back into the familiar role of "caregiver", though in a much less intensive and still rewarding fashion. For a while I worried that I could not handle the responsibility of caring for a dog...then I really thought about it and realized that my brain was talking nonsense again. My confidence has improved immensely, as has my outlook for the future. Yes, my wallet has shrunk considerably with vet bills, dog food, and assorted dog stuff, but it is well worth it.
Best part: the mopes have gone away. Even though I am getting up at odd hours and cleaning up after him, I have a purpose outside of basic existence. I was found, he knew I needed him just add much as he needed me. I hope that the awesomeness doesn't wear off!
|There is a new guy in the house, and his name is Link.|