Way back in the Jurassic when I was in college, I did something stupid.
Leaving California at the end of the summer to travel back to school, I got the
bright idea to stop at the Animal Shelter and pick up a puppy. I loved puppies,
they're bright and cute and good traveling companions....
I didn't stop to think how difficult this would make finding an apartment once I
got back to school. I finally found a boarding room in a home that was a hefty
drive from campus, but they were willing to take me and my dog, and they had a
back yard where he could spend the days. Winter nights in Utah are too cold for
him to sleep outside, so they agreed to let me keep him in at night.
I also didn't think of how unfair this was to the poor dog who had to spend most
of his time alone while I was at school or at work. I came home one day to find
that the owners of the house had given my dog away to a nice family who really
had time for him. It was the mature, responsible thing to do.
(Jumping forward to the present...)
My youngest daughter who is a Junior in college was
hiking in the woods near her boyfriend's house when they discovered
a puppy. About four weeks old, starving, mangy, belly full of
worms... a miserable little abandoned ball of fuzz and whimper. They
took him to the vet, got him de-wormed (twice) and treated for the
mange and ear mites, found themselves itching (yes, humans can
suffer from mange...) and kept him in Beth's dorm room until he
started making lots of loud puppy noises. No dogs allowed in dorms
(other than assistant dogs) so...
They took him back out to her boyfriend's parents. Lots of property.
Lots of lonely time because both his folks work. Lots of whimper...
We asked Beth to mind our animals while we traveled to OVFF and she
took the occasion to bring along her puppy. We met him when we
returned. A real cutie of a dog. They think he is part bloodhound,
part beagle, part who knows what. Reddish goldenish with black feet.
Looks like he needs a bath but he doesn't. First they named him
Yellow. Then they named him Red. We took to calling him Muddy. We
noticed that he is limping. Seriously limping. Won't or can't put
his left hind leg down when he walks.
Beth has to go to school, and they don't have time to take the pup
all the way back to Lake Lanier, so I tell her it's okay if he stays
with us for a couple of days. She is mightily relieved. I'm falling
in love with this little dog.
Our older dog has become the Grand Old Man teaching this pup a thing
or two right away, like when enough 'in your face' energy is enough.
Our old cat holed up in my bedroom for a day, and then decided that
the best place was on top of a book shelf, far out of the puppy's
reach. They will tangle, eventually, and no doubt... my money's on
We have access to the vet who treated the pup, so Aaron and I take
Muddy to our vet and have the leg checked out. We get him his second
puppy vaccinations, and are happy to learn that the mange is gone,
as are the ear mites. Consulting with a surgeon, however, we are sad
to learn that three weeks earlier, the pup suffered some kind of
injury to the knee joint that interrupted the bone growth in the
lower long bone. There is nothing the surgeon can do because of
deterioration to the joint. The poor dog will only have use of three
legs, but he's in no pain and gets around just fine on the three
legs that work.
When Beth and her boyfriend return, we let them know their findings.
We offer to keep the dog here and watch the look of relief spread
across both their faces.
So... my Karma finally caught up with me. Now I'm in the position of
doing the mature, responsible, right thing to help a poor little
puppy. We got Muddy a crate, and a bunch of toys so he might not
chew up all our furniture legs, and a large bag of puppy chow. He's
a handful, like all babies are. We're crazy for doing this, but it
still feels good.