What it means to have a ” Special” Dog

When we go to the shelter to choose our  “Perfect” pet, we  have all kinds of ideas of what that means.  Sometimes it is the breed, even though most are mixed breed. It can mean, long or short hair, big or small,  how well  they get along with other animals, kids or  people in general.  What we don’t normally do is look for a pet that may need lots of medical attention or  special food etc.  Yes there are those that do just adopt “Special” pets, but most us us don’t.  As a volunteer for the TSAS I see many pets come through the shelter.  Very few are “Special”.  Most are happy, healthy dogs and cats that just need a chance at a good home and thrive when they are adopted.  Some  may have a few anxiety issues at first and act out, but that usually goes away pretty fast, once they realize their new owner isn’t going to abandon them.

Last August we weren’t actively looking for the “perfect”  dog.  We had a  three year old Beagle that we thought might like a new friend as we had just lost our other dog. But  we were keeping our options open.  Then here comes Mr. Rudy into the shelter.  He was found out in the desert outside Tombstone.  He was starving and extremely thin, couldn’t bark. It was thought he was a very young puppy, he weighed in at 17#, long legs and bones.. His condition required him to be given  a gruel like substance because he couldn’t seem to keep anything down.  His first vet appointment showed him to be anemic and 18  months old, not a puppy.  Because the shelter is only staffed twice a day and Mr. Rudy needed to have meals more often My husband and I were asked to foster him.

The first few days were rough. Our beagle was staying out of town with relatives and that let us concentrated on Mr. Rudy. He had some anxiety issues and couldn’t be left alone.   He couldn’t seem to keep anything down no matter what we tried.  Canned food was too rich, home made food with rice and ground turkey caused him to cough up the rice.  He started drinking lots and lots of water, and urinated frequently.This all meant a lot of calls to the local veterinarian and urine tests and even x-rays to see what the issue was. .

It was determined that he was an Anomaly.  Meaning, not just one thing  but several.  His kidneys are compromised and he has no concentration to his urine,That means water restriction.  He has a partially blocked esophagus.  and a heart condition.   No long walks.

Fast forward six months….. Yes we failed and now belong to the Failed Foster Club.  You know those well meaning people that think they can give back an animal they have had… Ha Ha

Mr. Rudy has gained 10#,  Still very thin, He eats  standing up with his food bowl on a chair.  His food is pureed, and low protein.  Or dehydrated.  He loves fresh veggies and fruit.  Spinach and Kale are some of  his favorites so his blood count is now normal.  He  now barks, once his throat was clear of any food obstruction.  He has gone to obedience training class and passed.  He and his Beagle sister play all the time.   Yes we still have wet bedding, and need to be home to feed him three times a day.  We may not have Mr. Rudy for many years but we will love him and enjoy him as long as we can. This journey, though far from over, is one we wouldn’t have missed.

Rudy August 23, 2013

Rudy August 23, 2013

Rudy, Jan 2014

Rudy, Jan 2014

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