Monday, January 31, 2011

Part 9-Jake looks for a home

Jake's photo from the shelter

At first, I did not think that Jake would fit in well. I’d never had a male dog and it just seemed… well… wrong. I had some preconceived notion that he would mark… he didn’t. I thought it would be hard to housebreak him… it wasn’t. I thought that he would not be affectionate…he was. In fact, almost everything I thought was true about male dogs was untrue about him. Within days, he had figured out just how to creep up onto the sofa in super-stealth mode so that I would not notice. He would snuggle on my feet at the computer and follow me everywhere.
I scheduled a vet appointment for him, first, to make sure he was healthy and also to arrange for his neuter surgery. I assumed that he would be apprehensive about walking into any place that smelled like a vet or a shelter, but he marched right in with tail wagging-like a politician running for office. He still does that, too… stops by to say hello to everyone, even jumps up and peaks at the people behind the counter. Anyway, we got in to see the vet and we talked about what a great little dog he was, and what bad shape he was in. His coat was dull and thin, and he had very poor muscle tone. His rear legs and hips had virtually no muscles and if you put your hand on the top of his hips when he sat, you could feel popping and uneven motion between the two sides. And the poor guy could only sit for a few minutes before he would flop over into a puppy sit. He just lacked the muscle strength to sit normally. The vet suggested that he had probably been enclosed in a small area for so long, that he had not developed any muscles in his hindquarters. But his hips were so unstable, we also considered that perhaps he had such bad hips that maybe he just didn’t want to run or jump. So they took him back for a few x-rays.
The results of the x-rays were staggering. His hips were not good, but not terrible like we thought they might be. The bad part was that his little body was just riddled with pellets. The vet said that they sometimes see dogs, especially hunting dogs, with bird shot from a shotgun. But these were not the little BBs you would see in a case like that. These are pellets from a pellet gun, and they were in multiple areas of his body. Since then, between x-rays and checking him over, we’ve found about 2 dozen. Quite a few are in his hips, some in his legs and feet, front shoulders, chest, even one in his ear, and in his tail. And since they were all healed by the time I got him at 6 or 7 months, he must have been a little pup when someone did this to him. To this day, I get choked up thinking about the cruelty this little guy had experienced.
We scheduled his neuter surgery and he pulled through like a champ. While he was out, the vet removed three or four of the pellets that were near the surface that seemed to be bothering him. When I went to pick him up, he was his usually charming self, unfazed by the surgery and making his rounds with the employees, saying goodbye. What a ham. It was going to be very difficult to let this boy move on to an adoptive family. But we took more pictures and I updated the website with more information and before long, applications began to arrive.

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