Wednesday, November 28, 2012

One AntiSocial Sunday

Sundays are my antisocial days. I’m usually tired from the previous work week followed by the weekly adoption event on Saturdays, so I tend to spend my Sundays at home. I don’t check e-mails or answer phone calls, or do anything that requires me to talk to another person. A few weeks ago, on a Sunday, there was a knock at my front door. I checked out the window and saw a strange car with a small white dog inside. Since I live in the middle of nowhere and the only people who ever knock on my door are there to ask for something, I figured the people in the car were there to ask me to take their dog. Being the antisocial person that I am, and knowing that I already had a houseful of dogs with no room for another, I decided that instead of just opening the door and telling them I couldn’t help, I would take the coward’s way out and pretend I wasn’t home. I was relieved when after knocking once, they immediately walked back to the car, got in with the small white dog, and drove away.

It was probably twenty minutes later when I decided to go check the front door and see if they left a note. In a county with no animal control, the word gets around quickly when an animal rescuer moves into an area. I often get notes on my door with people’s phone numbers asking me to call them to see if I can help with unwanted pets. I opened the door, and sure enough, there was a note taped to the door. I figured I would read the note and call the people back the next day to let them know I couldn’t help and to suggest some other rescue groups and shelters they could contact. But as I began reading, I realized that wasn’t going to happen – because the note started off by apologizing for leaving a dog tied to my front porch.

I looked around wildly – no dog. I ran down the steps and looked around the corner. There I saw a medium sized tan and black dog with a shoelace tied to her collar. She growled and barked at me, and backed up as far as she could while still being tied to the porch. She was terrified, so I sat down on the steps and waited. While I waited, I finished reading the note (actually a two page letter, written before they ever came over). The writer said that she was recently homeless and couldn’t take her dog to the friend’s house where she was staying. I wondered if they let her take the small white dog, or if that was her friend’s dog. I also wondered how they could just leave this shy, scared girl with no one around to help her. I learned that the dog’s name was Bella and she was a nine-month-old Shepherd/Lab mix. I talked softly to Bella and within a few minutes was able to approach her and pet her. She then followed me into the house, and while she explored, I began making phone calls to find her a place to go.

Within an hour, Bella had a place reserved at a shelter in the next county, and I found a volunteer to drive her there when they opened again on Tuesday. But I knew from the moment I met her that Bella would not do well in a shelter environment. She was scared and would likely nip someone out of fear, or at least scare off any potential adopters with her fear barking. A noisy, chaotic place like an animal shelter was not something she would be able to deal with. Still, it took a few hours before my heart overruled my head and I convinced myself that I could foster her. I found another volunteer to keep her over the Thanksgiving holiday, and decided that along with her new life, Bella needed a new name. The rescue group I volunteer with already had one Bella available for adoption, so I posted Bella’s story on Facebook and quickly received several great suggestions for names. In the end, because of the shoelace she came with, Lacey became the perfect name for her.

Three days later Lacey went to the vet, and I shared my concerns with the vet that Lacey could be pregnant. I’m admittedly not any sort of an expert on pregnant dogs, and come to think of it, I’m not sure I’ve seen any pregnant dogs before. But Lacey just looked not quite normal, almost like she’d had a litter of pups in the past, and if she really was only nine months old, that meant to me that there was a chance she hadn’t had pups yet but her body was preparing for pups. It was a relief to find out that the vet didn’t think she was pregnant, although she said she could have already had a litter of pups since dogs can get pregnant as young as six months old. So we made an appointment for her spay surgery and then I took her back home.
Lacey the not-pregnant dog
Lacey quickly fit in at my house, following me around everywhere and having perfect manners.  Her only issue was some slight food aggression, and she seemed to always be hungry.  She went to another foster home for five days while I went out of town, and when I picked her up, she looked like she had been eating very well.  Three days later, it was time for her spay surgery.  We walked into the vet’s office and Lacy stepped on the scale. The vet tech said “She’s 46 pounds… wait, that can’t be right. She was only 40 pounds when she was here two weeks ago.” I said, “Oh, I think 46 pounds is right. She’s become quite round over the past two weeks.” Can you guess?  Sure enough, this time x-rays showed four or five puppies growing quickly.

Our main priority was to do the right thing for Lacey.  Having puppies at nine months old is very hard on a dog, since they’re still growing themselves. But at this point the vet felt it would be harder on Lacey to spay her than it would to let her have the puppies. So now I can not only check off “Finding a dog tied to my front porch” from my “Things to Accomplish Before I Die” list, but I can also check off “Fostering a pregnant dog or cat”. Fortunately for Lacey, she won’t be stuck with me long, since she’ll get to go to a neonate specialty foster home in another week or two. And in about three weeks, the puppies should be born! 


mayziegal said...

OH, she is Most Beautiful! I'm so sorry she got left at your house but I'm awfully happy she and her baby puppies will be safe. I can't wait to see pictures of them!

Wiggles & Wags,

Blueberry's human said...

God bless you for keeping her! I can't imagine how it must beat you down to constantly have dogs and/or cats dumped on you by the locals. But please know that you make a difference for those animals. I am just sad that so many people remain ignorant and refuse to educate themselves on the proper way to care for their pets, even when they fall on hard times. I'd rather be homeless with my dog than dump her. Blueberry is family.

I am sure Lacey's puppies will be cute as the dickens and thank goodness there is a specialty foster that will be able to care for her as she raises her pups!

Again, thank you for all you do. Hang in there! :)

Rhonda said...

I live in fear of this happening at my place, as I know in a rural, small town, everyone already knows! So far, only some kitties have shown up . . . Knock on wood!

Two Pitties in the City said...

Your stories just keep topping themselves. I know you do so much, and I didn't realize how you became 'the' person in the community everyone goes to. So sad to have her as such a young mom, but we do know she is i good hands now.

Cupcake said...

Thank you so much for taking the time to write this post. Sweet Lacey, I hope she, and all her puppies, find wonderful homes.

When will people learn to spay and neuter?

Diane said...

Just want to share that I have been there done that!! Helped a stray that the vet said previously had a liter of pups but that she was not PG now. 10 days later I was the not so proud foster Mom to 10 gorgeous pit bull puppies. The same vet did Shelby post delivery followup with a very red face.

Cindy said...

Thankful too that there is a special place to have her pups. Sorry,that her people dumped her and sorry that she is going to be a mommy when she is just a puppy herself! :(

Dexter said...

So sad. She is a lucky little gal. It's good that she will have a safe and comfortable place to have her puppies. You did the right thing. Thank goodness you were home and found her. Poor little thing.

Mango Momma

selkie said...

My sister rescued a GSD who was running loose on the expressway - starved, flea infested, a mess - and three weeks later gave birth to 9 - yes 9 - rottie/GSD crosses! Well, she was eventually able to find homes for all the pups and Teagon is now a part of her life forever. The sad but lucky thing about this is about 4 months after she found Teagon, a horrible tragic puppy mill was discovered close to where she found Teagon running on teh highway - the lowlife that had run it had taken off and left the dogs - inside a house of horrors was found - dead, half eaten GSDs, starving - 2 litters of puppies, dead, only 2 out of the 9 dogs in there survived. The sob had jsut left them to starve.

Carole said...

Lacey is a very lucky girl, and her pups will have a healthy start on life. All is well with Rosie (Piper). We've had her 10 weeks now and she still eats like she's having her last meal. Thankfully, Rosie isn't food aggressive and her vet says to keep feeding her as much as my 120lb. rott/mix (with an extra lunch thrown in)while her muscles develop fully. She had a wonderful outing at Petsmart where she met countless dogs and she had the best manners!! Rosie loves our family and we love her. Our whole family wants to thank you for your work with deaf dogs. The vet has cleared her ear infections and now Rosie can hear some sounds!!! We can call her to us by clapping our hands and she seems to be able to hear me yell No! from another room. God Bless You for bringing Rosie to us!!

Acd Pack said...

I am so glad that you are there for those that need a place to stay. It doesn't take long for word to get around that you'll help, does it? (I know about that) Thank you for taking care of Lacey and for doing all that you do, for all of them!

Peterson said...

Thanks for highlighting this important issue. I am forever frustrated by overweight pets... I frequently get told my dogs are 'skinny', but they simply are a correct weight compared to all the other pets out there! I always prefer my dogs to be a little be lean rather than a little bit porky.