Thursday, November 06, 2008

Think, thin and the occasional hairball

A chicken friend of mine recently adopted a shelter dog. This same friend at one time bought an AKC German Shepard only to turn on a dime and take it back to the breeder because, holy cannoli, the dog required more investment.

These same people got chickens soon after visiting my sweet lay-dees. Now they have a sweet shelter dog. Unfortunately, that same sweet shelter dog got Parvo.

If you are unfamiliar with parvovirus, consider yourself very lucky. I remember my first encounter with parvo. It was my first stint as a veterinary technician. I was working at a very tiny clinic in a very tiny strip center in the small Houston-area town in which I was born and raised. There was a miniscule area in the very back-back-back of the clinic for isolation, and in one of those tiny cages was a Great Dane puppy, whose name escapes me, though I wish it didn't.

The puppy was in the top right hand cage of the two-by-two cage block. It was so small and fragile, so scared and weak. I remember the dog well: all black except for a small triangular patch of white right at the tip of its breastbone. It also had little white tips on its very tip-toes, but you could hardly discern them because he was rarely on his feet.

He was on IV fluids for most of the beginning of his life. Parvo is especially hard on larger breeds, and usually only puppies are gravely afflicted. Most older dogs are already vaccinated for it.

The poor thing. Constantly evacuating a messy pool of smelly goo, too tired from being drained dry from the virus to even stand or to whimper. No tail-wagging. Hardly a breath of a dog.

But the sweet little Great Dane eventually got over it. Lots of dogs don't make it through parvo, so he was very lucky since most odds were stacked against him.

I remember seeing him for check-ups after his recovery, and he became the epitome of a good dog: kind, loyal and obedient, and never straying from the young family that pulled him out of that hell.

I've had the pleasure of loving many animals in my life, but they were always cast-offs. The abused, the hurt, the abandoned and the unwanted. Sometimes they were trouble, but they were always forgiven. These animals are the ones that make pet ownership look deceptively easy. They are the ones that know you were there to save them when they needed it, and they are working so hard to repay your kindness.



The Maiden Metallurgist said...

What a lovely post, I hope your friends recognize the gift they have in their dog and make the effort to save him and give him a good life.

Olivia said...

Ah, that was so beautifully written and so heartfelt. I love how dogs love us when we love them.

I hope one day I can rescue one.