the printed thoughts of a woman on a journey towards awareness, truth, acceptance, clarity, and forgiveness...with some fun and fearlessness thrown in

Monday, April 29, 2013

a perfect gentleman

re: need a foster for an 8 year old PERFECT lab in Baton Rouge
This fellow came from the Baton Rouge shelter.  He is housetrained and gets along with all dogs.  He is incredibly sweet and has perfect house manners.  He is ½ thru his heartworm treatment.  He is easy to keep calm.  His foster mom is pregnant and getting close to her due date.  Can any one  foster him for 3 weeks????

That was the email I responded to when I agreed to foster Bach.  It was March 7, and he came to me on March 12.  My 3 week, easy fostering assignment has turned into a 7-weeks-and-counting mission to save a dog's life.

Bach is the sweet, good-mannered boy described in the email.  He's clearly lived a rough life.  His elbows and heels are heavily calloused, and his teeth are worn down to nubs, probably from chewing on rocks out of sheer boredom.  He hates to be outside without a human, and he loves tennis balls with an obsessive joy.  He climbs on the couch to snuggle, and he flops over on his back to wriggle and scratch at least four times a day.  He really is a wonderful dog.

There's no telling how he ended up in a shelter at his age, but it's clear that he wasn't valued by the people tasked with caring for him.  He had not been neutered, and he tested positive for heartworms, a preventable and potentially fatal parasitic infection.  He was saved by the rescue organization and neutered.  He was then treated for the heartworms, a risky and potentially fatal procedure on its own.  And then, I realized that he was occasionally dripping urine.  
Combined with the fact that he had some weakness in his hind end, we guessed that he had some sort of nerve damage.  The rescue coordinator was advised by one veterinarian to euthanize Bach, because he was "unadoptable" as he was.  I urged her to at least have him examined by another vet to determine what the cause might be and whether there might be any medical options available.  I let her know that I was committed to his care and wanted to give him every chance possible.  I bought him custom made belly bands, and I cut up blue pads to use as "panty liners."  I made special beds for him in his favorite spots (right next to me) that could be washed easily and kept the floors protected.  I started giving him homeopathic drops.

As suspected, an X-ray showed that two of the sacral vertebrae are closer together than they should be, indicating that the disc between them is likely bulging or ruptured and pressing on the spinal column.  This explained both the urinary incontinence and the difficulty getting up in his hind end.  We added steroids to his daily regimen of an NSAID, glucosamine, and chondroitin.  I ordered two more belly bands.  Bach continues to be a happy guy, unaware of any problems.  He sometimes goes for days without dripping, and then he sometimes drips all day. 

I urged the rescue coordinator to put out an emotional plea for Bach, and we both shared it far and wide.  I hoped for an immediate response from someone with a big heart and a patient soul who wanted to give him the retirement home that he deserves.  No such offer has yet come in, but we have been contacted by a chiropractor who would like to help.  She has offered to treat Bach without charge.  Again, I become hopeful.

I believe in a forever home for Bach.  I know that he didn't survive his rough life, his time in the shelter, and his heartworm disease and treatment only to be "put to sleep" over some dripping pee.  I'm sure that there's someone out there for him.  I imagine him leaving my house to have his happily ever after, and I'm doing everything I can to get him ready.  He's learned to take treats nicely and gently.  He knows how to sit now, and he sits for his food and treats.  He has become acquainted with cats, and he's learned that they exist on level somewhere above even the humans in the home.  He walks well on a leash, rides well in a car, and (sort of) understands what "go potty" means.  He's an old man with some medical needs and some routine maintenance requirements, but, other than that, he's absolutely perfect.

Bach's Petfinder profile can be viewed at:

Bach was adopted and is a much loved family member living in the Bronx, NY.  The day after meeting him, his new parents wrote:

"Yesterday morning we went up to Exit 14 in Spring Valley arriving at 8:30.  A large van was in the parking lot giving a family a dog.  The driver said that he was going off to Danbury, Connecticut and that another van would soon arrive.  About 10 other cars arrived with children and adults  At 9:00 a.m. the second van arrived.  Each family stood in a row holding a leash.  The driver asked, "What's the name of your dog?"  Then the driver went into the van returning with their dog.  There were yellow and black Labs and an assortment of other dogs.  They were all wagging their tails and all the families had smiles on their faces and were joyful.  The driver came over to Val and asked her dog's name.  "Bach" she said.  The driver went into the van and walked back with Bach, the king of all the dogs who was wagging his tail.

We brought him home and he played catch most of the day.  His tail never stopped wagging.  We love him and he loves us!  We gave him his pills and his dinner at 6:00 p.m.  He is loving, beautiful and friendly--we feel he has adopted us.  Bach is a great dog.

Thank you for all you do for Labs and for bringing Bach into our lives."