We are foster failures once again. In December I received a text from Holly at Capital Area Humane Society, she thought we should foster Allie who had been at CAHS for a while and could use a much needed shelter break. I discussed it with my husband and he reluctantly agreed, so the next day after work I went to pick Allie up. Of course I was thinking to myself, now with the hectic holidays right around the corner, it’s not the best timing, but ok we can do this. Allie is a Pit Bull, American Bulldog mix; at the time we picked her up she was around six months old, and they knew she was deaf. I know the staff and volunteers worked with Allie while she was at the Capital Area Humane Society, it is my understanding that a special volunteer named Dawn even took Allie to puppy class there. A big “Thank You” to everyone who helped her out. When I got there to pick her up I was warned that she had a bad mouthing problem. On the way home from CAHS I had to pull over on the highway twice as she got her head stuck in the dog barrier in my SUV, she also scratched the inside of my SUV , and chewed the blankets I had for her to lay on. When we got home she ran inside peed on the carpet then had diarrhea all over the house and jumped up on my kitchen counter and started to drink my cup of coffee, knocking my favorite mug onto the floor breaking it into many pieces. When I introduced her to our other four dogs she attempted to hump them all and snapped at them then finally settled down a bit. That night we kenneled her in the living room as that is where our other four dogs sleep. She cried and screamed all night long, tore up her bedding and chewed on the kennel bars. By morning I was tired, stressed, and asking myself what did I get us into.
On top of being deaf she already had a urinary tract infection, demodex mange, coccidia, and a growth on her paw which they thought was a histiocytoma. Her diarrhea continued so we knew it was not stress diarrhea and took a fecal sample into Capital Area Humane Society where we found out she now had giardia, she had diarrhea for her first couple of months of being here and was on several different meds. Next she had a vomiting and not eating episode, she lost weight, was put on a special food where she ate small meals several times a day and did the same with water, in a few days she was back to her normal self. Seems like we had weekly medical visits to Capital Area Humane Society the first couple months we fostered her. The vets there are TOTALLY AWESOME, “THANKS SO MUCH” Dr. Ann and Dr. Charisse, you both ROCK! Her first night of being here we noticed she was slightly dragging her back paws, we let Capital Area Humane Society know what was going on and watched it for a few days, when it didn’t get better Allie went to Mount Hope Veterinary Hospital (they were great) for x-rays of her hips and spine, both of those areas looked ok they said it was probably neurological and the next step would be to go to MSU to try to get that confirmed. The vet said she could stay the same or get worse. Now add neurological on top of a urinary tract infection, demodex mange, coccidia, giardia, a big histiocytoma on her paw, and deaf, she is also on the skinny side no matter how much super premium food she eats (reminds me of failure to thrive), has a mouthing problem, no manners, grinds her teeth when stressed, she does not really like a lot of attention (that does not stop us from loving on her kissing, hugging, and petting her all the time), she lacks pigment in her third eye lids, does not know how to act with other dogs, she chews on the other dogs ears, tags on their collars, and tails, has an overshot jaw, she has limited vision, paces, fly snaps , she is clumsy, has ectropion (lower eyelids turn outwards), she does not have bite inhibition(when she mouths she does not realize it is hard and hurts and of course when she gets the other dogs they cry she but she cannot hear that so she has no clue she is biting too hard), has slight issues with eating and going potty, she chews and licks on her paws (not sure yet if due to allergies or behaviors), she will pee every time she is in the kennel be it for five minutes or five hours, she obsessively licks the carpet, floors, walls and furniture, has the longest tail I have ever seen on a dog, her front paws slightly turn outward, she will excessively drink water then vomit it up ( I have to add small amounts of water to the water bowl all day long throughout the day) she eats anything including her own poop, rocks, whatever she is near so you have to have one eye on her at all times, she also has what I call mini meltdowns where she can be sleeping and will jump up run through the house fast as if her tail was on fire, last time she ran across the couch over the end table and broke my picture frames and lamp that were on the end table. The best way I can describe her I would have to be she is somewhat like a mentally retarded, autistic, OCD, ADD, hyperactive two year old child all combined in a dog. We fostered her for almost three months so we were well aware she has mental, physical, and behavioral issues.
One day I explained to my husband that I was having a hard time thinking of returning Allie to the Capital Area Humane Society (although we knew Kristen the CAHS foster coordinator was doing a fantastic job on trying to find this special needs dog a special home, not an easy task, “THANKS” Kristen), I felt bad for her and worried about her future, she doesn’t do well with change and was used to our routine here, my husband said he was ok with us keeping her, ( YES, I do have the best husband in the world). Some of her issues have gotten better, some worse, and she has added some new ones (we thought the same thing could that be possible, more issues?). If you are thinking why adopt her and try so hard for her, well, I have asked myself that same question but after having her here in our house for a few months no matter how she was we loved her and we thought who better to take her on as we already knew her and she didn’t scare us away. You may say there are good healthy dogs without issues out there waiting to be adopted; yes there are millions of dogs in animal controls, humane societies, shelters, and rescue groups waiting for their forever homes hoping not to get euthanized, PLEASE go adopt one. All of our dogs are special needs. Are there days when I want to sit down and cry as she is so frustrating? YES. Do I have regrets? NO. Some people have said “you’re a saint, you have such a big heart”; “NO I am no saint maybe just a little crazy and yes I do have a big heart just wish my brain was as big as my heart, as my heart always over rules my brain”. We are learning to just take things one day at a time. We renamed Allie, her new name is Sophie and she joins her older brother Rainer and older sisters Bella, Clover, and Trudy. We look at Sophie and see a diamond in the ruff. We think we will take small but positive steps in the right direction. YES, Sophie is happy and knows she is loved, and loves her family. Quite the handful but we have always said better to have full hands than empty ones.
Thanks to Capital Area Humane Society for adopting out a special needs dog.
Mike and Jyl