Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dog - Gone

Saying good- bye is never easy.  Today I had to say good-bye to my little black schnauzer.  A sweet little angel dog that had spent the first 8 years of his life stuck in a crate, his owner only pulling him out to breed him.  When these amazing people rescued him he was full of urine burns, tiny, frail, scared to death of everyone and everything.  I found him through Pet Finder.  I saw his picture and thought he was the sweetest looking little dog.  I contacted the agency that had him, a rescue agency in Toledo, Ohio.  I spoke with a woman named Jennifer and we started chatting via email.  I filled out all the paper work and told her I would be adopting Chance at the same time I would be adopting another dog name Finnegan, I wanted them both to be in my home at the same time.  I wanted them both to get acclimated at the same time.   She drove to my home, and the couple who were ready to put Finnegan up for adoption also arrived.  Chance was so tiny, so sweet and so scared.  She told me she had adopted him out three times, no one wanted him.  I said we want him.  You will never have to adopt him out again.  My Mom and Aunt huge dog lovers came over to be at the adoption.  My Mother told Jennifer, she would not be getting Chance back, that he had found a home.   She knew the minute I saw him I would fall in love with him and I did.  And so did Max.

I had always wanted to adopt dogs from a shelter or rescue.  I never had before although I had tried but it was hard in the past to find small dogs and I wanted dogs I could hold like babies.  Finnegan and Chance would be a great asset to our home.  Max was just two and a half but I had been without a dog for two years (my dog had passed shortly after Max was born) and I missed not having an animal in the house.

Max was thrilled, and Finnegan and Chance came to live with us.

Finnegan was naughty.  Adorable but trouble from the start, but he was so good with Chance which just made us love him even more.  Chance, was sweet, and scared and skittish.  I said give me a year, he'll be fine.  He won't be afraid of men anymore, he'll know he's loved, he'll feel safe.  A year later he was a different dog.  But still a dog that had scars.  Never around people, especially kids, always stuck in crate he didn't know what it meant to go on a walk, to have a cookie, to play.  He was a special needs dog.  He wasn't potty trained, and that was a challenge but he eventually got there.  He didn't walk as well as Finnegan, he never really romped around and he seldom barked and when he did he sounded like a big dog.  You never saw him wag his tail.  But he was so loved, and Max and I told him that every day of his life.

Making a decision to end your dogs life is right up there with the most difficult things you have to do in life.  And yet animal lovers over and over again, get new pets to replace their lost ones, because the joy these creatures bring to us overshadows the pain of having them leave us.  And so today, as I carried my little sweet angel Chance through the doors of the Harper Wood Vet Hospital, my heart was breaking, but I knew it was time.  He could not walk anymore, he was blind, he still ate but with difficulty and he slept almost all the time.  He had no quality of life, but what he did have was an amazing adventure with Finnegan, with Max, with me.  We gave him the life he had so deserved and so even though the first part of his life was horrible, we did all we could to make up for the last part of his life.

My vet told me today that a study was done on dogs and their pain.  They had video taped a group of dogs who had been spade.  When the dogs did not suspect they were being watched you could tell they were uncomfortable, some cried, some shifted about trying to get comfortable.  But the minute a human walked in the door they jumped up and acted as if nothing was wrong.  Animals mask their pain, because they don't want to disappoint us, or make us worried or sad, or maybe they just don't want to leave us.  They are truly the most selfless creatures on the planet, which is why I love them.

Chance learned to wag his tail.  About a year before he passed that little tail wagged whenever I talked to him or picked him up.

We will get two more dogs, today we grieve our little Chancey or Pooey as we called him.  He will be missed as much as we miss Finnegan.  But we know he's up there hanging out with his buddy, and that gives us some sense of peace.

Friday, August 3, 2012

The Skunky Summer

I love animals.  I have always had a dog and I adopted two dogs about six years ago when my son was old enough to know how to love on them with out getting bit.  Sadly we lost one nearly a year ago, and I just wonder, how different this summer would be if Finnegan Fergus Lambchopper was around.

The reason of course, is because a little gang of baby skunks decided to make their home under my deck.  I noticed them one morning when I went out to put some chlorine in my pool and marched right back in my house.  Crap.  They are cute but they are skunks.  Will they spray me?  Can they spray me? And why are they in my back yard?  There were a total of six of them but I only ever saw 5 of them at one time.  I immediately got online and looked up how to get rid of them.

Let me state again...I LOVE animals and there was no way I was going to get rid of them in a bad way, just didn't want them hanging out and possibly spraying my son, or the neighbor kids.   I read a bunch of things none of them seemed to be too full proof, but I went to the store and got those moth balls and watched them parade right by them not a care in the world.  I also thought it was odd that they were out in broad daylight, and that there was no Mom around...and then I realized they were orphans.

During this time I am going through a kitchen renovation.  One that is now put me over my budget, so I called the animal control in Warren and they said "Sorry we don't take on skunks".  It figures.  This was not going to be cheap I already knew.  After about a month with them still hanging around and getting pretty comfortable, I called a guy that would remove them and not hurt them but put them in the environment they are accustomed to, although I think they were pretty happy with the one they were in.
His card read "Humane Eviction" so I hired him.  He was not cheap, but at this point I had no choice.  The neighbor behind me said that one of them was in her yard, and went to her neighbors house and her neighbor picked the skunk up and of course it sprayed her, but she took it to a shelter.  One safely evicted.  Hooray!  Another one ended up next to my neighbor's garbage can, apparently subjected to a horrific death by some other animal...we are thinking it may be the cat across the street.  Mr. Humane Eviction couldn't get here fast enough.

The morning I called him, my neighbor two houses down came over to ask me what I planned to do about my skunks.  Hmmmm my skunks, like I invited them over to live under my deck.  These guys were scouring the neighborhood, they wanted food and they just came back to my house to lounge safely under my deck.  I told my neighbor, they are not by any means "my skunks" but that I am having to PAY someone to come and trap them.  His dog apparently had been sprayed twice.  He wasn't happy, but I reminded him I wasn't either since I was the one footing the bill.   He left, satisfied that I was taking care of "my skunks".

And so it begins.  The first day the cages are out I get a call from my son at work.  "Mom, there are no skunks in the cage but Waldo is in there".

"WHAT?  Are you kidding me?".  Waldo mind you is our possum that has lived under the deck quite contently for at least ten years.  Max then said "Mom, I think Waldo may have eaten the skunks."  Oh my God I'm thinking are you kidding me..."Max", I say "Why would you think that?"  and he responds quite calmly  "Well Mom because he's fat and he smells like a skunk".   Lovely.  Ok so I call Mr. Humane Eviction and he said - well it is possible possums do eat baby skunks.  OMG.  Then he says
" I probably should have put a smaller cage there".....REALLY YOU THINK...he comes out, takes Waldo away and puts a smaller cage there.  Now mind you, all I can think is that poor Waldo who has been living their for ten years gets evicted because these baby skunks had moved in on his territory.  He had to be thinking that he should have eaten them when he had the chance.

Mr. Humane alerts me that when he was putting the cages out he did catch a skunk.  Ok so we are down to three now.  Hooray.  On his way out, the neighbor says, he has caught one in a box.  Mr. Humane says, if I take it I'll have to charge you", my neighbor reminds him these are my skunks.  So he takes it and then he tries to charge me.

Two down two to go.  That night one baby skunk ends up in the trap.  The next morning their sibling is in the other trap.  Our Skunky Summer has come to an end.

I have to say, those guys were adorable.  If they didn't have that gland thing I may have considered letting them live there.  I mean after all I have a rabbit that visits daily, a squirrel that thinks he owns the yard, and a bevy of birds that love to hang out in the big silver maple tree and then there was Waldo...poor Waldo, I hope he found a new home.  But skunks cute as they are, smell.  And it was time for our skunky summer to end.  I can imagine if Finnegan was around while the skunks were here...I'd be bathing him in tomato juice daily of that I'm sure.

I still find myself checking the yard before I step out...maybe next summer I'll forget about them.