Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Old Dogs

I feel the worst for the old dogs who come into the Shelter. The ones like Mrs. Puff, the old Chihuahua surrendered two weeks ago.

No one noted any remarks beyond "owner surrender" on her intake paperwork. She is heartworm negative, so someone was caring for her, at least that much. But not enough to keep her to the end of her days.

She is so self-contained, so fully aware--she watches me and I can hear her thoughts:

You are nice, but...
The couch is comfy, but...
I like your grass, but...
The food is good, but...

Sometimes it is difficult to meet her gaze, which is intensely direct and unflinching. Her ears stand up like bat wings, and she follows my movements with her gaze, clouded though it is due to beginnings of cataracts.

I wonder if her owner thinks about her. I know Mrs. Puff has thought hard about her person. I know the first day I met Mrs. Puff, she was looking for her person. We were at an Off-Site at the local cinema-complex, a place I'm sure Mrs. Puff had never been. But she had a purpose--she was, like the Blues Brothers, on a mission from God.

All day, in spite of the heat, she padded forward, first one direction, then the next, walking as far as the leash would permit, her gaze direct and unflinching, her bat-wing ears perked forward, listening. Her confidence was palpable. Her person would come.

I took her home. I've fed her, gotten her on a potty schedule, fixed a bed by the dresser in my bedroom since she complains if she's crated. I've given her meds for kennel cough, cleaned out her ears, and dosed her with benadryl when her itchies become too bothersome. I've placed an ad extolling her virtues, but no one has responded. I am not her person. I am her foster.

Two days ago, I sensed a shift in Mrs. Puff. A flicker of depression. An awareness that her person is not coming. Now she is focused fully on me, on my daughter, and my son. She wants her bed in a certain spot. She wants help onto the couch. She wants her food. She has surrendered her heart to me. And it makes my heart ache to know this.


  1. Once again, I commend your ability to do the job you do.

    Good news though, well, in general.

    My cat will not be with me much longer (very bad news, I am dreading).

    I can't get another cat for a while. Tough act to follow.

    So, here's my good news: I've decided to adopt a geriatric (or approaching) dog. Ten years is fine...or whatever.

    I have a friend who is in your line of work going on 15+ years now. When I am ready, that's what I'm doing. I will take two if they are a pair.

    I wish more people could see the benefits...I've thought long and hard about it. I know the risks.

    Anyway, I hope it cheers you a little bit to know that a "Mrs. Puff" from somewhere is going to get a home...and I am very excited about it!

  2. Man, I don;t know if there is anything more heart wrenching than a senoir dog trying to figure our where the hel their person went and when are they coming back.

    An oldie but goodie is on my list, too, when I can have two dogs again. (and Stumpy is a little more reserved in her play style!)


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