About a month ago, around the same time that the wildfires started and things went a little nutty in Central Texas, a stray dog was seen roaming our neighborhood. He kept running back and forth across a fairly busy road. I knew I would feel terrible if I later saw him squished on the side of the road. I spent about three days working to get the dog to trust me because he was very skittish and ran when a person got near him. I would slowly walk away from him while dropping food behind me. Over the course of three days or so, I began to earn his trust. He got closer and closer, then tentatively took food from my hand, and finally tolerated me touching his head. I lured him into the backyard of the (empty) house next door, and an hour or so later had a leash on him and got him into my backyard. It wasn’t easy, but we got the stray guy off the street.
The amazing thing was that the once skittish dog became a mostly normal dog within 24 hours of us corralling him into the backyard. I say mostly normal because he likes to JUMP! A LOT! and he also pees on his front legs sometimes.
I should take a moment to say that of our seven resident pets, only two were adopted. The remaining five were strays that we took in. We are suckers. So this stray guy made number eight in our house. We immediately went into panic mode, wondering what we were going to do with this dog? Our dogs already had some behavior kinks we were working on, so a fourth dog would cause all kinds of problems. A few days later, we took him to the vet. It turns out the guy we had been calling Clifford was heartworm positive. Crap.
Two of our resident animals were ill when we found them. Callie, our pit bull, had sarcoptic mange and a bacterial infection. She spent six weeks getting nasty lime dips and we had to handle her with gloves. Today she is a spoiled, healthy dog. Meep, our youngest cat, was severely anemic when we found her. We had to force feed her every few hours. It was touch and go for a few days, but she pulled through and is a cute, healthy cat today.
But heartworms? Dang, this was a new one for us. A very scary new one after I consulted the internet. To add to the scariness, I learned that there was a shortage of heartworm medication. The only option was to give the dog antibiotics and heartworm preventative until the medication was back on the market. Fortunately, in the past few days, our awesome vet has secured some medication and Cliff will begin treatment on Monday. I am kind of terrified. He’s a hyper dog, and we need to keep him as calm as possible while he undergoes treatment.
This all brings me to something I am somewhat uncomfortable with. I have been encouraged to begin a donation page to help raise funds for Cliff’s treatment. If you are so inclined – $1 – $5 – anything will help get us through this treatment. It all adds up and I will be forever grateful for your assistance!
P.S. We are still hoping to find Clifford a home after all this. If you are in the Austin area and looking for a dog, maybe Cliff is your doggie soul mate. Give him a couple of months and he will be ready to go! 🙂
P.P.S. This dog business is why I have not written a book review in ages, but I hope to get back on the review wagon within the next week.