Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Stray Dog (Long Post)

On Saturday, February 4, 2006, my mom woke me from a deep sleep at 8:00 am. She had my dad on the phone and she asked a simple question, “Do you want a dog?” I was confused. See, at the time, J and I lived with my parents and we had their dog, we'll call him Junkyard Dog, or JD for short. We had just put my dog, P, to sleep in October of 2004 and I didn’t think my parents would let another dog in the house. So, as soon as she asked me, I shot up out of bed and asked, “Can I?” She said, “yes, but you have to go down to dad’s work now, he has one there for you”. I was so confused, I don’t know if it was because I was still half asleep or because my parents were acting so nonchalant about bringing another dog into the house or because my dad had a dog for me at his job in a hospital.

I quickly jumped out of bed and threw on some jeans, a top, and some tennis shoes. Then it dawned on me to ask what was going on. I asked my mom why dad has a dog for me at the hospital – it didn’t make sense. As I was running across the landing to the bathroom to brush my teeth, she told me that my dad found a small, furry dog shivering in the bushes in front of the Center for Advanced Medicine building. I guess this is where I get my love for animals, but my dad, immediately, fell in love with her.

I asked my mom if she’d go with me so I could hold the dog while she drove. Z, my nephew that lives with my parents, woke up and asked where we were going. I think I may have rubbed off on him, because when he found out we were going to get a dog, he quickly asked if he could go with us. So, mom, Z and I drove down to dad’s office where a security guard was sitting there with this little dog. She was about 13 pounds, her hair was about an inch long everywhere (except her tail, which was long), and she was brown, tan, black and white. She was so cute. She was standing at the door when I jumped out of the car and I already knew that I loved her. She was pretty thin, from being on the streets I suppose and she was very dirty – but she was still the cutest dog. I noticed all of this just while walking from the car to the door. I opened the door and she jumped on me. That’s when I noticed she was bleeding. Keep in mind; I’ve never, in my life, had a girl dog – only boys. I frowned and asked what was wrong with her. My dad laughed and said, “I think she's just in heat, Mikala, she’ll be okay”. So, I grabbed her, wrapped her in Puff’s old blanket and put her on my lap in the car. She was so dirty and so scared. She had maple syrup in her tail and beard, her ears were matted and she smelled horrible. Despite this, she was so cute, not to mention, sweet and timid. She lied on my lap and quickly fell asleep. Then, it occurred to me that she may not have had any sleep, warm shelter or family in a long time. I felt so bad for her – but she was okay now, I have her, I’ll take care of her.

Before we took Beanie (whom we hadn’t named yet - this is not her real name either) home, we wanted to take her to the Vet to make sure she didn’t have anything she could give JD. We also wanted to check to see if she had a chip. The last thing I wanted to do was take someone’s beloved pet away from them. Mom called Dr. King, our Vet, and asked if we could bring her in and they jovially agreed. However, Dr. King wasn’t in, but Dr. Lenkowski was glad to take a quick look at Beanie. Beanie was thought to be a Shih Tzu/Terrier mix, she was in heat, she wasn’t hurt or sick, she wasn’t emaciated YET, and she didn’t have a chip. The Vet (a young lady, since Dr. King wasn't in) said it would be safe to have Koko around Baxter. Since Beanie didn’t have a chip, I asked the Dr. what to do to notify everyone that we found this “lost” dog. She said to notify the Humane Society and local Vets and that was all we could do. Mom and I felt very strongly that we should do this because I would be devastated if my dog got out and someone just swiped him up for themselves. Around 12:00 pm we left the Vet’s office with a clean bill of health.

Next on the agenda was to get Beanie groomed – she was so dirty and you could tell she didn’t like being so dirty. We called Kennelwood, our usual groomer, but they were too busy – after all, it was Saturday. So, we called this small shop we always saw by my mom’s house – it was called the Dog House. They said that they could take her if we brought her in right away. So, we dropped her off on the way back home. They were very happy that we took this abandoned dog in to care for her. They said that they would call us on our cell phones when she was ready. So, we were going to go home and make some phone calls.

When mom, Z and I got home, we called the Humane Society to notify them of the “found” dog. They stated that no one had reported any dogs missing. They took her information and said they’d call if someone reported the dog missing. We did a little searching and no one had reported the dog missing. So, mom and I planned to give it two weeks. If no one had claimed Beanie in two weeks, she was mine. I also decided to have her spayed after those two weeks also. After calling everyone we could think of, we figured we’d put a post out on Craigslist, so we did. Then we figured we better go buy her some stuff – you know, sweaters (since she was so thin), toys, a bed, a blanket of her own, etc. Yes, we spoil our dogs. So, mom and I went shopping (while Z went skateboarding with his friends). We went to PETsMART and bought all kinds of stuff. I spent a little bit of money on Koko that day and I had and still have no regrets.

Around 2:00, we finally picked Beanie up from the groomer. We brought her home and you could tell she felt much better. She was playing with toys, jumping (let me tell you, she has to have some Jack Russell Terrier in her, she can jump straight into the air – a good 2 feet OFF the ground), and cuddling. That’s when I realized I had to call J and tell him that we got a dog. Now, if any of you know J (L, you know this), he’s not a very excitable guy – I’ve seen him extremely excited maybe 3 times in the 7 years we’ve been together. So, I called him at work and said, “Bubby, we got a dog, she’s very cute”. His exact words were, “ok”. I figured he thought she was a frou-frou dog from her description. See, he’s a Pitbull kinda guy, that’s the only breed of dog he ever had as a child. Don’t get me wrong, he likes JD and he liked P, but they surely weren’t dogs that you could take to the park and play with. I just told him he’d have to see her before he makes any judgments.

For the rest of the day, my mom and I played with Beanie and tried to think of a name. With her coloring, we determined what we'd name her and then we just spelled it the Hawaiian way (again, Beanie is NOT her name). So, yes, we named her before the two weeks were up – I couldn’t help it. She’s very lovable and I have proof.

J came home from work, and when Beanie ran and jumped up into his arms while he was in a standing position, he quickly fell in love with her too. To this day, that is his little girl. He loves that she’ll play catch, she’ll catch her babies in mid-air, and she still jumps up into his arms from the ground while he’s standing. Did I mention that she is fully trained also? She is house trained, she won’t bark, she’ll never lay her teeth on any portion of your skin and she listens to commands. She was the perfect dog and we couldn’t believe we just happened upon this “perfect” dog.

After a few scares (people with similar dogs e-mailed us, but none were a match), no one ever claimed Beanie, so we took her to the Vet to have a full examination by our real Vet, Dr. King. Now, Dr. King loves little dogs, he’s a very sweet, passionate man and I think he is the best Vet I’ve ever encountered. He loved Beanie, he loved how sweet she was, he loved how beautifully maintained her body was, and he loved how beautifully clean her teeth were. He said, “wow, you got a gem here, where did you get her?” and that’s when I shocked him and said she was a stray. Dr. King was surprised and excited. He said that it was great that the right people found her and that she now has a family that loves her. Then, Dr. King did the usual vaccination thing, and all that. We scheduled her spaying and the injection of a chip for March and took her in for that. She did very well and all is healed. Now, we have a chip in her in case we ever lose her.

However, March 5, 2006 was a scary day for me. Beanie was lying on the couch and having what seemed like a mild seizure. I started freaking out and we quickly swiped her up and took her to the Emergency Animal Hospital. They couldn’t find any signs of epilepsy and they couldn’t find any signs that she had a full-blown seizure. They weren’t too sure what it was. After spending $200 for blood work and an exam, we left not knowing what was wrong with our baby, even though she was completely back to normal by the time we left the hospital. That next day I spent a few hours researching canine epilepsy and I am still convinced that’s what she has. I took her to Dr. King and he said that she may have mild epilepsy that will never require medication or anything. He said she may have these mild seizures every now and then. He gave me the list of things to watch for and told me what to do in the case of a seizure. Since the first seizure, she’s had two more. Now, I know what to do when it happens and I wouldn’t ever love her less because of this. I love my dog with all of my heart and I’m blessed to have her.

Anyway, that’s the story of Beanie...


Reba said...

That dog was lucky to find you. I work in that same hospital and there are always stray dogs walking around the neighborhoods around there.

Also I was reading about you and I also grew up in South County and graduated from Mehlville, but not til 98. I also dance for 13 years, so I have to know what studio you took lessons at.

Funny how this is such a small world.

Reba said...

I grew up dancing at Miss Cindy's. Actually the owner of Miss Cindy's is my niece's grandma. I know both of the studio's you went to. I competed against them many times.

The studio I think you are thinking of is Studio C. That was our rival studio. The owner of that studio babysat me a few times when I was growing up.

Oh and you have really taken off on your blog. Hope you continue and I will be checking out your other new one.