Thursday, April 21, 2011

You Lucky Dog!

So our story continues from the last episode.  JK made a habit of looking at  She still loves looking at the Daily Puppy, where cute little doggies are on display.  This was a little more than a year ago, when JK was waiting for her system to normalize after the myomectomy (surgery to remove fibroids).

The more she looked, the more I realized that she really wanted to do this (adopt a puppy) and I knew that I was right on board with her.

I'd only had a dog once before.  She was a homely mutt named Alpha.  Our family dog growing up.  When she died, I had one of the great cries of my life.  For a while, I never wanted another dog.

JK was in a state at the time.  She'd been poked, stabbed, cut open, all without knowing if there was a purpose to it all.  Her body was taking a while to settle back into its cycles.  A dog might help her get her mind off things, I supposed.

We first went to Huntley, IL, to a shelter where we'd seen a litter of adorable puppies.  Huntley is a LONG way from Chicago, but we figured it would be worth the trip if we found our little guy (gal).  We arrived only to learn that the whole litter had been adopted!  All gone!  Ah, well.

We did meet a very adorable litter of blue heelers, and nearly adopted the one that released a squeaky three second fart while we were admiring him.  A farting virtuoso, after all, is rare and to be treasured!

Our consolation: we passed Culvers on the way home and feasted on butter burgers and custard (YUM!).

The next day, we hit Wright Way Rescue in Niles, IL.  We had seen one litter on, and were looking forward to seeing one doggie in particular.

Pretty cute, no?  This was a Great Pyrenees / Golden Retriever mix named Luke.  He was the only male of his litter (three she-pups) and the last remaining when we arrived.

He charmed us right away, and seemed to be a good candidate as a family dog, if we would be so fortunate.

So we decided to adopt Luke.

As you can see, we were pretty happy puppy parents!

But not all happiness is meant to last.  Nor is it held onto easily.

Luke was scratching and licking himself red and bloody whenever left alone.  This persisted through weeks of self-mutilation and two vets that failed to diagnose the issue.

So it happened that one month later, on JK's birthday, we prepared to return Luke to the shelter.  He appeared to us to be a psycho-dog, and too much for us to handle.

When we got to the shelter, the rather un-tactful Exec. Director guided us to Touhy Animal Hospital and we somewhat begrudgingly agreed to try them out.  Soon, we got to see Luke's issue under the microscope: the worst scabies infestation they had seen in three years at Touhy.  The vets that had missed the diagnosis allowed the scabies to thrive.

In one month, Luke was clean and healthy and in puppy training classes.

There is a parable here, if you were astute enough to pick up on it.  Luke is a redemption story.  From cute and adoptable, he descended to psychotic and prone to self-mutilation.  Then, when the right vet found him and helped us help him, he became the dog he was supposed to be all along.

In that he paralleled our story.  We went from hopeful to disappointed and needed to find our way back to hopeful (if not fulfilled!).

I have always believed that Luke gave as he got.  He was our good luck charm.  When we returned him to health and happiness, he did the same for us.

Less than one month after the scabies were gone, JK became pregnant.