Friday, August 21, 2009

What Exactly IS An American Shelter Hound?

We have mutts. Two of them.

Taking them out in public, which we do frequently, is one long game of "Guess That Breed".

Let's start with Maisey.

People think Maisey is a Boxer, a Pointer, a Bull Dog, a Pitbull, a Terrier, a Hound, and all manner of boxy-headed breeds. Truth is, we have no idea. She was found as a stray on the streets of Iowa, dumped in a shelter, then pulled before her "kill date" by a rescue here in the Twin Cities. An awesome father/son combination fostered her for several months before we adopted her last spring.

So we have concluded that Sweet Maisey Potato Head is simply an "American Shelter Hound".

Thursday, August 20, 2009

a little backstory

Slow down there, sailor.

Babs here. As usual, Meg begins the tale smack dab in the middle of the story.

Things started with the American Shelter Cat, Lucky Bunny.

Way back in the day, I used to volunteer at a local humane society. My official job was cat cuddler. So for a few hours each week, I'd spend time with the shelter cats, holding them if they would allow it and just talking with them through the bars of their crate if that was all they could handle. Most cats were somewhere in between - a little head scratching was was they needed.

One Saturday I met Lucky, a smelly, grubby, emaciated new arrival. You name it, Lucky had it: fleas, ears mites, skin sores, a highly contagious respiratory virus, and a newly missing rear foot. The wound was so fresh I could literally see the bone sticking out, surrounded by raw tissue, not yet closed up. Despite his obvious discomforts he immediately hobbled to the door of his crate to be picked up. I scooped him up in my arms and cradled him like a baby. He purred and held my gaze, never looking away. I rocked him and sang to him for a good half an hour, then explained to him that I had to spend some time with the other cats and would check in before I left. He grudgingly went back into his crate.

After I had done the rounds, visiting about 20 other shelter cats, I stopped by Lucky's cage to say goodbye. As I was there, one of the humane society vet techs came up to me and asked "What is he doing in here?" I asked what she meant. She replied "He has a contagious respiratory virus and was scheduled to be euthanized this morning."


You know the next part of the story. I promptly filled out the application, laid down my $80, had a long consult with the staff vet, and left with a stinky cat and a big bag of medications.

His recuperation took several weeks, but now he's as good as gold. He gets around just fine with three legs - although he hops instead of runs, hence the nickname Lucky Bunny.


Not to start off my first venture into blogging with a downer, but last night's eventfulness is what prompted me to give this a whirl!

Right...just tell the story...

Shortly after dinner, B noticed a couple spots of blood on the stairs. We did what every good pet owner does at this point: reach for the nearest animal and start feeling around. B hit the jackpot with Maisey. Now, Maisey's our bleeder in the family. She has a spot on her chin that periodically opens up, says hi, then goes away. I figured that was our source.

No problem. A little styptic powder, a little pressure and she's good.

I wish.

I think the moment I realized it wasn't her chin was when B, my dear emetophobic B, nearly threw up. It seems that Maisey had managed to rip part of her carpal pad away from her leg.

Yes, it is as gross as it sounds.

B and I immediately activated our Team Awesome wonder twin powers. In a blur we managed to put Gypsy in her crate, find the address for the after-hours vet, put a temporary bandage on Maisey's leg, and hit the road. All this, and no additional blood letting!

Is bleeding pet management an Olympic event?

B was a rock star driving through the tail end of rush hour traffic while I sat in the back of the car, keeping Maisey calm. Minor detail that I had wrapped her leg too tight, leading to the most panicked howling we've ever heard from her. Once I figured out what was up I rewrapped her leg and it was smooth sailing.

Except for the nausea.

Have I mentioned that I get carsick if I'm not driving? I do. It's not pleasant, especially when you don't have access to the two things that can make you semi-comfortable; a view of the road and some cool air. What I had was a view of the rear end of my SUV and a portable furnace named Maisey.

I love my dog.

We finally arrived, got checked in, and kept Maisey calm with a steady stream of Milkbones. The vet was great, offering us two options for care - 1) suture the flap back in place and hope it heals despite the poor blood supply to the area, or 2) clip the flap off and let it be. Considering how active our girls are, option 1 seemed like a guaranteed return visit to the vet. So, off Maisey went through the back door of the exam room.

5-10 minutes, and some whining and howling later Maisey was brought back in with her fancy new bandage (which is way better than the kitchen towel/ace bandage system I had rigged!).