February 1, 2013 / Personal
Finch // Our new dog
Do you KNOW how hard it’s been to be keep this a secret? For a month? But it’s official, Finch is our new dog!!
Natalie and I already have enough pets to make us check off the box “Crazy cat lady lesbians” on any survey. I started volunteering at animal shelters every Saturday since I was 13 (who loves you when you have no friends? Shelter cats!) and went on to be an adoption counselor at a shelter, work at an emergency animal hospital for 4 years and be a foster mom for rabbits for 10. So yeah. I’m all in. But a dog seemed like a much bigger commitment. We had wanted a dog for a whole bunch of reasons for the last 2 years in particular (that’s a whole other blog post) and Natalie had been surfing petfinder unofficially for awhile.
While in San Diego, we just knew it was the right time so we emailed a bunch of rescues. We wanted a dog:
- That was 2-5 years old. We wanted to give an adult dog a second chance.
- A dog that was harder to adopt out. All our pets are rescue and almost every single one has a physical abnormality or was deemed “unadoptable”. My co-workers at the animal hospital called our house the island of the misfit animals.
- That was smaller and quiet. Our cats were are #1 concern and were very very abused. Besides being cut with razors and lit on fire many times, they were traumatized by dogs. We needed a dog that the cats felt was their size to feel more equal. And barking freaks out the rabbits.
- NO prey drive. Rabbits can die of fear and any dog we got must be mellow with rabbits.
- A dog that would love sitting at my feet all day while I work.
I told Natalie we would go to a few adoption events, get our feet wet, talk to people, prepare the house and then start seriously looking. HA! That’s apparently not what was in the stars.
We walked into our first adoption event and I saw Finch across the room. I squealed at his big ears and cute little body. So we went over and he was just killing me with his pig-like snorting. I told the foster mom our situation and this was just our beginning of searching. And then she said those magic words: “Oh! You have rabbits? I have a free range rabbit that he loves.” Um…what? Excuse me? You HAVE a rabbit that he loves? Sooooo you can see where that went. I promptly fell in love. And we adopted him and said we would pick him up the next day because we had ZERO prep in the house. We ran around like nuts getting any supply we could think of. Not the best way to do it but hell, we didn’t have time to think.
Finch, the name we gave him, has a very sad past that we only really figured out after he got home. He’s a Southern dog from TN that was found stray and at 1/2 his ideal weight. They named him Limpy at the shelter because his back leg was messed up. He stayed at the shelter for 6 months- 6 whole long months because the staff loved him and kept finding a way not to euthanize him with no space in the shelter. But with his leg and the fact he is a black dog (black dogs are the least likely dog to get adopted after pit bulls), his time was up. The shelter reached out and Double Dog Rescue said they had no room either. But by chance, things went his way again and a foster home was found. And a few weeks later he was at the adoption event.
But here’s where is gets shocking. No one realized just how horrible his back leg was because he really gets along well. But our vet suggested an x-ray when we told her he couldn’t sit down all the way and when I accidentally hit it, he was in so much pain. So when the x-ray technician came out and said we had to look at the radiographs because they were really bad, my stomach sank.
The orthopedic suregon said even hitting him with a baseball bat wouldn’t have been hard enough to do this kind of damage. He must have been hit hard by a car.
- His femur was smashed and had rehealed on it’s own without proper medical help, so it was half the length it should be and at a very odd angle.
- His leg was completely out of it’s socket and the socket had healed over, meaning no surgery could easily put it back. The actual ball of the leg that should be in his hip socket was hanging out waaaaay far over from where it should be and had nothing keeping it in place. Which is why he could have pain from such an old injury.
- BUT the surgeon was floored by his muscle tone and range of motion! For a dog with such a horrific injury, he got along amazingly well. So no surgery was needed or even available to us!!
So we are learning what he can and can’t do. But mostly, we are learning how much we love him.
- His adorable obsession with my heating blanket? OMG, so cute!
- He can destroy any non-tough chewing toy in under 5 minutes. No soft toys. Ever.
- He hates rain. Or snow. Unless he can lick the snow. And then he wants to lick the ground every foot or so.
- He looks smashing in red.
- He is smart and food motivated which = trainable. He loves going to dog training to learn new basic behaviors.
- He went nuts when we first put him in the car. But with a doggy bed/car seat thing (I know, I know) he sleeps or looks out the window. So say what you want but the doggy carseat makes me not crash into cars because he would fling his body at the car wheel- always good.