Old Girl Has a Posse
I’ve waited for a long time to write this blog. Legal red tape, be damned. That sticky stuff’s got no place in this part of rescue, yet there it is nevertheless.
This is Sweetie. She’s an old gal with a goofy grin, full of snorts, and some serious hard knocks. Oh, and like Andre the Giant, she’s awesome enough to have her own posse.
Today was her best day ever. That’s not saying so much since her big adventure out included an exciting trip to the vet to be spayed. Sweetie wagged her tail and snorted her snort, though, like I was dropping her off at Disney World.
Earlier this year when Audrey, volunteer extraordinaire, and I were walking rescued dogs at a boarding facility, we noticed a particularly sad girl. The card on the kennel gate read “Sweetie.” At the time, it was sort of ironic since she wasn’t too keen on people coming near her, hence the growling and gnashing of teeth. Judging by the way she’d been neglected, I didn’t blame her for distrusting us. People hadn’t been kind.
Sweetie is a brown dog, a pit mix. She has a messed up tongue that often drags below her lower jaw. Years of lying on concrete yielded sore spots and callouses. Her paws, bloody from chewing, were barely able to support her weight when we met, and it was painfully obvious she’d been a puppy machine many times over. One of Sweetie’s teats was infected so horribly that it dragged the floor.
A closer look at Sweetie’s card verified she was someone’s pet, unbelievably. Worried for her welfare, Audrey and I brought her condition up with management, but their hands were legally tied, so the poor girl sat waiting for her [l]awful owner to return.
We started sneaking her bones to distract her from chewing on herself. At first, she’d run to the other side of her kennel and growl as we put them in her run. As the weeks went by, Sweetie began taking treats from us through the chain-link, but she was still wary. My heart had four flat tires just looking at her in so much physical and emotional pain, and I hated parading the luckier dogs past as we went on walks and play time at the pools. Sometimes we’d sit by her kennel and talk to her, but she was so depressed that she seemed only able to…breathe. With heavy sighs.
Spring arrived, and Sweetie was moved to a less-expensive outdoor run. Her person seemed to have abandoned her at the facility, so legal action was taken. Of course, waiting for law to take effect is like watching turtles race cross-country.
Sweetie’s health declined, but she started letting us pet her. And kiss her. She wagged her tail when she saw us. We asked for rescue assistance upon her release. We asked for help and frequent updates on her legal status. We pestered the facility to make sure Sweetie was receiving some kind of treatment. Audrey and I worried about her in the storms and on the days we couldn’t see her. Soon enough, all of the volunteers were asking about Sweetie, too. My phone had many texts that read: “Have we heard anything about Sweetie?”
Last week I was able to answer those texts: “Sweetie is part of our pack.” The long court process was over. Finally. Thanks, Dude Who Dumped Her.
This morning, I walked past every other dog, straight to Sweetie’s kennel. I put my leash around her neck — the leash she’d watched me walk all the other dogs with for months — and I hugged her. We marched to the front of the facility, out the door, and into my truck. She was scared, but she trusted me. At last.
At the vet, the other dogs were nervous and frightened, but, like I said, this was Sweetie’s best day ever. She smiled like a big dorky girl in that office and licked every hand that reached out to pet her nasty, flaky fur. Jim from DFW Rescue Me told me earlier in the week to tell the hospital to give Sweetie the full spa treatment. When I relayed the message, the woman at the vet’s office stroked Sweetie’s fur, and said, “We certainly will. She deserves a spa day, doesn’t she?”
Back in the truck, I was pretty overcome by emotion. It’s been a long hike for everybody — the boarders, the volunteers, but most of all Sweetie. She endured more pain and suffering than I care to think about. As I was driving back home to wait for word from the vet, the Simple Minds’ song “Don’t You Forget About Me” wandered its way onto the radio:
Will you stand above me?
Look my way, never love me
Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling
Down, down, down
Will you recognise me?
Call my name or walk on by
Rain keeps falling, rain keeps falling
Down, down, down, down
I never needed to hear that song again after the first million times I was subjected to it in the eighties, but today for some reason the lyrics hit home. Sweetie is a sensitive ponytail dog underneath that crusty exterior. I can only imagine that’s the song I’d sing if my person ditched me forever and in poor health at a strange place.
Right now, she’s recovering on a soft bed in a quiet room in our house, but I’m hopeful we’ll find an excellent home that will rightfully spoil her into the rest of her senior years as quickly as possible. Perhaps, that home is yours. (Say yes?)
Sweetie’s journey is a new one. Totally psyched for her.
Old gal has a posse!
Shout outs to DFW Rescue Me and Jim Wenger; my rescue homegirl, Audrey; Danny and Lacy, CJ, Adrian, Leila, Jen, Jill, Russell, Merrin, Bella, Amy, Rhonda, and the TA Army for visiting/caring for Sweetie; and Toothacres.
Want to give Sweetie a place to rest her paws? Excellent. Fosters/adopters, go here, and we’ll point you in the right direction. Specify “Sweetie from Toothacres” so we can get you to the right person.
Don’t have room for another houseguest but want to help? That’s cool, too. Volunteer/donate here.