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Meet the Mutts: Miscellaneous

This series is supposed to be done. Psych! There’s another dog. There’s so many I loose count. No, not really. There’s extenuating circumstances. This dog, while not technically ours, he’s certainly in residence. And going nowhere fast.

We hope.

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Ford.

AKA Whitey (his original name – yuck), Whitey Ford (as in Whitey Ford sings the Blues, by the even more appropriately titled Artist Everlast), Fjord, Old Timey, and The Possum-Rat.

He’s a little old man Maltese ragamuffin, who’s been with us since February, and he’d like you to know, he’s hardly ‘miscellaneous’. I agree. The label isn’t intended to diminish his stature in the household. Rather to include him in a cast of characters who’ve come before. The times we’ve not had a rotating foster dog are few and far between. Somewhere around the three dog mark, we took up a temporary fourth. Then Jaime came to stay, so it became a rotating fifth. Rocco was one of those fifths. Snowballs, they roll.

We’ve taken some breaks. Fostering is hard on a family of mutts. Pack dynamics shift and change with the comings and goings of wayward dogs. You have to be on your game. As we all got older, we got lazier. We wanted to take our status a little more for granted. So we discovered the wonders of the Old Dog.

In truth it started with my very own old pug dog Louie. Who was with us for a year and a half, before we let him go. Louie begot Chuck, one of the great loves of The Husband’s life. Chuck we adopted in an official kind of way, from Old Dog Haven. I love Old Dog Haven. If you’ve got it, give them money. For they are the bestest rescue to work with, doing some of the hardest work. Digressing. Chuck was a 10 year old Rat Terrier. Awesome in so many ways.

Just before Chuck passed we picked up Moses, in what was a very long car ride with a very smelly, fat, hairless, unhappy Shih Tzu on my lap. Moses also came from ODH, but as a ‘foster dog’. The original intention was to adopt him out. Unfortunately, Moses bore some hefty physical and emotional scars. It took him the better part of six months to be interested in anything we had to offer, not making him a stellar adoption candidate. ODH has a ‘final refuge‘ program. Basically hospice care for senior dogs too fragile to be subjected to another major life change (ie adoption). ODH foots the bill for any required medical. We covered food, grooming and a collection of fancy sweaters.

All these dogs are worthy of their own write up, even if they aren’t with us any longer. They were part of our family. Without them we wouldn’t have Ford.

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That’s a certain gentleman a few hours after we picked him up from a local shelter. He’d been dropped there by the children of his former owner. The story is (and I often doubt the story) his guardian was going into hospice care. They left very little info other than that. Oh, and he was 19. Nineteen.

None of this explains why Ford was covered in black matts (the shelter shaved him), or why he was emaciated (down to 4lbs from what should have been six). Or maybe it does. If our Ford was in that kind of shape, I can’t imagine how his person looked.

Is he really 19? It’s doubtful, but who knows. He ancient of that we are sure.

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In any case, these days he holds court in my office from the depths of a 36″ Eco Drop bed. It’s his favorite. From that perch “The Master” as we’ve taken to calling him clearly communicates his needs. He sounds an alert should he require a trip outside, the whereabouts of the water dish, or what time dinner can be expected. He will let you know. Believe me.

He does make forays into the rest of the world, enjoying a good roll on the area rug (with all four chopstick legs flying – its a sight to behold), some TV time with the peasants, or a nap in the sunshine. Just try not to notice when he occasionally runs into the wall. He totally meant to do that.

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These neglected Old Dogs tend to experience a honeymoon period, in which good food, improved conditions and lots of love gives them a renewed vigor. They drop years and become active happy-scrappy family members (to varying degrees, based on their original condition). It doesn’t last forever. Their age catches up with them. However, we are right in the midst of that with Ford. He totters around, gobbling up treats and food with the whole three teeth in his head. He wags his broken little rat tail thrilled to see us anytime we show up.

I hope he is enjoying this time as much as we are.

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Comments

Tracy
Reply

So sweet. I too dream of escaping corporate servitude. My dream would be to stay home and foster, foster, foster. Getting a dog to that healthy, trusting place is such a high for me. We have had our Chi for a year and 1/2 and what an amazing turn around. She actually seeks us out for attention instead of running and hiding.

dogsordollars
Reply

Oh, if only fostering paid! My career path would be so much more straight forward. ;)

Even without compensation though, so gratifying I agree. Especially when you do see those big changes, like with your Chi. Nice work!

Tracy
Reply

Thanks. I ask her everyday, “You like it here?” and she just wags her tail or her whole body.

Kaitlin Jenkins
Reply

I love that you’re an old dog lover like me. Hubs and I are currently renting, and he’s in grad school for one more year…but I’ve been promised after that we can start to help out some of the senior dogs I’ve been dying to foster. They’re the best!

dogsordollars
Reply

They are! And so much easier than their younger counterparts. Old dogs need some medical, quality food, and a warm spot. Beyond that they really don’t ask a whole lot.

I wish I could convert more people to the gospel of Old Dog.

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