#15- Adopt an Animal

Sometimes, life is really weird.

I'm married to a wildlife scientist. He's a serious animal lover, and he's been talking about getting a pet since we started dating. We've been strolling through Petsmart and Petco just about every time we've seen one, looking at everything from guinea pigs to parakeets to... rats. Ugh. (I'm sorry, I try to have an open mind, but I've always had a rodent phobia.) We've been frequenting the websites of local animal shelters, "just looking", as he always says, but how can you "just look" into hundreds of gloomy, orphaned, unwanted faces, when their pitiful, Sarah-McLachan-song eyes stare into your soul?

We did a lot of "just looking" over the weekend, and I told him we had to stop. I don't see the point in looking at the poor things, getting all worked up and emotional over them, when we- as he keeps reminding me- can't afford to adopt one right now.

So that was that.

Then Monday morning, while he's at work, I unexpectedly get this text:

Then this happened.

He went on to tell me that during one of his stops in the field, this tiny, emaciated, tick-covered puppy with a wonky hind leg came up to him out of nowhere, all sweet and friendly despite her ailments. Since she was clearly starving, he gave her some of his lunch, and "before he knew it", she was in the truck with him. 

He said he wasn't sure what to do with her, but the pictures he sent me progressed like this:

Oh goodness. 

I think it's safe to say we had both fallen a bit in love at this point, but we had to be realistic. We've just decided to work on getting out of debt, to get on a budget and go cash-only. And this mysterious little pup likely needed more medical help than we could afford to give her. Not to mention the cost of food, toys, a bed, a leash, and all the other expenses that come with a dog.

He had me call the vet to see what he should do with her. Since she was covered in ticks, the vet told me not to bring her in until we had cleaned her up. He advised taking her to a professional groomer. But, as fate would have it, all the groomers in town were closed on Mondays.

So she came home with us.

When I finally saw her in person, my heart broke. As Matt said, she was covered in ticks. Before we could do anything else, we took her to the garage and pulled off as many ticks as we could.

We took turns, but even after removing 20+ fat, engorged ticks, there were hundreds of tiny seed ticks we couldn't detach. 

We tried our best to clean her up with Dawn, which we followed with Adams flea and tick shampoo from Walmart. Several of the smaller ticks fell off, dead, after the bath, but her poor skin was still gruesomely infested.

But she was sooooo sweet and well-behaved the entire time. Nothing seemed to faze her. She seemed so happy to be with us, she just wanted to cuddle constantly. Well, cuddle and eat. I picked up the cheapest "healthy" dog food I could find before Matt brought her home, and man, when we started her off slowly with a quarter cup, and she didn't even chew it. It vanished in two seconds, then she was scurrying around, sniffing everywhere in search of more.

We got a $4 blanket for her at Walmart and two $0.94 squeaky toys (all of which she LOVED) and placed her in the garage that night. The next morning, I called the nearest dog groomer and made an appointment for her at 11:00, and we scheduled a vet appointment for 3:00.

The whole day was kind of odd, and I felt antsy. It seemed like all of our sentences started with, "If we keep her...", though it felt obvious to me that that had already been decided (she just took up with us so well). But we knew it all depended on what the vet told us. If we couldn't afford to help her, we knew we would have to take her to a shelter.

And after bonding with her all day, I really, really, really did not want to do that. Especially after our special experience at the doggie spa.

Earlier, at the kitchen table, I'd pointed out the obvious to Matt: "You know, if we keep her, we're gonna have to come up with a name." To this, he responded, "If we keep her. You've already picked one out, haven't you? No, you've picked out five." Actually, I'd narrowed it down to three, but I just said, "I have a couple in mind, yeah. Do you?" He replied, with surprisingly little hesitation, "Actually, I do. Just one. And I thought of it pretty early on." We argued about who should volunteer their name(s) first, when finally he went for it: "Annie."

I almost fell out of my chair. Annie was one of my three.

So, she became, unofficially, Annie. Though Matt continually reminded me, "You never name an animal until you know you're keeping it."

And that is why he scolded me when I showed him her report card from the doggie spa:

And that is why I giggled when he told the receptionist at the veterinary clinic, when we first arrived to check in, that her name was Annie.

Mmhmm. You never name an animal before you know you're keeping it. (I suppose he knew, too.)

(Her complimentary bandanna from the dog spa. When she looks up at you, her ears flop back. It's pretty hilarious.)
She weighed in at just under 6 pounds. The vet estimated she's between five and six months old, likely a beagle mix of some sort. The best news? She seems entirely healthy except for the ticks, which are getting better and should improve with Frontline. Her left hind leg does appear dislocated, but he says it may heal over time. We should just watch her and see how it goes. He did warn us that it could cause arthritis as she ages, and that could eventually warrant surgery. But for now, he said she should be fine. For the most part, she just needs fattening up! And if anybody is good at that, it's the two of us. :\

So, yeah. Life is weird some times. We were looking for a puppy to rescue, and she found us!

And I think we're all pretty excited about that. As soon as we got home from the vet, Matt grabbed some supplies from the garage and started making her a collar and leash.

It turned out great! I was pretty impressed. He put it together in no time, and it's been holding really well so far. And she looks very nice and sophisticated in it. 

And yes, that was #15 on my 101 Things list. I've always wanted to adopt a rescue animal from a shelter, so this was pretty amazing. The temperature has been dipping into the low 50's here at night lately, and Matt said she would have likely died from exposure this week if she hadn't found him when she did. So despite our tight budget, I think the timing was perfect (and I am excited to share that we've only used cash to pay for her supplies so far; still no credit cards! We're making do with some things we already have until we can afford to get her the nice stuff.)

We're all definitely enjoying the cuddles.


Lacey said...

Oh. My. Gosh.

THAT IS THE CUTEST DOG I HAVE EVER SEEN IN MY LIFE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I squeed so many times when I read this post! She is adorable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHH I CAN'T HANDLE IT!!!!!!!

Seriously, I am so glad you decided to keep her! If this post ended with you guys taking her to the shelter I would have cried and de-friended you. Lol. But really!

Jessica said...

Love what you said about if anybody knows how to fatten her up, it's us! Hahaha.

She is sooo cute. As Daddy as said, she will probably be the most loyal little dog ever, since you guys saved her life. :D

Anna Marie Schaefer said...

So adorable.

Although, it's too bad it wasn't a boy that you two could have named "Lee". Hehehehehe.