I just picked up — and by ‘just’ I mean a few hours ago — a rescue dog. I know nothing about her except she was abandoned by renters who skipped out on her, another dog, and the rent, too.
Nobody knows the dog’s name. I call her Rosie, because she looks sweet. She appears to be a pit bull cross, on the smallish side. She’s adult but more than that I can’t tell. Her rescuers picked her up yesterday from the back yard where she had been left, took her on a three hour drive — possibly the first in her life, as she had no idea how to get into a vehicle — treated her for fleas, fed her and kept her overnight, then handed her over to me today to deal with.
She’s not starved, but she shows indicators of poor nutrition. She’s got scabs in her ears, hot spots on her paws, a few sores that look like infected bug bites on various parts of her body. She’s got a soft lump under her jaw. She’s got a big pot belly, soft poop, and she farts — though the soft poop and farts might be due to the change in food, and/or the stress of being taken from her yard by strangers and handed off to yet another stranger. I assume that belly does not indicate pregnancy (I pray she’s not pregnant!) because there’s no sign of teat/mammary gland development.
Mostly I’m concerned because she has such labored breathing. She sounds like she’s snoring even when she’s awake. That could be a symptom of late stage heartworms, but then again, the collar she was wearing was so tight it had to be cut off — it’s possible Rosie’s windpipe is damaged. It’s possible that the lump under her jaw is doing something. It’s possible she’s got a respiratory infection or maybe that’s just the way she breathes. I have no clue.
Needless to say, Rosie is going to go to the vet soon as I can snag an appointment.
My tomcat, Tux, took one look at her and it was all-out attack: furred out like he’d stuck his paw in an electric outlet, fangs, claws, and the Kitteh Voice of Doom. I have no idea why. Tux wasn’t like that when I came home with the last dog, Bella.
Rosie, sweetie that she is, just hunkered down and tried to get away. I got her inside, and shut the screen door (and baby gate) between the two. I thought Rosie was going to have a heart attack. Tux spent the next half an hour yowling and snarling and growling before finally, reluctantly, slinking away because it had started to rain.
Rosie is currently sleeping on a little bed I made for her. Before I brought her home I was all stressed about needing to bring in a crate for her to sleep in, about her chasing cats, about you name it. Then I got her home and stressed out about Tux hunting her down and attacking her if I put her out in the dog run, or her going after Lili (my 17 year old inside cat) if I wasn’t watching Rosie every minute.
I forgot that some dogs react to this rescue business by being afraid to do anything lest it is the wrong thing. Rosie is that dog. I am not petting her or even talking to her very much. Reaching for her makes her shrink away and drop her head. I only pet dogs that want to be petted and she’s not ready for that yet.
She does take treats, though. A good start.
Later: I took Rosie out for a walk to my property gate and Tux followed partway. He sat down and watched us. When we came back and Rosie saw him, she stopped. Tux hadn’t moved. So I asked him to be nice to Rosie. I asked him to let her go back into the house. He meowed a few times, then turned and walked through the compound gate. We followed. Tux settled under the truck and watched us walk by. There’s hope!