Thursday, September 2, 2010

Learning About Scrappy

The more I get to know my rescue dog Scrappy, the sadder I feel. First off, if I pull out a dog toy, wave it and squeak it at him to encourage him to play, he squeezes his eyes shut and cowers as if he expects me to hit him with it. He often misinterprets our play habits as being a form of violence. If we play with our Corgi, he thinks that either we are attacking her or she is attacking us. If our Corgi tries to play with him, he growls at her to protect himself. Scrappy is such a delicate, tiny dog that I can't imagine how a human being could beat him and not be aware of how easily he could kill the dog. I've seen rabbits bigger than this dog.

Then there's the strange lump on his chest. At first I figured it was just a fatty tumor, but then I saw that the hair wasn't growing normal on it. It appeared to be some form of an old injury. I also found that the tip of his tailbone was broken at one time and never fused back correctly. Then my son felt something strange along one side of Scrappy's ribcage and asked what it was. What I felt alarmed me. It was as if one of his ribs broke into several pieces and turned 90 degrees from where it should be positioned. Either that or some doctor who operated on him left one of his surgical tools inside. I suppose it could be a series of metal rods holding his ribs together, or even a catheter. All I know is that it's not a normal part of his anatomy, and if we pick him up without supporting his bottom, he squeals in pain. I'm taking him in to see a vet when he's off is antibiotics, and hopefully I'll get some answers.

I noticed in his medical records that the surgery to remove his bladder stone was performed without x-rays immediately preceding the surgery. Once he was cut open, no stones were found, so they assumed he passed them, and stitched him back up. The poor dog got cut open for no reason at all. They did perform x-rays 20 days before the surgery and found stones, but they really should have verified that the stones were still there before slicing and dicing. It's not easy recovering from invasive surgery. Each time I've been cut open to remove something that shouldn't be there or to put something back together that tore or broke, it has been a minimum of one year for me to get back to my old self and be pain-free.

When I first brought Scrappy home, he wouldn't let me out of his sight. He followed me from room to room, and if I went outside, he sat by the door until I returned. It was as if he were afraid I might abandon him. Now that he's learning that I always come back, he's feeling more comfortable about being away from me for short periods of time.

On a lighter note, I gave him a bath and was having fits of laughter over his behavior. I half-expected him to be afraid of water and maybe try to bite me when I put him in the tub. Instead, he walked all around in the water like he felt at home. I'm so used to dogs scrambling to try to get out of the tub that Scrappy's enjoyment of the water was a pleasant surprise. After I lifted him out and dried him off, he got the fitz. He raced around the house at top speed running from room to room to room with his tail wagging all the way. He rolled on the carpet as if feeling pure joy over being clean. When he ran, he ran so hard and fast that his hind legs stretched out in front of his front legs. He was blow-drying his own fur. My husband said, "That's no 10-year-old dog. That's a puppy."

It gave me hope for him, because if we aren't taking Scrappy for a walk or having him follow me from room to room to room, he's sleeping. I've never seen a dog sleep so much. When he drinks water, he coughs and sneezes like there's something wrong with his esophagus. He seems to be falling apart in so many ways, yet to see him run around with such a huge smile on his face after a bath suggests that it can't be all bad for him.


Mrs Mom said...

Go Scrappy!!!

Please give him a squeeze and a cuddle from me too NuzMuz. He is so stinkin' cute!

What a grand little fellow he is coming to be. I'm really tickled that you guys found each other. He'll have an awesome life with you, and be spoiled and loved like no where else!

fernvalley01 said...

I was given a Keeshond years ago , he had been shown to his Canadian&American championship , the stuck in a kennel , rarely fed and certainly not treated well.The breeder took him back and gave him to me .It took Joe a long time to trust, anyone but me or my dad, and he occaisionally did show some mild aggression.But that saddest thisng was that he had no idea how to play of bond. When we finally got him settled and he relaxed his favorite game became me rubbing his head , then he would leap up spin around and I would rub his butt.And after that he seemed to learn to play with the other dogs as well. A funny thing though , I got a kitten , and Joe bonded with Rowdy imediatly , every time th kitten would cry ,he would go get him and gently carry him to me . They were fast friends the remainder of Joes life , and I think Rowdy truly believed he was a Kesshond too!

Crystal said...

aww its sad what people will do to dogs. Im glad you got him and he will have a good rest of his life.

Breathe said...

Dogs are good emotional healers. Thanks for giving him a chance to heal.

Sneak him a piece of hot dog from his Texas Auntie. :)

Stephanie said...

I am so glad that Scrappy now has a wonderful home! I hope that he stays healthy and lives a nice long life.

JennyB said...

In all my years of rescuing animals most of the dogs had no idea how to play. It's so sad but in time he'll probably get past it to some extent, it always depends on the individual dog, and you'll both learn things you can do together that are non-scary fun for him. Maybe you can do something with water together like swim or send him out into water for fetch or something. He might love a little kiddy pool if you have one handy! Keep doing exactly what you're doing, be patient, loving and supportive while still being consistent and fair with your rules because he's making some good strides! It's common for some rescues to not want to let you out of their sight for an instant at first but it's a good sign that he's starting to relax about it some! It sounds like you're doing a G-R-E-A-T job with him!!

~~ JennyB, Horsefeathers

Sydney_bitless said...

Poor old man, finally hes gonna have a loving home.

achieve1dream said...

I wouldn't worry about the snorting after drinking. My husky does that and always has when she gets a drink. I thought maybe her teeth bothered her and the cold water hurt, but I got her teeth checked and they are fine.

That's so sad all the evidence that he was mistreated. I'm glad he found you guys because he deserves so much better than what he's had up until now.

I'm not surprised he doesn't know how to play. So many people get dogs and then toss them in the backyard where they never get trained, socialized or played with. He'll learn in time. :)

Katie said...

aw poor little guy! I get so sad when I hear stories such as this. I'm so glad he has found a great home with you, he is such a cutie!

Cheryl Ann said...

Thank goodness he now has a good home! He probably needs a lot of rest after all his previous experiences! Poor old guy!

Stacey said...

Wow, that is so sad about all the issues you have found. Poor guy sounds like he has had a rough life. I'm so happy for him that you found him! I'm looking forward to the post about what the vet will find.

Leah Fry said...

What a little cutie! Our two little rescued ratweasels also have issues. Like Scrappy, we can't pick either of them up without supporting their bottoms. Both have "collapsed esophagus" where they occasionaly have some sort of spasm that causes them to sound like they are rasping for breath. We assume this is from someone yanking them along on a choke chain. Their little paws are incredibly delicate and you really have to watch to not step on them.

He'll come around. He's probably sleeping a lot because he's relaxed enough to do so. It speaks well of your home.

lytha said...

i must also say that he's lucky to have found you. i feel so bad about his past but at least his now is good.

it's hard to tell how small he is in the photos. i'm glad he is adapting to his new life, which must be heaven in comparison!


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Only a year, huh? After my knee surgery and broken knee, it's taken me almost two years to feel somewhat back to normal again. In fact I don't know if I will ever feel normal in my left leg. bah!
Surgery and injuries really stink...especially the older we get.

Poor old sweet Scrappy. He reminds me of my Dobbie, except that she's only 3 yrs old. She wants nothing more than to sleep beside me all day long, but when we go outside and walk up to the barn, she loves to run, run, run! She can outrun our GSD, Zuni. Her legs literally stretch out like she's flying.
She also zips around like a wild thing after a bath, too.
She was nervous about baths at first, though. Considering that she was kept in a cage for the first two years of her life and probably never had a bath, I'm not surprised. But now she really likes all the attention and rubbing that goes on in there.

I think it's sad that there are people who abuse animals. They must think they are tough and brave, but I think they are weak cowards for picking on something smaller and weaker than they are.