February 19th, 2017 was my first time at an animal shelter. You'll read about that experience in a subsequent post. It was rewarding and heartbreaking at the same time, but the standout image for me was an emaciated black Pittie who slowly crept up to the front of his kennel when we stopped by. The kennel card stated that this dog had been at the shelter for 5 weeks. He was picked up as a stray and estimated at 5 years old. They had named him Spike. Which I hated.
He was SO skinny it almost hurt to look at him, underweight by double digits to say the least. You could see every rib, every vertebrae in his backbone and tail. And in addition, his torso and back were covered with bald spots, scabs and a thick dusting of dandruff and skin flakes. He epitomized pain, suffering and neglect.
But not his eyes. His eyes were these liquid amber pools of mellow sweetness mixed with resigned defeat and sadness. In spite of his physical discomfort, he was trying his best to say hello. I physically felt the need to hug him. But at that point, we were just there to note the dogs that we wanted to pull first thing Tuesday morning, so we left but took pictures and his info.
Tuesday rolled around. It was organized, energetic chaos. We were pulling 7 or 8 dogs who all needed to be cataloged, sterilized and shoved through the system so we could take them home the next day. It took hours. But at one point I pulled Roland, the Wags & Walks Adoption Specialist, over to Mr. Skinny Man's kennel. Roland saw right through the dirt and grime and requested a meet and greet. The poor pup needed help even getting out of his kennel and could barely hobble to the enclosed play area. From here he passed with flying colors. He relished Roland's touch and just oozed sweetness. Here are photos from his first time out with us:
My closest friends and husband sometimes call me Mamma Boshae (Boshae is my maiden name). I don't have any kids. You'd have to ask them for an in depth analysis, but I think its because sometimes this overprotective, care taking instinct takes me over and I start bossing people around to get things done for the best interest of some thing or another. I totally Mamma Boshae'd out all over that shelter until Mr. Skinny's paperwork was in the system and he was officially in Wags & Walks custody. I was NOT leaving him behind.
Normally, when someone pulls a dog from the shelter, they put in their request and pay, but then leave the dog to get spayed or neutered. California law requires this before any dog can be adopted from a rescue or shelter. However, if a dog has a medical condition, the shelter will NOT perform any medical procedure on them, and the adopter must take the animal immediately. This happened with Mr. Skinny. His kennel card cited his 'only medical condition' as being underweight. It was pretty obvious that there was bigger issues with his skin, but we kind of assumed that because he was in Gen Pop with other dogs, it must not have been severe or contagious.
SOOOOO Mamma Boshae here loads him up, takes him home and gets him ready for a bath and a big cuddle fest! Thank God I had enough sense to keep him separated from Olive and Petal....but my doggie lovin' heart just couldn't help but pet him and love on him. Poor guy, now named Jordan, had been through so much that I couldn't wait one more minute to show him affection.
Let's just cut past the 12 hours that I had him in our bathroom for a bath and in our garage den on our couch surrounded in 100 blankets with me and my husband cozied up on either side of him....to the part where the vet tells me he has highly contagious, can-be-transmitted-to-humans Sarcoptic Mange that lives and is transmitted through fabric and skin-to-skin contact. Just Google it. I did. Bad idea.
I can almost see the mites setting up camp in those blankets!
The next morning was a whirlwind of getting Jordan to the vet to be quarantined, trying to find a steam cleaner to come immediately to sanitize our entire house, doing damage control with my husband and trying to actually be effective at my real job that pays me real money...all while trying to get back to the shelter at 3pm so I could bring home another foster.
But you know what? Even if I had known what I was in for, it wouldn't have changed a thing. Jordan needed saving.
Dogs. When you love 'em, you love 'em! Highly contagious Scabies and all.
Beginning 2/23/2017, The Gentle Pit's give back donations will all go towards helping Jordan become healthy and well, until he can find his forever home!
To learn more, please contact The Gentle Pit or Wags & Walks of Los Angeles. www.wagsandwalks.org