Tuesday, November 18, 2008

We Need This Like We Need A Hole In The Head

But she's just SO DARNED sweet!


She found us Sunday while we were hiking in a state park in CaliFORnia's GOLD (LOL) country and followed us up and over the 2+ miles with a elevation gain of about 500 feet. She had no tags or collar, was hungry/thirsty/skunky and covered in fleas and ticks. We made a makeshift collar and leash out of a strap from Ron's backpack and she seemed thrilled. She eagerly jumped into the car (I can't believe Ron let a stinky/tick-ridled dog in his BMW - LOL), curled up on Ron's jacket and totally passed out on the ride home.

We got her home and immediately saw that she was not fixed; she started having some blood-tinged discharge on Sunday night and ... yep, she was just starting to go into the beginnings of a heat. I was irked at the irresponsibility and Ron was getting pissy, but he still spent 3 hours looking for lost doggie postings on the interwebs' usual suspects: the Bee, Craig's List, etc., etc. (NUTHIN'). My neighbor, Ralyn who is half of another couple without human children but with plenty of furbabies, and I eradicated most of the skunk smell and all of the ticks (eww!). Then I got her tummy full of some good quality food. She slept VERY well Sunday night. On me.
In her "lady pants"
Here's a picture of her in her "lady pants" as Paula from Lakeside Veterinary calls them - much better than "diapers!"

I took her to the vet first thing Monday morning to scan for a microchip but, as I suspected, NUTHIN' once again. Now I was getting a little pissy and Ron was getting angry, but I still posted a "found dog" flyer at the post office of the little gold mining town. Jacks are known for bolting and even the best pet owners have lost a pet once or twice. Yesterday afternoon and last night she had some nightmares - hyperventilating and whimpering in her sleep, but she recovers quickly once she wakes up.

Today I took her to the vet for an actual exam since they were swamped on Monday. He thinks she's "youngish," he guessed about two. Of course, everybody there LOVED her - she was perfect even during her exam! We got a closer look at her neck: what I thought was a rash or irritation from fleas/ticks or a once-upon-a-time too-tight collar turned out to be thick scarring from a bark collar. Now I know these collars can be and are often used safely and humanely, but Jacks are notorious for needing mental and physical stimulation or they'll create their own. You can't use a bark collar in place of regular training and exercise (ever, but especially with high energy, smart, working dogs). How neglected was this doggie to end up with such huge calloused scars on her neck? I started to tear up right there in the vet's office and went from pissy to a combination of heartbroken and outraged. When I told Ron, he was completely furious. I doubt very much that whoever "lost" this awesome little bundle of love is going to want her back, but if they do, they're going to have to deal with Ron, me, his friends and coworkers, a lot of angry punk rockers, animal rights activists and weight lifters.

So it looks like it's official. We now have a dog. As Allyson said, I unwittingly asked the universe for a dog by loving on her black lab Lulu so much. Even two of the three cats have accepted her - I awoke at 4:30am last night to find a dog sleeping at my feet and Finnegan on my chest with Mouse nearby on her "momma kitty." Gracie on the other hand keeps acting like prey and running which sets off the chase instinct in the little Jack Russell Terrier brain. Positive reinforcement training started today - we'll be rewarding every time she DOESN'T go after a kitty when there's an opportunity.

There's really only one outstanding problem: the universe may have sent us a dog, but it's taking its sweet-ass time about sending her name along!

UPDATE!

We have a possible contender, Nyssa. It comes from Hebrew Nysa which means "to test" (perfect for a Jack Russell) and Nissa is a feminine name of Scandinavian origin ("a friendly elf"). Also, Nyssa was one of the companions The Doctor picked up during his travels. It all seems appropriate, so we're going to let her try it on for a few days and see what happens.

UPDATED UPDATE!

Her name is Abby. No reason - she just looks like one.