Lulu – April, 2014

Lulu came to us at Christmas time in 2004.

She had been dumped in a night drop box at a shelter in Woodland. She came with a note – “blind, does not like other dogs”.

A plea went out to volunteers to spring her from boarding at the vet, where she had been spayed. A few people replied saying they could do it after the holidays. Since we are retired, have a quiet home and weren’t hosting Christmas that year, we decided we could keep her until after New Years. We had 6 back up offers to move her at that point.

She was very sick, with kennel cough that had gone into pneumonia, more fleas than I have EVER seen on a dog and teeth almost as dark as her brindle fur. She was small and very skinny at 33 lbs. She had been aged at 3-4 by the vets but we thought she was even older. She had (juvenile) cataracts and joints distorted with arthritis.

For the first week she was very quiet……sleeping, taking med and eating 4 small meals a day.

She soon felt better and decided to “take over”. We had a big male at the time – Mack was about 4 and tried to make friends with the scrawny little girl that kept bumping into him. He brought her toys, went into a play bow but she was mean, nasty and hateful. We learned all about breaking up dog fights.

Eventually she figured out the big fawn boy was pretty nice, had home-cooked food and beds all over the house. One morning she walked up to him with the big blue octopus and they became playmates. Tug a war, chase, head banging and mouth wrestling.

The holidays were over by then but one by one all the back-up foster homes had reasons they could not take her.

She stayed with us, got healthier and settled in….but no one applied to adopt her. Eventually there were whispers about putting her to sleep. My husband, who was never thrilled with me fostering stepped up and said we should adopt her. We would give her a soft place to lay her head until her time came………Boy did she fool us! Turns out she was probably under a year old and “her time” didn’t come for over ten more years.

She was a character, known around the house as the brat because she was SO stubborn, wore her heart on her sleeve and was always ready to let you know if she didn’t want to do something. She gave us the exquisite gift of trust…….listen to our chatter, knowing we would keep her safe from tripping,falling or crashing into something.

She went to school for “show and tell” with our youngest grandchild who was in 2nd grade. She did a great job of representing a rescue dog starting out as a homeless, sick being and became “Princess of Quite a Lot”.

She had fans all over the place who were amazed at her abilities, how spunky she was and was comfortable wherever she was. She snuggled many other foster dogs in our home, usually puppies or emaciated dogs. She is “published” having a fable I wrote about her included in a book about happy endings for rescue dogs. She sent out pawtographed pictures to all who asked.

About 3 years ago she developed glaucoma (common in dogs with cataracts). She was in pain and since she had always been blind we opted to remove her eyes. That did slow her down a bit as she’d been able to see light and dark. But she was also becoming a senior and not so wild and crazy.

In the past 3 months she developed a funny cough – like a dog with hair in her throat. It very slowly progressed causing us to worry it might be her heart or a tumor “in there somewhere”.

It did turn out to be a large tumor between her heart and lungs, pressing on her trachea. We opted for no heroic intervention, put her on Rimadyl twice a day and promised her we would NOT let her suffer. My mantra has always been :one day to soon better than one day to late”. The vet said she probably had 2-3 months left. She felt better for several days, sleeping almost constantly but comfortable. One week from her diagnosis she was up all night pacing and panting but not coughing. I knew she was in pain.

We were at the vets at 7 AM as they opened and tearfully held her as the kind staff gave her a sedative and then the “pink poison” injection that let her rest.

I got one last smile from her when we got home…….I went into the backyard and saw she had dug a BIG hole in the night… bad as she felt.

I had made her favorite food the night before – mackerel meat loaf. This morning, feeling hungry even though in pain, she demanded breakfast. I am so glad she had mackerel meat loaf for her last dinner and breakfast. She loved that stinky stuff.

I just hope they are ready for her at the Rainbow Bridge as she has high standards, is demanding and will try to take over.

We are content, knowing she is at rest and have so many memories of the “mean little throw away blind dog” no one wanted. We were loved.

Luna – A Christmas Fable

The little soul, one day to become Luna, scampered like a good puppy soul to that line and waited…and waited…and waited. By the time it was “her turn” – it was Friday of a three day week-end, the assemblers were tired, had plans to get outta heaven for the week-end and go camping. They thought they had finished and were closing down the shop.

“Little Soul #8265” peeked over the workbench with a happy smile because FINALLY it was HER turn!

“What!!” grumbled the foreman of the Boxer puppy assemblers, “looks like we have one more to finish before we can leave”. So everyone scrambled to the parts box and grabbed everything that was left……not the best of the parts, but purebred Boxer parts, that’s for sure.

And so the little soul was created, she didn’t know her parts didn’t fit together quite correctly – she only knew that now she was now a full-fledged Boxer puppy. They had painted her with a lot of black paint. They had used up almost all the fawn paint, and all the white paint…so she got lucky and got mostly shiny black paint, a few milk chocolate drizzles of fawn and just a little white for her toes and chest. She got through the inspection line because she was SO shiny and pretty, they said she was a “reverse brindle”. The inspectors (who also wanted to go home for a 3 day weekend) passed her and didn’t check all her “parts”.

Next stop for this sweet Boxer puppy soul was the line where they hand out temperament and personality. As fate would have it, they had just started a new shift and had a box HEAPING with those things – the workers on this line were all fairy Godmothers, who were happy to stay and work overtime and get holiday pay while they visited and inserted “feelings” into the Boxer puppy souls. Guess who got heaping, liberal amounts of gentleness, sweetness and house manners? You’re right – it was little Luna (the fairy godmothers were calling her “Little Lulu”)

After they passed her around for lots of Fairy Godmother hugs and kisses they put her onto the conveyor belt where she was whisked down to earth.

A family who were looking for a Boxer puppy came to inspect the litter Luna was born into……she was petite with HUGE eyes and beautiful shiny brindle coloring. They decided to take her home and call her their family pet.

Luna was a good puppy (one can only imagine) was easy to housebreak and learned it completely. The family didn’t spend much time with Luna, didn’t work on training very much (because, let’s face it she had such a wonderful temperament – she was “good” most of the time.) While they were not paying much attention to her, her front legs started to grow a little differently (remember…she didn’t have the correct parts to begin with). Also one of her hips was not sitting just perfect…..and her eyes…..finally someone noticed she couldn’t see like the other dogs in the neighborhood. They were big and black but they also looked like they had waxed paper in there – someone used the word “cataract”. Lulu didn’t know what that meant and went on her merry way, sometimes bumping into things and just ricocheting off in right direction eventually.

Her family……the ones that told everyone she was “the family pet” decided that she couldn’t stay with them anymore because she wasn’t perfect. One dark night, they drove to a shelter that had a night drop-box and “dropped” her.

Some nice people heard about her, rescued her and took her to a vet where she was spayed, given her shots but not much else. There was not a foster home for her…so she had to spend a LONG time being boarded there (actually it was several days, but seemed like FOREVER to Luna).

Soon, the nice rescue people put out a “Christmas alert” to find Luna a warm place for the holidays. There was a rescue home that had a Nana and a Poppi and a big Boxer boy – 6 yrs old. They said their Christmas shopping was done, the tree was decorated and they didn’t have anything planned for the holidays…….and that is how Luna came to be in their home.

Luna’s foster family could see that her parts weren’t quite right and she could see only light. They also saw that she was very sick, had a bad cold (kennel cough) was VERY skinny, withdrawn and afraid. They made a nice soft bed for her in a crate, fed her yummy food 3 times a day and gave her medicine for the KC. Soon she started to feel better and noticed there was another dog in the home. She could only “sense” he was there and was afraid….there were strange barking, growling dogs around her when she was kenneled at the vet hospital and it worried her night and day. So, you can see why she didn’t trust this big fawn boy that lived with the nice people. She decided she would give him “what for” to let him know she was a tough cookie and he’d better just “LEAVE HER ALONE”!!! They had some fights, and though the big fawn boy was a nice guy…he didn’t like being growled at and pushed around by a skinny little girl who bumped into him all the time.

Christmas came and went, Luna went on errands in the car with the nice people and decided that she loved riding in the car, it was safe and warm and she could be a good girl and wait for the nice people to finish their errands while she napped. The house had some children visiting and Luna was beside herself with joy and love, also the grown-ups they brought were wonderful too. The nice people mostly kept Luna and the big fawn boy separated because it didn’t seem like she was going to want anything to do with him. Oh….she didn’t mind going for walks with him, the nice people took her for two walks everyday. And they had a good time outdoors.

Luna heard people talking about “New Year’s resolutions” and tried to figure out what that was all about. Seems the people around here were going to “try to do better” in the New Year. Luna was so happy to be with this nice family, she decided she would try to “do better” as well. The big fawn boy seemed to be quite important to them, and he was kinda cute, and had a lot of nice toys as well as soft comfy beds (one even had a heater!) She made up her mind that this was the thing she could be better at – getting along with the big fawn boy. She got up the next morning, got a blue octopus out of the toy box (cuz she knew her way around the little house by now) shook it, flipped it and walked up next to the big fawn boy to see if he might like to play tug of war…..he wasn’t too sure – every time he had offered her a toy, she had growled and snapped at him…..but he was a very patient boy and decided to give it a try. And they played, and played and played. They boxed, they body slammed and head butted. When they got worn out from that they laid on the carpet gnawing on each other’s faces and neck. The nice Nana and Poppi were SO happy at this behavior….she decided THAT was the perfect New Year’s resolution for her…..and she did it!