September 01, 2010

Oops! Accidental rescue?

In rescue, as in everything, accidents sometimes happen. Not all of them are bad.

"Mommy" Zoey was an accidental rescue and from one day to the next, she is an accident waiting to happen, yet I can't help loving her. She is such a klutzy, ditzy, OCD, ADHD little dog who just happens to be a Jack, not a Rat.

Zoey's rescue request came from a east-central Kansas shelter, asking if Ratbone could take this female Rat Terrier, maybe 4-5 years old. The picture that came with the request was not very good but in a weak moment, instead of asking for better photos, I said I would take her since she could be transported to me.

Zoey was able to ride the CARE bus across Kansas with a bunch of Colorado bound rescues. When the bus arrived and the door was open, imagine my surprise when the only terrier I saw was a clearly Jack Russell Terrier. Even more surprising was when the driver proceeded to unload this stocky, big headed girl for me. Oops!

In rescue, when you go to pick up a dog from a shelter, if the face to face meeting is a big surprise, you have the option to walk away. Not to say this is an easy thing, once you are face to face with a sad little shelter dog, it is almost impossible to leave without that dog. When it arrives on a transport bus however, there are not many options, so Zoey came home with me.

Zoey did not have puppies when she went to the shelter, she did not have them after she arrived here and thanks to my vet, she will not have pups in the future but for some reason I found myself calling her "Mommy". Of course, what I call her doesn't matter that much as she usually has too much on her mind to pay attention to me anyway. With time she had begun to realize I am addressing her when I yell "MOMMY!" but responding depends on what else is going on around her.

Mommy's first discovery was that TOADS are easy prey. No matter what anyone says about how bad they taste and how they make you drool and foam when you put them in your mouth, Mommy knows they don't move very fast and they are soft, like big marshmallows. She persists in slaughtering any toad that dares to enter the yard. For a while, there was a regular population on the shady, north side of the house, between our fence and the neighbor's fence. Every so often, one would come under the fence. Mommy became so obsessed with these creatures that she would spend hours pacing the fence, looking under the boards and through the cracks for another victim.

Then, her obsession lead to her first major accident. In her drive to capture toads, Mommy forced her head through a small, chewed out spot at the bottom of the fence and got stuck. Now, every other dog in this house is a Rat Terrier and Rats are great at "pack" activities. This includes going in for the attack when offered injured "prey". With her head stuck under the fence and her butt defenseless, Mommy was fair game. Before she escaped from the neck hold the fence had on her, she had been bitten on all 4 legs by her evil Ratty siblings.

I suspect mommy saw the "bright light" before she got to the vet. She was in pretty rough shape, having caused a large tear in the skin on the base of her skull. There was also tissue damage so as a few days passed, the injury looked even worse as damaged skin sloughed off, leaving a open wound with bared flesh, an inch wide and three inches long. For a few days, she wore a sock around her head when she went outside to keep flies from attacking the open.

Amazingly, as she regained her strength and began to heal, the skin drew together, eventually closing up completely, leaving only a line of scar at the back of her head. As the hair grows in, you can barely tell she was injured.

Well before she healed up, she was already pursuing her next obsession, the birds in my flight cage. She now fancies herself a Pointer. She held this point for nearly 5 minutes, until the bird climbed to the top of the cage.

This week, she discovered the neighbor's Pygmy Goat!