A couple of people have suggested that I start a blog about my experiences with my recently adopted rescue dog, Wheaton. Maybe it’s because my experiences may help others….or, more likely, it’s because they’re sick of all my Facebook posts?!
Wheaton is about 4 years old. He is a pure bred Maltese terrier. He’s about 9 pounds. And he is scared of everything. EVERYTHING.
You see…those 4 years were spent in a tiny, filthy, feces encrusted wire cage and the only time he was “handled” was whenever it was time for him to “earn his keep”. He was a stud at a puppy mill. But not a very good stud, for many reasons, of which I will share with you shortly.
Let me share a bit of my pre-Wheaton story first….
I already had a dog. The perfect dog. Daisy. My soul companion, best friend, camping & hiking buddy, cuddle bug, fur baby…etc. She’s 8 years old. She is a Maltese/ShihTzu/Poodle cross. She is not a rescue. She was one of three pups in a litter from my Dad’s dogs…sorry folks…the dogs were both neutered after the litter.
It’s been me and her against the world for 8 years. She’s warned me of bad dates…FYI – if you bring a date home and your dog doesn’t like him…listen to the dog!! She’s licked my tears when relationships have ended. She greets me at the door with such joy and love that any bad day is history! I love her as if she was a human baby I gave birth to. If you invite me over my answer is usually, “sure…can I bring Daisy?”.
I toyed with the idea of bringing a second dog into our lives. How would it change our dynamic? Would Daisy be jealous? Would Daisy change? Would the other dog fit into our routine? So many questions!! Seriously. It was a process that took YEARS! I think Daisy was 4 the first time I went to meet a potential addition. I’m allergic to most dogs so I have to be careful. I went to do a meet and greet with a lovely rescued Basset Hound a couple years ago and was covered in hives within 10 minutes.
So yes, this whole second dog thing has been a huge ongoing issue. Daisy and I have a system, a routine. I am a dog’s dream human…I love routine! I thrive best when I have a system and dogs are routine animals. We mix it up a bit but our foundation for the basics like walks, meals & bed is pretty routine.
A second dog could change that! Could “ruin” that! Could upset the system!! So that was probably the energy I was bringing to every meet & greet. No wonder finding our second dog wasn’t working!
Then I saw a picture of Wheaton on the page of one of the rescue organizations I follow on Facebook. Free and Alive Rescue (FAAR) had been down to a puppy mill/breeder auction in Missouri. They brought back 15 dogs that were in bad shape from years of breeding, abuse and neglect. “Stock” that isn’t of use to the breeder anymore. Some of the dogs on auction get bought and put back into the breeding system again…same shit, new cage. But the dogs that FAAR bids on are the ones that, if not bought on the auction stage, well they probably get taken out back after and shot. Disgusting environment. Horrifying. More on that another time.
Wheaton cost them $10 US. He was young for an auction dog….at first they thought 2 but his dental proved him to be about 4. Dental was actually more about all the teeth he had to have pulled out because they were rotting and abscessed. Adult dogs have 42 teeth….Wheaton had 29 of those pulled. Surprisingly 10 were pulled by a vet while he was still in the breeding environment…shocker that they did anything, who knows if it was actually surgically done? He had 19 more pulled once he got to Winnipeg. The vet clinic that treats the FAAR rescue dogs said that his ear infections were the worst they had seen. Both ears impacted with so much pus and gunk…with two different infections. We (the rescue & I) had to treat it 3 times before it finally got better. He also had an umbilical hernia. Oh and his nails had grown so long some were growing into his foot pads. No wonder he wasn’t “performing”….he was in pain from head to tail. And to top it off, at some point in his cage life, his tail had been broken.
The lovely vets at Tuxedo Animal Hospital fixed him up. They neutered him, and, while under anesthetic they clipped his nails, cleaned his ears out, pulled those 19 rotten teeth, repaired the hernia and cut his matted fur. He was put on some anxiety medication and he was good to go to a foster and await an adoption to his forever home.
I saw him in the picture above. This scruffy, scared mess of a dog. And I knew I had to meet him.
He came to our house for a meet & greet on November 9th, 2014. I knew he was our dog when he came out of his travel kennel, terrified of humans but ready to play with Daisy! We sat back and watched him try to engage with her. She wasn’t sure what to make of him but she was curious.
He cowered every time a human came close to him. He scuttled to a corner and stood on his hind legs if you approached to touch or catch him….probably from years of trying to hide in the back corner of a cage to not get caught…I think I know how his tail got broken…it was probably the easiest thing to grab.
Our first evening was interesting. He had a diaper/pad belt on because he’s not house broken. He needed a bath but I was told he freaked out in the tub…so I decided that I would take him into the tub with me. He doesn’t mind a bath…he just HATES the slippery tub! I held him and washed him and cut some more of his matted fur. I thought “if I’m going to cuddle this dog, he has got to smell better”!!! That night I put him in his kennel to sleep. I left a nightlight on for him and went to bed. 15 minutes later he barked. He did not want to be in that kennel. So I took him out and made a spot for him on my bed.
It was a 24 hour play date to get to know him….it carried on through that weekend.
He never left! I started the adoption process two days later.
Next…..how Wheaton handles home life.