A few weeks ago, we adopted a rescue dog – an almost-two-year-old miniature Schnauzer. Our first decision revolved around choosing a new name. Pepper was his given name. Given his pepper-colored coat, it was apropos but for us, just too blasé. We ran through a litany of male names when “Ike” came to mind. Somehow, it just seemed to fit and then we realized he could be a mascot for our online news source, the Bluffton Icon. Ike the Icon – yeah, sounds sort of corny, eh?
We’d been told he’d “had a flea problem”, which apparently accounted for the buzz cut but didn’t explain why he’d been given no flea meds since June. It was time for Ike’s first trip to our vet.
Fleas. Yes, fleas. This is like being told your child has lice. Eeek. The vet assured us every dog she’d seen that day had had fleas. Small comfort. So we administered the flea meds as instructed – comforted by the vet’s reassurance that the fleas would be dead within hours. Still, we went into a cleaning frenzy. Washed linens and throw rugs, shampooed the carpet in the family room (the rest of the house has wood floors), scrubbed upholstery – spring cleaning…except it was fall. Sure enough…by morning the fleas were gone and Ike had quit scratching thanks to a round of prednisone.
I mentioned this to a coworker who also has a rescue dog. His comment? “Rescue dogs sometimes come with baggage.”
I should have taken this as a warning. A few days later while doing doggy doo doo duty, I noticed something white and it was….moving??? Ugh. Worms. Another call to the vet – they just laughed and said we could pick up the quickie fix – little bone-shaped pills. Ike, who usually refuses treats of any sort, chewed both and looked up for more. Go figure.
Two days later…no more worms. By this time, the poor little guy is convinced he’s been consigned to the house of torture and is no longer sure he trusts us.
This became ever so apparent when, a few days ago, my husband called to say he was on his way to pick me up from work. Silly me. I went down to the parking lot, discovered it was raining, and foolishly began heading toward home, assuming he would be there soon. When it became obvious that wasn’t going to happen, I took shelter under the porch overhang of our PR office. Still no Fred. I called. BIG mistake.
“I’m chasing YOUR ##** dog!” was his response – about 100 decibels louder than usual. He showed up 30 minutes later, disheveled, soaked to the skin, and oh so NOT happy. Apparently, Ike had seen an open door, shot through and rain down our street, up Kibler to Main, crossed Main and he (with the help of two other men) caught him about a mile from home on Railroad Street.
Man and dog didn’t speak for about 24 hours. Eventually, they made up. Literally. I learned later from the aforementioned coworker that taking off like this is typical behavior of rescue pets. Ike hasn’t yet accepted our house as “home”.
Oh, but that wasn’t the last trip to the vet. The worst was yet to come, probably sufficient evidence for him to remain skeptical of us. Two days after his escape, he got to spend the day with the vet. This one was scheduled, thanks to another faux pas of his previous owners. Nearly two and he’d never been neutered. One testicle had never descended after birth, so he was at higher risk for cancer. Additionally, his dew claws were loose and needed to be removed.
So…..under the knife (er, laser) went Ike. The husband, having fetched Ike from the vet, reported by phone that he was just standing there, stunned and staring. No steps or walking (or running away from home) for two weeks. Pain pills had been administered. When I arrived home, there he half sat/half stood on his footstool, looking stunned.
I imagined that he felt like I did after my C-sections, shivering from the pain pills or from the pain. Stitches in the abdomen just are not comfortable. Oddly, though he refused his usual food, he downed half of a jar of Peaches’ cat treats. I half expected him to meow.
He and I sat on the rocking chair for an hour, his head resting on the chair arm so he could watch the trick or treaters as they posed for photos in our outdoor studio. We both fell asleep, exhausted from our collective days.
I assume he slept all night – no yips filtered up the stairs even when we got up to walk. This morning, he agreed to one slow lap around the house to relieve himself, sniff noses with Thor, the giant black lab next door, tolerate one “welcome home” swat from Peaches, and back in to chug down another pain pill and sleep away the day.
As someone said, the result of this will be one of two things – either he’ll realize this is now home or he’ll be convinced it IS the house of torture and lie in wait for the nearest open door. If you see a tiny miniature Schnauzer with a Mohawk running down the street, grab him! And please, please don’t mention the upcoming teeth cleaning.