Thursday, September 20, 2012

Missing the Good Old Dog

I saw this picture on Facebook and it made me cry. It's been three months since we lost Logan. I thought I was past the tears. I guess not. I miss my old dog.

Logan wasn't always an old dog. When we first met he was young and full of life. I was working at the county animal shelter and he had been picked up running at large. I was responsible for cleaning the dog runs. I would try to hose out his cage but he kept biting at the water. After ten minutes his cage would still be dirty and he would be soaking wet. I got fussed at for taking too long to clean. Eventually I discovered that the dog was friendly, so I could pull him out on a leash and tie him to the wall while I cleaned his cage. He had a lot of personality and I found myself returning to his cage when I had a free moment. I fed him ham through the bars and we became fast friends. I often wondered why nobody claimed him. When his hold time was up 10 days later I said that I wanted to adopt him.

Logan at Animal Control. He looked so sad.
The vet staff found problems while working him up for adoption. Apparently the dog was older than they had originally thought. He wasn't 3 years old; instead, he was somewhere between 5 and 7. Even worse, he was heartworm positive. The vet said his infestation was moderate to severe. And to top it all off, it looked like he had been eating rocks because his front teeth were badly worn. The vet tech felt that the dog was not a good candidate for adoption and tried to talk me out of my decision. But he was such a good dog; I couldn't imagine letting him die. Hubby was very supportive. He said "So we may not have as much time with him as we'd like. We'll just have to make the most of what we have." See why I married him?!

I called in every favor I could to bring this dog home. The shelter vet agreed to do the heartworm treatment (a $600 value) but I had to take him home and put weight on him first -- he was about 20 pounds underweight. Also, I would need to have my private vet check his liver and kidneys (he was fine). Lastly, if the dog died from the heartworm treatment the shelter wasn't refunding the adoption fee. Still, I was thrilled! I was finally getting the German shepherd I had been dreaming of for 25 years. Mom was so happy she sent me his adoption fee as an early birthday present. I chose the name Logan for two nerdy reasons.
  1. Logan was Wolverine's name (from the X-Men). And like Wolverine, this handsome guy had a mysterious past.
  2. The situation reminded me of the old sci-fi movie Logan's Run where Michael York escaped imminent death.
Logan strong, healthy and gorgeous.
In my professional life I instruct people on adding a dog to the family. I tell them:
  • Everybody in the family (including other dogs) should meet the dog to make sure there is a good fit.
  • Introduce the new dog to the current dog(s) on neutral territory to avoid conflict.
  • If at all possible, have the dog temperament tested.
  • Do not bring home the first dog you see, instead try to be objective.
Yeah, right. I didn't do ANY of it. Fortunately, he was a great dog -- despite my faux pas. He walked beautifully on a leash, never got on the furniture and had no aggression issues. We nursed him back to health and had him for a good seven years. I still miss him. -- K