|I always keep one of these in the car, along with some water and some dog treats.|
My husband has asked me, no begged me, not to take on any more rescues. Currently, we can afford to care for the rescued horses, dogs, and poultry we have along with our alpacas. However, my husband has been watching trends. The farm vet, the equine vets who will each come out to the house cost more than they did a couple of years ago. The small animal vet, where we take the dogs has also increased their charges. As I drove home Friday, I was pained to see a dog lying in the road about a mile from our farm on the curvy mountain road. I stopped to see if she'd been hit. I am fairly friendly with the farmer nearby. They also rescue animals on occasion, but wouldn't be doing so, this time. They had a new baby and with their other children, their hands were quite full. They had called the pound and they would be there sometime later in the day. I knew that the local pound would euthanize her. In the last year or so,in our area, rescue groups will collect purebreds, immunize them and then adopt them out for often a $500. fee. Pitbulls, beagles, and hounds, which are common here. would not be so lucky, and would probably be euthanized in a week or so.
I took a look at her and determined that she had not been hit. She had no collar and the pads on her feet were quite swollen. She was quite thin, even more thin than hunting dogs are supposed to be. My neighbor the farmer said that at the end of each hunting season, some hunters simply remove the collar, release the elderly or ineffective animals to fend for themselves. They survive or they die. This is a foolish and barbaric practice in a place where rabies is endemic, and wolves and coyotes are plentiful and run free. My friend the farmer had fed and watered her earlier in the day. I threw a disposable bed liner on the floor of the passenger side of my car and tried to coax her there. Most dogs listen to me. She allowed me to gently lift her into the car, and then she fell asleep.
I thought my husband wound be angry when he arrived to find I had set up a dog house in the shade, some distance from my other dogs in order to quarantine them from her. I thought we would take care of her immediate needs, pay for a vet visit or two and then locate a new home for her ourselves, no matter how long it took. My husband was unusually sympathetic to this elderly female hound who seemed bewildered yet a bit more animated when he arrived. I took this to mean that she had been owned by a man.
I fed her small amounts several times each day over the weekend. I have placed the appropriate liquid dressing on the pads of her feet. Today, I will speak with the pound and ensure that no one is looking for a dog fitting this description. I will tell them I have her, and they might issue me some adoption papers and provide me a discount certificate for spaying. I will also need to take her for a rabies shot and a heartworm test. I will give her a distemper-hepatitis-leptospirosis-parainfluenza and parvovirus shot myself as I do the other animals in my kennel. If she is heartworm negative, I will begin heartworm preventive.
Once the dog was hydrated again, she could feel how sore her pads really were. She yelped when she had to stand to drink or to eat, or when I took her for a short walk to urinate or defecate. She doesn't know how to walk on a leash. It's possible that as a hunting dog, that she never has.
My husband has been fairly attentive to her. He made several stops over the weekend to check on her and make sure she was cool enough and comfortable, despite the fact that he knew I was visiting her on a particular schedule. He even made a trip to Wal-Mart to buy her, soft food of her very own. I think this old girl is going to need a name. I don't think I am going to need to work very hard to locate a home for her. I think she has already found one.
Update: July 24, 2016 "Miss Penny" has been seen by the vet, given a rabies shot, had a heartworm test and has begun monthly heartworm preventive. She had no collar and has no microchip. She will likely spend the rest of her days here on the farm under our care.