Greta has thoughts about sharing her home and life with another dog. Her thoughts run along the lines of, “Son of a human! What did I do to deserve this?”
Greta makes a good point that she wasn’t consulted on the matter. I don’t speak Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever fluently enough to ask her if she wanted a little brother.
(Greta’s voice in background: “He’s more like a bother than a brother. And no, I didn’t want one. I was perfectly happy being an only dog.”)
Rusty’s entry into our lives was sparked in a way by Patches’ exit.
Patches, the calico cat with a talent for doing whatever she wished, was already a member of the household when Greta arrived seven years ago. When they met, Greta did what any self-respecting dog would do. She chased the cat.
Patches leaped to the top bunk in the back bedroom and glared down at the intruder. She meowed. Greta barked. Eventually, they worked out an accommodation. Patches came down from the bunk bed. Greta lunged forward. The cat unsheathed her claws and clawed the air in front of the dog. Greta dropped back and Patches was able to stroll unimpeded to her food dish.
There were occasional clashes after that, but for the most part, they agreed to a Palestinian/Israeli standoff. There were even thaws in the relationship when dog and cat were able to share the dining room rug for naps. Once in a while, Patches sneaked outdoors, and Greta looked on enviously as the cat scaled the back fence and disappeared into the freedom of the neighbors’ yard. Luckily for Patches, and for the sanity of the humans who didn’t want to lose her, she never roamed beyond two back yards.
Patches was 11 years old when she fell sick. The diagnosis was cancer. With treatment, she might have lived another month. It would have been cruel to put her through that.
Greta could not have understood why Patches went away one day in her cat carrier and did not return. But she understood that Patches was no longer around. I don’t know if Greta thought the house was too quiet. I did.
We had a visitor dog one day, a miniature poodle who thinks he is a Great Dane, or maybe a Saint Bernard. He was a prospective adoptee, but first I had to know how Greta would react.
She responded well. She allowed him to sniff around her yard, to pee in various locations, to come in and lie down on her living room rug. Gracious hostess behavior doesn’t get much better than that. But the visitor dog’s foster mother decided to keep him.
Enter Rusty. Rusty’s photo was on the Humane Society website. http://www.carr.org/humane/dogs.htm He sat there with his ears cocked, facing the camera with a hopeful expression. He looked cute and huggable. Nobody can do cute like a cocker spaniel.
Rusty had some strikes against him. He was shy and scared. And old. He is 12. And he needed dental work.
This is what is known of his story. He had lived with his person for nine years, and the person moved away. Rusty was taken to a shelter in Indiana. The person who turned him in at the shelter explained that Rusty was peeing in the house, so he could not stay in that home. Somehow, Rusty traveled from Indiana to Howard County, Maryland, where he lived with someone at some point in 2012. Somehow, he traveled from Howard County to Carroll, where he ended up at the Humane Society shelter.
“If it doesn’t work out, you can bring him back up to 30 days after the adoption is final,” the Humane Society technician said.
No. Rusty does pee in the house, but he has been here only one week, and he has a urinary tract infection. I’m not crazy about needing gallons of Nature’s Miracle, and it’s something we must work on. Hard. But he gets a bit of a pass until the infection is cleared up. He can make it through the night, so at some level he understands that urinating is supposed to be done outdoors. He can make it through the day if he gets frequent potty breaks.
We will work something out. Rusty’s a sweet little guy. He deserves a home. A real home, where he can stay. Forever.
(c) 2013 by Donna Engle