My daughter takes care of cats and dogs that the local Humane Society has recently taken in. The animals they give her to foster are usually very young or in poor health. Once they are in good or at least better condition, she returns them to be adopted.
Recently, one of the dogs she took in was in really terrible condition. A terrier of sorts that was seven pounds of pathetic. As described on the form from the Humane Society, he was “underweight, malnourished, had skin issues, and unknown discharges from nose and eyes.” He was also limping badly.
But our daughter brought him by the house one day and he might have been pathetic, but he’s also a charmer. Oh, he was ugly for sure. His hair was a weird mixture of silky, moss and bare patches and it was falling out all over. His color was a odd mixture of caramel and chocolate. His ears would alternate between standing straight up or flopping over. He had a small head and a big body. After being badly abused as a pup, my wife and I just couldn’t resist trying to make the rest of his life better.
To me he was the spitting image of Alf, the extraterrestrial character on the TV show from the late 80s. But oh those eyes. It was those beautiful eyes and his good spirits that, despite all his problems, made him irresistible. So guess who ended up adopting him.
Naming him was simple. We called him “Ciggie.” He was named after the ground-out cigarette butt he resembled.
On his first trip to the vet, Ciggie was treated for an ear infection, skin problems, and the wart-like blisters on his feet that were causing a limp. The vet felt all of these problems were probably caused by an allergy. So we got antibiotics, skin shampoo, supplements, and a new diet. No more chicken or beef. Now he would only be getting fish or more specifically salmon—the diet of sled dogs. I think the idea is to get him off foods (beef or chicken) that are the ones he is most likely allergic to and on to one that is not causing a reaction.
So now we will wait and see how it goes. The vet said it may take months to see how his allergies react. Ciggie has health insurance, but we will have to see how that goes. In the past, it has been just like human health insurance—-lots of deductibles, not-covereds (I know that is not a word but that is what I call it), and other limitations.
But during this Covid lockdown, Ciggie has grown into a big dog (vet says he may be a Terrier/Australian Shepard mix) who loves to play “fight me for the goofy toy.” He gets along well with our golden retriever, Sam, and the grandkids love him. A great distraction from today’s world that only allows us to mingle with dentists and doctors. In an earlier blog, I’ve discussed the joy of having a dog if you first consider all the pros and cons http://justageezer.com/2014/09/22/bored-consider-getting-a-dog/
So there can be a certain joy in this quarantine. You can organize and clean out your house, watch 30 episodes of Pie in the Sky on Acorn TV, call everyone in your old address book (“Who are you again?”), have your grandkids teach you to use Zoom on the computer, read Educated by Tera Westover (great read), putter in your garden, or adopt (or foster) a new companion. Life is always what you make it.