Every foster experience I have is the same and different. Probably because every dog is the same and different. Bottom line, dogs are dogs, and it’s important to remember that. They are not people in furry suits. They have the same needs in terms of food, safety, comfort, health, etc., but they are also individuals.
Bippity may look a lot like Dippity and possibly even be a littermate, but she is a different dog. Bippity is quirky and confident, with a personality much bigger than you expect from a 25-pound dog who is sick with Bordetella and Erhlichia.
Currently Bippity is living in our downstairs bathroom so that she can be cocooned in humidity and warmth to make her breathing easier.
She arrived Friday night from transport with that tell-tale cough (cough-cough-hack-hack-cough), but she was friendly and perky and happy to have her feet on the ground again.
She kept herself busy and me entertained in my office the first few days. She gathered and piled up toys, leashes, and blankets dragging items much larger than herself around the room, until she wore herself out and then napping on her stash.
Over the course of the next few days though, her energy lagged and she deflated like a wind-up toy winding down. On Wednesday I took her to see my vet because I was concerned about the sound of her breathing, her lack of energy, and her sluggish appetite despite being obviously underweight.
Her lungs were clear, but Dr. Jim believed she was suffering from Bordetella (kennel cough) despite having been vaccinated for it. That vaccine was probably the first of her life and so if likely wasn’t enough to protect her against so much exposure likely on one or both transports and/or the boarding facility. He prescribed a steroid to help with her symptoms – the raspy breathing, swollen glands and throat, cough, lethargy.
In Texas, Bippity had been prescribed a 30-day course of Doxycycline to treat her Ehrlichia, but during the two transports and boarding it was unclear whether she received her medication. (It was doubtful considering the transport guys who delivered her told me she didn’t eat on transport.). Dr. Jim also thought the dosage was not high enough, so he prescribed a new 30-day course on the proper dosage. Not only would it treat her Ehrlichia but it will also prevent a secondary infection from the Bordetella (which is what happened with Dippity). Bordetella is generally not life-threatening and usually just has to run its course; the danger comes if the dog develops a secondary infection from it. Since Bippity’s immune system was definitely stressed from the experience of being transported across the country, that is a distinct possibility.
For now, she is still ensconced in her humidity chamber, but she is steadily improving and that funny personality is resurfacing. Every time I open the door to her little space I don’t know what I’ll find. She has always rearranged the place—bowls dragged around, toys piled in a new hoarding spot, blanket rearranged. Nick brought in the heavy pickle crock we use for an outdoor water dish to try to prevent her from dumping her water as she moves the bowl to its new location. I thought that solved that, but this morning the crock was moved a good two feet. I guess she’s feeling better.
Outside, Bippity loves to roll in the grass, and generally stops at least once, if not twice on every walk when we come upon a nice lawn. I imagine soft, green grass is not plentiful on the border of Mexico. She is billed as one-year-old but is still very puppy-like in her chewing habits. She is mouthy, but easy to redirect. She chases blowing leaves, pounces on bits of trash, and is on high alert at the sight of a bird or bunny.
She’s a smart dog, too. It was clear she hadn’t spent much time on a leash before she arrived here, but now trots along nicely, better than at least two of my dogs.
As we get her healthier, it’s time to start looking for an adopter, so please spread the word. Bippity is about 25 pounds. She is a smart dog who will respond well to training, but is also very loving and happy to snuggle. She is a funny pup with loads of personality. We haven’t introduced her to our dogs yet but will do so next week once she’s feeling better. I’m guessing that she will chase a cat. If she is still here when our foster kitties arrive (after May 1), I can verify that. She will need to be spayed.
Until Each One Has a Home,
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If you can’t get enough foster dog stories, check out my book: Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs. Or its follow up that takes you to the shelters in the south One Hundred Dogs & Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and a Journey Into the Heart of Shelters and Rescues.
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Many of the pictures on my blog are taken by photographer Nancy Slattery. If you’d like to connect with Nancy to take gorgeous pictures of your pup (or your family), contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.