I'm an engineer from Calgary, Alberta, working in Houston, Texas for about a year. Back home in Calgary, my husband and I have a three-year-old beagle, Euchre. We started thinking that although Euchre seemed to like being an only child, she might enjoy some company of the furry, chasing, wrestling variety.
We thought another scent hound would be a good match, because of their easy-going and happy personalities. Since Texas seems to have a high population of unemployed hunting dogs, we decided that I would look around and see what I found down here.
Through the Austin-Houston Hound Rescue webpage, I found a human angel named Sandra. I was leaning towards finding a beagle, but she brought another dog to my attention - a coonhound at a county shelter who was wasting away to nothing. When I met this dog, she was so skinny and scared. She slunk around like she wished she was invisible. When we took her outside for a walk, though, she perked up and got this pretty little bounce in her step - and her eyes were so gentle and hopeful...I was reeled in. I phoned my husband and made sure he was okay with going "up a size" from what we had agreed on; he was.
So Molly came home with me that night. She was terrified of being in the car, and without Sandra's help I don't think we would have made it home. It was the beginning of Molly's misadventures! Only the week before, she had been spayed in her very weak condition. Now she was experiencing awful, scary things like car rides and stairs and baths and even a pet store; for that week she lived with me in Houston, I kept forgetting how tall she really is, because she rarely stood up - even to walk - she was almost always crouching, looking for a place to hide. But her biggest challenge would be the airplane ride. I was very worried about her - she had already endured so much, and now I was taking her from Texas to Canada - at Christmas time - brrrr!
Well, we finally got home to Calgary, and Molly just slept - too much. Euchre was very suspicious of her, but soon realized she was no threat. At first, we thought Molly's lethargy was from the tranquilizer I had given her in Houston. But as another day went by, and she didn't want to eat, and then a cough developed, we knew it was more. To make a very long story short, we nursed her for two weeks, tried different antibiotics, and fed her nothing but deer sausage and salami, just so she would eat. Finally one of the antibiotics seemed to catch hold, and by the end of the second week, we were pretty sure she was going to make it. She needed another three weeks of medication before we were sure the problem was beaten.
That first week in Calgary was very hard - sitting with her all day and all night and not knowing at all if she would survive. We don't actually know what respiratory illness she had; it had all of the symptoms of distemper, but I have since learned that there are other diseases that mimic distemper, so we can't be sure. At any rate, our new little girl fought a really big battle, with the odds pretty much against her, and she came through beautifully.
She is now Euchre's buddy; they are partners in crime. It is so rewarding to look at that sweet face and know what we actually pulled off. Like I told Sandra, I had no idea I was adopting a dog with such slim chances, but even during that first week when I was trying to come to grips with the possibility of losing her, it comforted me to know that if she didn't survive, at least she was going to spend her last days in a warm home, safe with people that loved her, likely for the first time in her life. That alone would have made it all worthwhile. But thankfully, it didn't come to that, and now we have two 'kids' to spoil, and double the entertainment around our house - it is way too much fun!
Thanks again to Sandra for all her knowledgable help and support through Molly's illness, and through the challenge of introducing a new dog to the 'pack', and to the compassionate and brilliant vets at Brentwood Vet Clinic in Calgary. Todd and I would have been lost without the wisdom and experience of these amazing people.