I have been an "unofficial" foster mom (okay, more like had "sucker" written across my forehead) for many animals . . . and currently have only 2 foster cats (a 17yr. old who was dropped off to be euthanized for a bladder infection and a kitten, now adult, who was dropped off on the counter where I work as a 2 week old baby by someone who said "he's dead." and walked out.) in addition to my own two cats and my newest foster dog . . . my "official" foster dog . . . Charlie.
First off, I like Charlie's original name, I do, but it does not suit this dog and quite frankly his recall to it sucked, so I changed it. :-D I
gave it quite a bit of thought and consideration, but as I have come to know this guy . . . it rings true. Watch the movie All Dogs Go to Heaven . . . yeah, the children's movie . . . and you'll meet Charlie. This dog reminds me of him in so many ways.
(And by the way . . . I think he is a lazy shepherd in a malinois body, at least for now, though that may change after we fix him up!) However, I think the pictures even show just how mellow this guy can be.
So, where do I start? I guess with Sunday, April 1st, when this guy was transported by many wonderful people in order to get him here . . . Thank you all!!! . . . and I brought him home, into my yard with hackles up, tail down, and worried eyes. He wanted to jump right back into the car. In fact, it took a couple of days to realize he wasn't being transported anymore. He now looks at me by the car before he jumps in, like "Do I have to go? . . . oh, alright."
He has come with me to work at least once everyday, stayed home by himself some shifts, and has been in the kennel where I work for some minor attention training. He will be going with me to a Pet Fair on the 14th as a Demo Dog and Heartworm Disease Educator, one of my Demo Dogs at class Orientation on the 18th, and also an educator and clicker
seminar participant on April 21st, when I give an all-day Clicker Training Seminar at the Academy.
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On Thursday evening, I brought him in to meet some new people (one of which a 6yr.old little girl, and he went over, tennis ball tug in mouth to sniff. She went to take the ball from him and he mouthed it to spit out in her lap. She got a little nervous and he wagged his tail and licked her hands. So gentle. A really neat thing to see . . . Would he do this for all kids? I don't know. We'll see how he progresses. He is confident with people, albeit a bit submissive, but that's okay for a companion pet. He loves to lick . . . sometimes a bit excessively and tries really hard to get to your face, but is learning Off. He's starting to recognize Sit on cue, Wait at doors, and is overall a happy-go-lucky kind of guy that needs some simple direction here and there. A super-nice dog. (And if you can't tell form the pictures . . . good with other social dogs, like my Guinness. My cats shall come back home next week and we'll see what he does, though I hear he's good with them . . . )
Now, the downside. Charlie is most definitely Heartworm positive (over 15 squirming in the microscope view alone, not even the whole slide) and I alone pulled off 10 ticks, of two different species, and was told another 20 had been taken off before he got to me. Frontline has now been applied. I was finally able to collect a fecal sample and we should get confirmed results by Monday. If he has any intestinal parasites, we should de-worm him.
As far as the Disease is concerned, my employer said for all routine/preventative maintenance, we can offer a 30% Rescue discount, like we do for all of the rescues. For the treatment of the disease, however, she has agreed to let me use my personal discounts and do everything at cost + 15% . . . a huge help. I have already placed a Donation jar on our counter, asking for help and a young boy with his mom dropping off his dog for boarding asked if he could put in a dollar from his allowance to help Charlie . . . so we have raised $1 already, though I am sure by Monday, my staff would have even chipped in. :-D That's how we are. Every little bit helps. I plan on also having the jar (and promoting it a bit) at the Pet Fair, when I train at Cudahy Kennel Club and even when I go to the UDC Nationals this year in May, if need be.
We would really like to start out with a blood panel and urinanalysis to see where he stands physically . . . Liver, kidneys, blood
cells, etc, to see if he's fighting anything else right now. The cost, with my discount, is estimated to be 500-650 at this
time. We would recommend a tick panel, just to be on the safe side, but what may be causing his lower tolerance to exercise/excitement could very well be the adult(s?) in the base of his heart. Monthly preventatives can get rid of the microfilaria (what we see in the bloodstream), but the adult is what is constantly producing more, clogging things up and making his heart work harder. He's young, otherwise healthy as far as we know, so he has good odds. But it's always risky. Arsenic can be deadly, even with all of the technicological advances that we have.
Without treatment, it is an almost certainty that he will die much younger than need be.
Your contribution can help give this young, 2 yr old, Malinois a second chance at a healthy, active life. Use GuideStar's secure server and Specify Charlie's HW Treatment