A the beginning of November I received a phone call from the head of Pet Fostering Services Scotland an organisation of volunteers who foster animals of all types in their own homes whilst their owners are in hospital or at home, but too ill to look after their pet properly. We don't cover people's holiday, just when they are ill and really need our help.
Anyway, Agnes phoned to see if I could possibly come out of retirement and take a wee 12 year old Yorkie, both blind and deaf in an awful state whose weight had dropped to 1.6kg. The neglect wasn't due to lack of love or concern, but merely inability to cope following the death of his wife, and the onset of Altzheimers.
So off I went to meet the Social Worker and collect Pepsi from her home.
She was in such a bad way, and the stress of moving from her home, where she knew her way around and had all the familiar scents to a strange place being handled by a VERY STRANGE (!) human. She refused to eat or drink and I really thought she was going to die that weekend. All atempts to feed her failed, she fought me all the way until on the Sunday night she became too weak to fight any more. This gave me the chance to syringe a mixture of scrambled egg made with cream not milk to add to the calories. Although I only got 5 ml into her at a time (same with water) with hourly feeds day and night in 24 hours she'd taken 60mls (all) of the egg mixture and 70 mls of water. Then she turned the corner and decided she did want to live after all!
She turned her nose up at all of the trays of food the Social Worker, Barry, had given me - that was her normal diet at home, but then she sniffed out some of the dried food that had fallen out of the food ball whilst Tom and Tych were knocking it around, she wouldn't accept anything else! With only 2 teeth this presented problems, so I ground some down using a pestle and mortar and from then she never looked back now weighing 2.1kg
She is a wilful little girl - if she doesn't want something she usually wins (unless it something essential for her health)! We quickly got used to each other, she fought when I had to do something new, such as put on a harness so she could walk around the room and garden in safety, and put on Tych's fleece jacket to take her outside (she's a very clean little girl and hates to make a mess in the house). With temperatures reaching -20 it was essential! She then had to be cuddled until her little body warmed up.
She spends a lot of time sleeping of course and is nice and cozy with a heat pad under her bed. This takes up half the crate where she sleeps and stays if I'm out of the room for safety. She has now worked out where the obstacles are and feels her way round using her ears and head to check! I don't let her do this in the garden - brick walls are a different matter!
Tom and Tych take little notice of her and they wander around together. The only thing they get upset about is when she crawls into THEIR bed under the settee!
I take her into the hospital periodically to see Alex her owner. He loves seeing her and seeing her hooks into his memories. He has lost his grip on the present. I don't believe that he will be able to return home, or to look after her. Sadly she is not re-homeable, so her future is uncertain. For now, social services will pay any vet bills that arise so until plans are in place for the long term for Alex she remains with me, but unfortunately I cannot afford to take on the burden of potential vet bills - she could still have several years ahead of her.
It is hard not to allow myself become attatched to her. I phoned to register her as a foster dog (necessary in case she needs out of hours care when I can't get hold of my own vet. The out of hours service is not obliged to care for any pet not registered and can charge extortionate fees!) Bryan just laughed and said 'You'll never stop will you!'
Well I guess only the future will tell!
Anyway, Happy New Year to you all, and may all our goals be met!