According to her foster, Mimi is getting stronger every day! She no longer needs help getting up. She trots around the yard. She eats like TWO dogs, and she is more interactive with the foster and her other dogs. Mimi gets along fine with other dogs and most people. She is VERY hard of hearing and cannot see very well. She relies on gestures and following the person to lead her outside, left and right. On a leash that is, like a horse with reins. She does food guard and will snap, she has some chow in her. But as long as you are aware of that, she is really a good dog. She sleeps most of the time, and all she really needs is a soft place to land, and a comfortable life for her remaining Golden Years. AFP will pledge food, vet care, and medicines for her lifetime to any home that will provide her with that loving environment. She is anywhere from 10-12 years old and has spent the last few months surviving on her own in the woods. So she has a tenacious will to live.
The message came one day as thousands do every week. A dog is in trouble. There are times when all rescuers get weary from the sheer numbers of reports we see all the time. It never seems to end. What was different about this alert was the dog’s photo. Those eyes looked so sad. She looked so afraid and distrustful. She was obviously an older girl.
I could not get her photo out of my mind. Yes, I was way over my limit in spending, andin dogs. But something told me this dog could use a break. There was an email with the link in it, and it said something like “I am leaving the country for 16 days and I need someone to help at least feed this dog.”
I am sometimes a sucker for time limits.
I thought,“I can at least feed this girl for a couple of weeks.” So I contacted the poster (we will call her“E”), and referred to this dog in my conversations with fellow rescuers as“Craigslist Dog”. I asked for people to collaborate on this girl. One friend agreed to help. She does not have the money or the space either, but she has never questioned the vet bills at all.
“E” was going to Japan for two weeks to visit her mother. And the dog was too afraid toget close enough to catch. After a couple of days of working on a game plan, we went to the school where she lived early on a Saturday morning. I expected a battle, and was trying to borrow a trap. When I got there a few minutes late,“E” had Mimi on a leash, slowly walking her towards the car.
“Wow!” I said. She must have known today was the day.
Being a rescue group, we had to use the more affordable vet clinics. The “sign up and wait”ones. This clinic is good, just very busy. And we had had some trouble with Mimi snapping at us. The good news was she still came along with us. Just setting her limits, I guess. We discovered that she was hard of hearing, and had a lot of trouble walking. Her back legs were weak and were kind of skinny. Muscle atrophy. She was older, had a lot of hair, but underneath was a bag of bones. Still,she weighed in at 46 lbs. She was at least 10 years old, maybe older. At least she gives us a warning sneer before snapping. We can work with this, I thought.
After waiting almost two hours for our turn, a panting Mimi(from fear) matted and a bit smelly was called in to be seen. I warned the tech and vet, she will need a muzzle. The tech decided to find out for herself. Snap. Missed. Poor Mimi. I think she was not so sure she should have let us catch her. Muzzled and sedated, we got lab work, and she got an examination and vaccines.
“Heavy Heartworm Positive,” the vet pronounced. She had a bleeding lesion on her lower gums.“Might be cancer. We can biopsy it. If it is cancer you better put her down, it will get bigger.” No, thanks. By now I was learning to say “no” to vets. They tell you what is wrong; you have the final say on live or die. This girl was not rescued so she could be put to death. We opted for antibiotics and some time to see what the lesion would do, and good food and clean water. Mimi went home with E, who was obviously in love with the dog, but has three other rescue dogs that will make the final decision.
The next day, Mimi meets her “rehab foster” for the first time, her name is “K”.
Man, what an awesome human being.
“K” fosters for another group, but saw E’s pleas for Mimi ona message board and decided to help. K is an experienced dog owner, foster, and dog mom. She should be a veterinary nurse. Her observations and intuitions about Mimi were spot on from the get go. She was gentle, patient, and lovingly persistent with Mimi. Even allowing a minor nip, in order to help get Mimi up and walking. K provides food, water,love, and encouragement. And tons of good vibes. When Mimi wagged her tail for the first time, “K” sends me a jubilant email, praising Mimi and the amount of heart and will to survive she has. I have tons of photos of Mimi just being Mimi. In each one, she looks stronger, her eyes look brighter, and she looks so much more relaxed.
“The fear is gone,” says K. Words I have wanted to hear from the beginning. I sigh with relief.
Poor E is in Japan. She is missing the whole process, being out of touch at times, with no internet access. K is awesome in that way, too. She sends updates to E, and tells her to “just read them when you can.” Is that not just exquisitely kind of her? E was worried to death about Mimi before she left, and so grateful to us for helping. I know she still worries. K’s goal is to, as she says, “Give E back a different dog.”
I think this is happening.
Mimi plays now. She chases her tail and hops. She even tries to trot. She can get up on her own most of the time. Her legs are stronger. K says she smiles a lot. She is trying to get a photo of Mimi when she first wakes up in the morning to Mimi’s little face resting on the bed staring at her, “It’s time for breakfast!”. I can’t wait to see that one.
In the meantime, Angels Four Paws www.angelsfourpaws.org is paying the bills. No questions asked. They just want Mimi to have a peaceful and happy life. Maybe E will convince her dogs to accept Mimi. Maybe K will want to keep her. Maybe someone else will. But Mimi is safe now. I hope she knows she will never have to eat garbage or drink dirty ditch water again. I really do.
There is a long road ahead for Mimi. We will all be there with her. Strangers who met over a dog named Mimi. Good people. Good friends.
If anyone is so inclined, donations can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org via paypal. They never even questioned helping Mimi. I think that deserves something. Don’t you? Visit the website and donate from there.