Sunday, August 15, 2010

Gumball is Home

We ran ads, put up flyers, left flyers at all the vet offices in the area, and did a few more things, and no one has stepped forward to claim this little guy. Which just dumbfounds me - I wish he could just tell me where he came from, and what he's been through. He is SUCH an angel.

As small as he is, he is able to jump up on most of the furniture - and acts like he has always been a furniture-sitting kind of dog. Certainly, at the very least, he was a well-cared for, inside dog.

After 2 weeks with no responses, I took him to Bailey's regular vet, who did a thorough exam, and agreed with the vet from the animal hospital - he had been well-cared for, lots of money had been spent on his surgeries, and he is in excellent health, other than being underweight.

She (Bailey's vet) estimated, based on his current body weight, that he had been on the run for about 4 months when I rescued him, because he was just over 25% below his normal body weight. And therefore, he needs to gain 4 pounds. Which I could easily gain in one day, but not so with poor Gumball.

She wants to start him on Rimadyl because of his severe arthritis (you can hear the bone-on-bone grinding noise from one of his hind legs/hips when he walks, and his gait just in general is "arthritic") - but Rimadyl is more expensive than I can afford (even though she tried to break it down for me, and told me it was only 46 cents a day). That didn't really change anything because I can do math, and 46 cents a day is still basically $170/year. So I did a little research when I got home, and learned that while dogs canNOT take ibuprofen, they CAN take enteric-coated aspirin, which is also an anti-inflammatory. And they can also take glucosamine chondroitin - and so I started him on both of these, for way less than 46 cents/day. Just started them yesterday, so I don't see any changes yet.

We went straight from the vet to PetSmart, which was having a going-out-of-business sale, and I let him try out a few beds, and he picked his favorite, and so I bought 2; 1 for home, and 1 for work. And we also bought a nice sturdy set of pet stairs, so that he can get up on my bed (and down) without being lifted (and without jumping off the bed, which can't be good for his arthritis). The little guy really doesn't like to be lifted - I'm sure it hurts his arthritis. But he wants to be right by my side.

At home he is fond of claiming Bailey's giant bed - which of course peeves poor Bailey. But Gumball only does this during the day - at night he sleeps in his own new bed.

We get up about every 3 to 4 hours during the night for potty breaks, because he's a small dog, and also an old dog, and just can't comfortably make it through the night without going. He WAS holding it all night when he was sleeping in the crate, but after the 1st week (probably as he was gaining strength) he let me know that he had NO intentions of spending the night in that crate. And since I have to get up myself every 3-4 hours during the night, sadly, I just now have added in throwing on shoes and  taking him downstairs and out into the yard. And then back upstairs again. He is actually walking all this way himself now - I rarely need to carry him, but all this extra activity for ME at night is making it very hard for me to fall back to sleep, so I am basically tired and sleepy all the time.

I see improvements in him everyday, and after the 1st 2 weeks, he has become a regular eating machine.

After the vet told me he needed to gain 4 pounds, I started to feed him much more often, so he's eating what seems like a huge amount of food, with real gravy for even more calories, about every 3 hours. And it seems like the more I feed him, the more he wants - it's gotten to where every time I take him out he comes back in and starts doing the little "feed me" dance in the kitchen, hopping around the spot where his bowl goes while I fix his special food. Another thing that peeves Bailey greatly. (the special food, and the frequent feedings)

The basic routine is eat (which takes almost an hour), then sleep for 3-4 hours, then potty, then eat, etc., etc.

But when we get up in the middle of the night for potty breaks, I am not giving in to his demands for a meal after every potty break - although he is certainly asking for one. I'm going to run him over to the vet in a couple of weeks to check his weight - I sure hope he's gaining. I thought he was BEFORE I took him to my vet, because he was so much more active, and his eyes were brighter, he was more alert, and he looked more filled out than when I had rescued him. But at the vet visit, he had actually LOST almost a whole pound from what he weighed the day I picked him up - do you remember me half-joking awhile back that when they weighed him at the animal hospital he was so flea-infested that I was sure 1 pound of his body weight that day was fleas? 

He sort of reminds me of the "Doomsday Machine" from the classic Star Trek episode of the same name - which was basically just a giant maw that ate everything in its path                                                                                                                                                                          

and even tried to eat the Enterprise!

The only difference (well, maybe not the only one) between Gumball and the Doomsday Machine is that it takes Gumball almost an hour to eat each meal, since he doesn't have any teeth and no lower jaw. He has to work the food into the back of his mouth and down his throat with his tongue, and he makes a big mess, and he may take a long time, but he sure is determined, and he loves eating!

The day before we went to the vet, I had given Bailey a big marrow bone, and Gumball stole it. The vet said that Gumball remembers eating solid food and chewing bones, and that it is OK to let him have the bones (even though he can't chew them), so now he has them, and he licks and licks them, and just has a big old time. And as long as it makes him happy, I'm OK with it.

Of course, Bailey is not pleased with all the bone-stealing, even though I immediately give him another one. Bailey, of course, devours them in a matter of minutes, and I'm sure he doesn't understand how Gumball can just casually spend days savoring one. So Bailey has gotten in the habit of waiting until Gumball gets out of his bed, and then Bailey "sneaks" over and steals the bone. And I can tell every time he's done it, because he sort of ducks his head and tries to hide the fact that he has a huge, re-stolen bone in his mouth.

This is Gumball's favorite spot at the shop - in his bed, staring at me. He spends most of the day there (with frequent meal and potty breaks), but if I have to be up and wandering around, he follows me like a baby duckling, And if the store is full of customers, he gets confused by all the legs, and will start running around trying to find my legs.       

Yesterday was a very busy day at the shop, and so Gumball was excited, and running around trying to keep track of me.  I even left for an hour to run errands and pick up lunch, and when I got back, Gumball wasn't in his bed, and my employee told me he had wandered through the store in a continuous loop the whole time I was gone, looking for me.

I had picked up Chic-Fil-A for lunch, and I went into the backroom to fix Gumball his lunch, so he could be eating while we ate out front, and before I even put his bowl down on the floor, my loyal employee had started hand feeding her chicken nuggets to Gumball - she was breaking them in half, and dropping them in his mouth like a baby bird, and he was in 7th heaven. So then he completely refused to eat his own food, and when her nuggets were gone, he came over to me and started begging for my chicken. Which, naturally, I gave him.

So now we have created a tablefood-begging monster.

And this is my little sweetie sleeping on the job.

After he finishes his meals, he usually sleeps for 3 or 4 hours if we are at home, where there are no interruptions. At the shop, if we are having a slow day he'll sleep that long, and then wake up, go potty, and demand more food. But if a customer comes in, he wakes up, and usually goes over to greet them.

So, it is now too late to make a long story short. But Gumball seems to be thriving, and seems happy, and is here to stay.And Bailey is still jealous and pouty, but is doing much better.

And I need to take this opportunity to give a huge shout-out to Jan from Heartworks. She is a very special lady, and a very talented graphic artist, and she did something incredibly nice for me, and so thoughtful. She'll never understand how touched I was. You guys take a few minutes and check out her beautiful work - and trust me, she can do incredible custom orders!

I apologize for the length of this post, and I feel pretty certain it rambled, and I repeated stuff. I had a really rough night; didn't sleep much at all because of a headache that wouldn't respond to any medications (all of which should have made me sleep) - so between the headache & not sleeping, I can't concentrate well today. I have tried to reread this post for editing purposes, and I can't even concentrate enought to do that - sorry!

1 comment:

PussDaddy said...

You are so wonderful to give this dog a home and dedicate yourself to his special care. Not everyone would do it or be up to it, and with you being so sick yourself your doing this is commendable.