Saturday, March 15, 2008
Here she is, Lady Heather, the Dog from SAFE. (We've been calling her Lady, Lady H, and Newdog.) She's been here since about noon today, and it's been, well, interesting.
We got to the shopping center at about 10:20 AM, and it was a zoo. There were a lot of dogs and cats up for adoption, and nearly as many people looking at them, plus the SAFE volunteers. I think the news story about the 752 dogs motivated more people than usual to come out and give homes to other puppies in peril, dogs in danger, and cats in crisis.
We met a number of SAFE staffers and volunteers, including the couple that's been taking care of Lady H since she and her puppies were rescued from the Pima County Animal Control and Care facility back in November. Apparently it's hard to get anyone to adopt a dog and her new litter. Their time was up at the shelter, and they would have been euthanized had it not been for SAFE - Saving Animals From Euthanasia. All but one of two of the puppies had been adopted as of this morning, but they were a little worried about the mother. "She's gone unadopted far too long for such a sweet dog," they said.
They figure she's two years old, and completely healthy. She was spayed in February, and immunized for kennel cough. She comes with a 30 day health insurance policy against the sorts of diseases dogs get in shelters, and I'm supposed to take her to our vet to get her checked over. What we know so far is that she has very dry skin, and scratches herself a lot. We've found a few small bumps on her, tick-sized, but not ticks and maybe not tumors. We gave her a bath right away, but if anything it increased her scratching.
The good news is that she and Tuffy are getting along just fine. At first they mostly ignored each other, but once they were home together Tuffy hung out in her general vicinity and they did the sniffing thing from time to time. They haven't played together, but there wasn't been even a hint of a growl or a snarl, and Tuffy has shown no jealousy at all, just a slight tendency to guard the food. They've each been given leftover chicken and (later) cheese, with no competition or unpleasantness. Tuffy didn't eat the cheese, and didn't protest when Newdog came over and ate what Tuffy had dropped. This evening Newdog even tried to lick Tuffy's face - and Tuffy let her, for about a second.
She's in Tuffy's Purple Tongue Club, and theoretically she's a chow-collie mix. She's a little smaller than Tuffy though, with a shorter snout.
She spent most of the day outside, and hasn't been leash-trained or taught the usual commands. She doesn't come when called unless she feels like it. She's supposedly housebroken, but a wet spot in the front room says she's not perfect in this. She's done a little whimpering, but not much, and hardly any barking. She's actually behaved very much like Tuffy - wanting reassurance and petting and treats but not a major lovefest of licking and kissing and such. She's not secure enough yet to play or to recognize play behavior as harmless, but give her time. It's only her first day here!
I have to say I don't like the Lady Heather name much. If she'll accept it, I'd like to rename her. So far the best of the ideas are as follows:
Lady Madonna (Donna for short?)
Tess, short for Tesseract
Martha (my dear)
Buffy (rhymes with Tuffy)
So now that you've seen her, I throw it open to the floor: what should her new name be? I'm looking for something that fits her low-key but wayward personality, and preferably has a pop-culture connection of some sort. Whoever suggests the name we go with will win...well, I'm not sure what yet, but probably a piece of original writing, or a photo or something. The deadline is Easter Sunday, or whenever I read the name and shout, "That's it!" - whichever comes first!