I don’t know how many of you have had the experience of sharing an extra-special bond with one of your animals. There have been three such instances in my lifetime: my first dog, as an adult, Meghann, a rescue with a fractured back and broken leg, a feral cat a friend and I brought in from the woods, Arroyo, and most recently, Finn. Any of you who have felt these deep connections know that it doesn’t mean you don’t love your other animals. I dearly love all my guys. There is just something different with Finn. I feel a little guilty about it and do everything I can to share my attentions equally. But, still, the feelings are there. They are real. I look at him and my heart squeezes. Perhaps it’s because he was in such trouble when I brought him in–see previous posts Rescue Dog: Meet Finn (Survivor) and Rescue Dog’s Happy Success Story: Finn Thrives. Here’s a video of his first few days with me:
Finn was more starved than I realized back then. I should have understood. The vet told me his blood work showed him to be in the final stage of starvation. But he was alive. He was moving. He wagged his tail. I naively didn’t grasp the depth of his suffering and that makes me sad. Although, perhaps if I had understood, it might have been scarier to take him on and I needed to be confident back then, not scared. I had to offer him something strong to count on—a reason for him to continue despite his odds.
He’s getting huge. His head and neck and chest have grown so much that he looks like a completely different dog. The collar that needed extra holes punched into it and still hung loosely on him has now been expanded an entire hole and is snug. His coat is getting wooly. The wounds from bone rubbing against skin on the hard surfaces he had to lie on are healed. But other wounds are starting to show. He has what I think is a bone spur, possibly a fracture, on his left hind foot and he doesn’t put his full weight on it. I’ll need to have that looked at.
He continues to require a lot of rest, partly making up for lost time and partly because his body is regenerating itself. But he sleeps deeply now. When he first came in he was restless, uncomfortable and, I think, fearful. He now snuffles and snores and dreams. I truly can’t get enough of seeing him sleep like this. In today’s snowstorm, I’m just so grateful he has a warm, dry, soft and safe place to be. I think he’s starting to know this will be his forever. Oh, and he finally sleeps by my bed. In the beginning when I put his bed by mine, along with the other dogs, I think he felt confined and, thus, unsafe, and he would sleep on the hard floor in the living room. So I started leaving his bed there for him. But he has since requested a spot in my bedroom. He wags his tale gaily every morning with my first movements–a lovely way to wake up.
The other day he came in from outside with our New Mexico “sticky mud” squished all up in his paws. He seemed totally perplexed at being toweled off, a sort of, “Well, will you look at that!” kind of expression on his face as he watched the grooming from paw to paw. He seems to be taking to the pampering though. He loves neck and back rubs and being washed with warm, damp washcloths.
All is not sweetness and light, however. Both Finn and Kelee are alpha males and, although Finn defers to Kelee in many ways, allowing him to climb the stairs ahead of him and letting me give Kelee’s bowl to him first at feeding time, there have been fights—mostly surrounding food. One was serious. So I’m working with them and am hopeful they will figure it out. Happily they seem to be bonding in some ways. Both greet me at the door when I arrive home and they seem to enjoy patrolling the property together.
Finn is getting more and more comfortable both physically and mentally. It’s a wonderful thing to witness. He does an adorable full body wiggle-wag now instead of just wagging his tail. He grins. He chews on chew toys. He lifts his ears when he’s curious about something, making sweet little furrows on his brow. Oh, and although he, himself, is uneasy being kissed, sometimes he kisses me—very shyly still, but it’s a start.
Here’s a video of what he looks like now and some pictures I’ve taken of him from this last week:
Love to you all,