Wednesday, April 17, 2013

First, make a cup of tea... It's a long story.

If you read this blog, and if you know me at all, then you certainly know a little something about the apple of my eye- BigRudy. This post is about him. Nothing to do with art, as this blog has been geared towards in the past. I will get back to that, but before I can, I need to get the past six months down in writing. Indulgent, I admit. But here it is.

To be honest, I haven’t really been involved in the art scene (or as a result, maintaining this blog) lately because there were more important things filling up my days- namely, handsome Rudy and our efforts to navigate him back to better health.

The story of my Three-legged Love is a little painful but it comes with no shortage of pride in our boy and a round of high-fives for effort (Rudy’s personal favorite), so fear not.

After the amputation of his leg back in November, we met a few stumbling blocks. Resulting in an increasingly familiar acquaintance with our vet (some days, I thought I ought just to set up camp at the clinic), Rudy developed a series of issues with his kidneys, spine and urinary tract. Trying to balance a tightrope of kidney-healthy meals, a medley of medicines, and lots of rest for a dog who lives to chase his ball, it was a pretty trying time. I have never prepared so much gourmet food for a dog. Raw steak and rice you say? Egg whites and noodles and oily fish and flaxseed? Well, sure! And would he eat it? Not often. Needless to say Felix gained a couple of pounds during this time.
Dedicating whole days just trying to convince Rudy to eat something he’d normally swallow my hand for was a test indeed. Chicken thighs? Salmon? How about a bison bite? No thankyou Mummy.  Our bat-eared gentledog is nothing if not well-mannered.

Time to bring Felix, our 2 year old, 90lb shepherd into the story. Hi Felix.

Felix and Rooder are like chalk and cheese. No two personalities could be more different, yet they make a wonderful pair. Unfortunately their living together was not a situation that was conducive to Rudy’s recovery. At all. Sure Felix loves his brother, will bring him toys and follow him everywhere. But Felix is not known for being a calm and mellow fellow. 90lb of raw energy has its drawbacks, especially when paired with Rudy’s fragility. Juggling their individual needs was not exactly a piece of cake. Which is a shame, because I love cake.

Now, I already felt over-whelmed, overly emotional and struggling under the weight of my world. I …should’ve worked out more.
All this considered, the next part of the story goes to show I am not always the sharpest knife in the drawer. If I can float a defense- it’s that my heart is in the right place.  So, without further ado, let me introduce Nessie and give a sideways glance in the direction of fate. Something I hadn’t bargained for.

On a freezing December morning, we were driving through our neighborhood when a puppy ran across the road in front of the car. We probably should have said something careless like ‘oh dear, another stray dog’ and kept on driving- but like I said, fate had gotten involved. I had already jumped out of the car to say hello before my brain had a chance to give my instincts a good talking to. Anyway, my intention was to check the puppy’s tag and return it to the rightful owner. Simple, no?  Well, after an enthusiastic hug from the muddy scrap, she assured me she did not belong to a good home and was actually half starved, freezing, and dying for some affection (plus, in my humble opinion- A BATH).

Extremely long story shortish, I cleaned her up, took her to the vet to see if she was micro-chipped (of course she was not), got her puppy shots and found out that she was not about 8 weeks old- as I had surmised- but in fact about 6 months and horribly underfed. Clearly this was not a good time for us to welcome a third dog into the family, so we set about finding her a good home.

 Which. Just. Would. Not. Happen.

And look at this face! How could anybody resist? But resist they did. So we were stuck with her for now. Or she was stuck with us. We were a mess too, after all.

We tried every avenue we could think of- short of dropping her off at the animal shelter. That also would have been a bright idea I suppose but I’m stubborn as a mule sometimes, and drew the line an inch before the shelter. Sorry, Forrest…but don’t you love me for my compassion? No wait, it’s my cooking . Maybe my accent. Fine then, but try not to forget that you love me. (please).

So it’s Christmas time. Forrest’s parents are coming into town. My sister and bro-in-law are coming to stay (with their dogs). We have a sick Rudy. An energetic Felix. A very un-housetrained Nessie.  And don’t forget the turtle. I aimed a few prayers in the direction of the sky.

It transpired that the holiday may not have been an elegant affair, but there was certainly no shortage of jollity. And here is Nessie, celebrating her first Christmas with us. Some things just make you feel good, don’t they?

 (Let’s not forget Rudy and Felix. Handsomest dogs on Earth!):

I know this all looks like a foregone conclusion, but I really was still intent on finding Nessie a new home. In the meantime, she had Rudy and Felix wrapped around her tiny paw with her sweet and friendly demeanor. She also inhaled every morsel of boring food in her bowl, which is just what my soul needed while Rudy continued to turn his nose up at steak. Basically, she was having a ball, relishing her role as Cuddlebug-in-Chief and she pulled out all the stops to make us want to keep her.

It sure is hard to contain this story in a nutshell. But let me skip forward to February. My persuasive talents and Nessie’s innate cuteness were a winning combination, as it turned out. Forrest’s parents had been won over (or worn down!) and decided they would like to keep Nessie in the family. If we were willing to deliver her to California, then they would happily adopt her.
So here we are. Giving the bank account a kick in the shins (again) and planning a trip to California. Good sense be gone, I have no time for you.
Three dogs, two humans, a lot of anxious planning, and a road trip.  California here we come.

 (I realize that was two months ago. The rest to follow…)


  1. You did the right thing, hope Rudy gets well soon.

  2. Frustrating that he wouldn't eat sounds delicious to me!