Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas to St. Nick

Husband (I'm sure he hates being called "husband") and I do work for a rescue group called SPIN - Saving Pyrs in Need. This group rescues and rehabs Great Pyrenees and adopts them out to good homes across the United States.

The day before Christmas Eve, we got a call about a pyr in east Texas, almost to Shreveport. This "girl" had been abandoned and was in pretty sorry shape. You name it, "she" had it - mange, stinky, emaciated, running eyes, worms, who knows if "she" had heart worms. We were sent a photo of this awful looking dog in a cage and of course, we were moved. Carl (aka "husband") said we would go to east Texas to get her if someone could foster. Looks like Angel would have a good Christmas after all.

Well, Christmas eve, we get in the car and head east. I've brought along a couple of small packages of cookies, a leash and blankets for our newest rescue. We get to the shelter, the worker lets us in, and brings to use the most God-awful looking and smelling BOY pyr either one of us has ever seen.

I swear, when I saw him. I wanted to cry so badly. About a year old, this boy was practically bald, his skin all crusty and scabby, he smelled to high heaven. And yet, he was the most polite and GRATEFUL boy ever. I opened a package of cookies and gave them to him on the spot. It was like he hadn't eaten in a while - his ribs and hipbones were sticking straight out of him.

Carl took him out of the shelter to walk him while I did the paperwork. Come to find out this pyr was basically abandoned, yet still technically "owned" - we were kidnapping this boy so he could not be returned to his "owners." God bless this shelter for allowing us to do this.

We got this little body of bones into the truck and headed back to Dallas. We stopped a couple of times to let him potty. Clumps of hair were literally falling off his body. I took Carl's knife and cut off this HUGE clump that was hanging by a couple of strands of hair. He looked at me gratefully, like I was cutting off a huge piece of his past.

We fed him cookies, jerky and slim jims on the ride home, all the way driving with the windows wide open. He would hang his face out of the window, always facing forward - he never once looked back. I don't believe he ever sat on the drive home. Between looking out the windows, he would lay his head on husband's shoulder, and then on mine, or he would come and ask for a scratch under the chin - the only place that seemed safe to touch him. The rest of him was so cracked and crusty and bleeding. His eyes were framed by ancient looking scabbed-over skin in deep folds - there was literally no fat, no waste on this dog anywhere. But his eyes - oh his eyes were SO happy looking - like he knew something better was about to happen.

We got him to Cindy's house, where he will be staying. When Love saw him, she started to cry. There has never been a pyr this bad taken in to the group before. Oh they have seen some bad ones, but this one was so pitiful.

Love gave him his shots, a bunch of pills, a bowl of food and water. I looked around and took some animal cookies from a jar and gave them to him. He took them gently, one by one, eating them and looking for more.

He began to feel safer and made himself at home on Cindy's couch. Love said she was going to try to give this boy a bath - he smelled SO bad. There was infection all over him.

There were a bunch of emails flying back and forth amongst the group about what to call this "girl." Of course, now that we found out he is a BOY, my suggestion was Beautiful Joe - after the dog in the book of the same name (if you have a chance, read it - it will break your heart and then restore it). But I guess I was overruled.

So little Nick woke up today in a warm house, with food in his belly and antibiotics flowing through his system. He might be the ugliest pyr right now, but give him time. He's going to be one Beautiful Joe.

Merry Christmas, Nick. Thank you for letting us be a little part of your story.