Shelter – part 4

© Karla McLaren 2014

As the third round of the greet-and-treat begins, I change my normal pathway through the kennels, and crouch down and whisper to the dogs I treat on my way down the T-leg toward Nana’s – so that she can’t see me coming. As I reach her kennel, still crouched down, I catch her, standing up and peering over her wall, waiting for me. I speak quietly as I stand up, “Hello, you criminal!” and Nana makes a noise that sounds just like Scooby Doo getting caught with a sandwich, “oirp?” Hah! She drops down from her perch, sits properly and quietly, and looks at me with sparkling eyes. ”Good girl Nana, down,” I say. I throw my voice a bit to the dogs near her who are unusually quiet, for once, “Down and quiet, good dog!” Nearly everyone in Nana’s area gets a third-round treat today (for the first time), and as I pass her on my way back, I give her another treat, the outlaw.

The third round goes well, with more than half of the dogs figuring out all three behaviors: seated, still, and quiet. It’s still very noisy; we have a lot of new dogs who are afraid and riled up – but even in the midst of the noise, many dogs are getting the picture and learning how to calm themselves in spite of the clamor. As I continue through the shelter, I take a moment at Peaches’ kennel: the little sweetie has mastered two out of three behaviors. She’s quiet and calm, but she’s still down on the floor, and I don’t actually think she can sit, so I open her kennel door. I carry a leash with me in case dogs need to come out of their kennels for some reason during the greet-and-treats, but I don’t think Peaches can walk, so I close myself in her kennel with her to see what’s going on.

Peaches lifts her head happily and then flips over on her tummy and wriggles nearer to me, and I sit down to be with her. Peaches is a love: soft, cuddly, and wanting to be picked up. As I lift her, she struggles a bit to get herself into my arms, and she curls up like a baby, nuzzling and kissing me. I hug her and kiss her, and talk sweet nonsense to her as I run my free hand over her legs and feet: her front legs seem normal, but both of her back legs are floppy, and they have almost no muscle tone. They’re also pointing backward, which explains her seal movements and her inability to sit. I also gently palpate her umbilical hernia, and she doesn’t yelp or pull away, so it doesn’t seem to be hurting her. I wonder why she’s up front instead of back with Jake and Milton, but she’s so adorable that I think the staff is hoping she’ll be adopted before they start on her surgeries. If I could have a dog, I would totally take Peaches; I think they’ve made a good call.

After a few minutes of kissing and snuggling, I leave Peaches with extra treats and let myself out of her kennel. All of the dogs nearby have been quiet and patient as they watched me in Peaches’ kennel (including, unbelievably, the terriers), so they all get another treat. I head back to the chained-off area, but I see Brandon (one of the staff behaviorists) there, uh oh. He’s taking one of the other T dogs out into the private training area to check her temperament. I hope he doesn’t see the treats I gave Milton, oy.

I loiter around the chain and wait for Brandon to take his T dog outside. When he does, I duck under the chain and peer into Milton’s kennel, and I don’t see any treats – not the one on the blanket, and not the one on the bottom of the kennel door where I left it, whew. However, I also don’t see Milton, and I feel a bit of panic – did they take him? I call to him and kneel down to peer through the small opening that leads to his run, but I don’t see him. I look for Jake, but he’s not in his kennel either. I run (okay, I walk quickly but calmly, so the dogs won’t start barking again) back through the kennels, into the back rooms, past the laundry room overflowing with blankets, towels, and dog beds, and into the small room where the animals are euthanized. The room is empty, and Milton isn’t anywhere. I can’t shake my dread.

I walk back out into the kennels and head to the private training area to ask Brandon what happened, but when I get outside, I see him with Milton, who’s off leash and playing (!) in the sunshine with the female T dog. I feel a huge sense of relief, but I play it cool, “Oh hey, you’ve got Milton out again.” Brandon answers, but keeps his focus on the dogs, “Yeah, he’s such a smart dog that it didn’t feel right, redlining him. It was bugging me all night, and today he seemed to get that he had another chance.” I watch Milton running around, twisting, playing, and chasing the other dog, and they begin running around in circles, racing, faking each other out, and escaping from each other. I become a base in their game of tag, and Milton circles me twice before running off, happily engrossed in the game. I stand where I am, breathing deeply. Vast mountains of laundry call to me, but I turn my smiling face to the sun for a moment, and let the tears fall.

for part 1:
for part 2:
for part 3:

for all Untold Animal Stories:

Karla McLaren is a pioneering educator and award-winning author whose empathic approach to emotions revalues even the most “negative” emotions, and opens startling new pathways into the depths of the soul. She is the author of The Art of Empathy: A Complete Guide to Life’s Most Essential Skill, the trailblazing book The Language of Emotion: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You, and the interactive online course Emotional Flow. Karla has taught at such venues as the University of San Francisco, Naropa University, Kripalu, and the Association for Humanistic Psychology. She is currently developing new forms of empathy and social interaction curricula for neurologically diverse people.

The Art of Empathy

What if there were a single skill that could radically improve your relationships and your life? Empathy, teaches empathic pioneer Karla McLaren, is that skill. In The Art of Empathy: A Complete Guide to Life’s Most Essential Skill, McLaren presents her groundbreaking model of The Six Essential Aspects of Empathy to help you understand and nurture healthy empathy in every part of your life.  Informed by four decades of empathic experience, plus current insights from neuroscience, social science, the arts, and healing traditions, The Art of Empathy teaches you how to become a healthy and happy empathic presence in a world that needs you.

Shelter – part 3

© Karla McLaren 2014

Milton’s behavior in round two is interesting.  He has moved very far away from the untouched treat I placed on the left side of his blanket, and he sits very still on the rightmost side of the front of his kennel, staring fixedly, straight ahead.  I sneak some sideways glances at him from my kneeling position.  He’s a very handsome boy with a Doberman’s black and brown coloring, but his body shape and size is closer to a Beagle’s.  He’s a fit, compact little guy, with a clean short coat and healthy skin and paws.  I know that he hasn’t been given a bath here at the shelter (no one has time), so he’s clearly very careful about his own hygiene.  Very self-contained.  Milton’s body language interests me, because even in the confines of his kennel, he has many choices.  If he really didn’t want to see me, he could simply go outside in his run, and effectively disappear.  He could also curl up against the wall and present his back to me.  He could push the treat outside his kennel, tear up his blankets, or rush the kennel door and bark menacingly.  But he does none of these truly antisocial things.  Instead, Milton has entered into a relationship with me – and in all honesty, I think he’s trying to teach me manners.

I continue to kneel, and I watch Milton out of the corner of my eye.  His eyes do not seek mine, but his stare has changed from the beady malevolence of our first meeting to a more relaxed yet determined stare.  If we were humans, and if we were looking at each other, this would be a staring contest.  But with Milton in charge, it’s a not-staring contest, and Milton is in it for the duration.  I can see Jake in the next kennel, sitting patiently and quietly, but getting antsy as he waits for me, and I wonder about my next move in Milton’s dance.  I wonder if I should take the offending treat away, but I think that would be a mistake.  It was a gift, which means it belongs to him now. And though he hasn’t eaten it, he is using it to communicate with me.  I don’t want to make the wrong move.

If I were a dog, Milton’s determined stare of avoidance would mean that I had broken a social rule.  My response, if I didn’t want to get into a fight, would be to cease my incorrect behavior and make myself small and subordinate.  I wondered if this would be a good thing.  At the shelter, we’re supposed to position ourselves as the lead dogs in this pack, but I grew up with animals who knew with absolute certainty that they were the real leaders.  My brother’s brilliant dog, Johann, pretty much trained himself and looked after my sisters and brothers as if he were our uncle.  My cat Sofia, who learned to open doors and turn on faucets, lived life on her own terms.  Or my little bonsai stray, Kiku, who had every disease known to felinity and never grew much larger than a kitten, yet who taught herself to use her litter box, to put herself to bed every night, and to understand all the intricate rules of human-cat wrestling.

I felt that Johann, Sofia, and Kiku would be offended by the shelter’s training methods, even though these methods were humane and respectful for most animals. These three were self-contained animals, very self-aware, and extremely quick to decipher all the rules of the house and human relationships.  I wondered if Milton was this kind of animal, and if he had had the extremely bad luck to have an owner who treated him like a knucklehead, which to be fair, some dogs truly are.  I wondered if Milton was not so much hateful and dangerous as he was affronted by treatment that did not respect his innate intelligence and his dignity.

I made a decision. I looked up and down the kennel rows to make sure no staff person was around, and I lay down on the cold cement walkway in front of Milton and curled my head in supplication.  I waited for a few seconds, and then reached my hand gently toward Milton’s kennel door – not touching it, but asking if I could.  I peered up at Milton, and he looked down his nose at me for a long second, then looked away, off to the left.  I looked in that direction, too.  I touched my side of the metal frame of his kennel door – I didn’t put my hand inside.  Milton didn’t look back at me, but he slowly reached out with his left paw and touched the frame on his side.  We weren’t looking at each other, and we weren’t touching, but we were both looking in the same direction and touching the same door frame, and we had reached some kind of compromise in Milton’s world.

I didn’t want to break the mood, but I was cruising for a bruising from the staff if I got caught here – especially if I got caught letting a dog take what the staff saw as a dominant role.  So I whispered, “Thank you Milton – you’re a good dog,” and I slowly placed a new treat on the bottom frame of Milton’s kennel door, between his paw and mine. I got to my knees slowly and crawled to Jake’s kennel.  The poor sweetie had been waiting very patiently, so I patted him through the kennel bars, scratched his long ears, and gave him two treats, and then went further into the chained-off area.  On my way back out, I lowered my head when I got to Milton’s kennel.  I didn’t look at him, but I whispered, “I love you Milton. You’re a very good dog.”

The third round through is the final training moment before I start walking specific dogs, doing mountains of kennel laundry, or working in the cat annex.  In the first two rounds, I had established myself as someone to look forward to, and I had given all of the dogs some idea of correct behaviors (and two almost free treats).  This time, the treats have a real cost – the dogs have to be seated, still, and quiet, and almost isn’t rewarded on the third pass.  Many dogs get very excited and begin to bark as I near them, but I make eye contact, raise my finger to my lips, shake my head, and say, “NO, quiet.”

to be continued next week…

for part 1:
for part 2:

Karla McLaren is a pioneering educator and award-winning author whose empathic approach to emotions revalues even the most “negative” emotions, and opens startling new pathways into the depths of the soul. She is the author of The Art of Empathy: A Complete Guide to Life’s Most Essential Skill, the trailblazing book The Language of Emotion: What Your Feelings Are Trying to Tell You, and the interactive online course Emotional Flow. Karla has taught at such venues as the University of San Francisco, Naropa University, Kripalu, and the Association for Humanistic Psychology. She is currently developing new forms of empathy and social interaction curricula for neurologically diverse people.

The Art of Empathy

What if there were a single skill that could radically improve your relationships and your life? Empathy, teaches empathic pioneer Karla McLaren, is that skill. In The Art of Empathy: A Complete Guide to Life’s Most Essential Skill, McLaren presents her groundbreaking model of The Six Essential Aspects of Empathy to help you understand and nurture healthy empathy in every part of your life.  Informed by four decades of empathic experience, plus current insights from neuroscience, social science, the arts, and healing traditions, The Art of Empathy teaches you how to become a healthy and happy empathic presence in a world that needs you

Ollie & Spuds – Chapter 2

(continued from previous post)   The cat’s name is Spuds.  The old man she’d lived with thought she looked like the color of yellow Finn potatoes.  He’d pulled her as a kitten out from under a bramble—mewing and shaking—on a busy roadside.  He gently stroked her fur with large, rough hands, looked into her gold-green eyes, and took her home.

Spuds had a life of luxury with him: curled up on the rug by the wood stove in winter, lounging on a sunny perch on the screened-in porch in the summer watching red cardinals and blue birds.  Spuds liked the old man, a lot; they understood each other.  But one morning when she went up to his room to remind him it was feeding time, something was different.  She jumped up on the bed and stood on his chest and peered at him.  She could sense him, but he wasn’t in there his body.  She called out to him.  Then she saw him in her mind’s eye, and his eyes were dazzling.  Then he receded and was gone.

Four days passed before anyone came to the house.  By then Spuds had clawed her way through the bag of cat food and found that fresh toilet water wasn’t completely undrinkable.

People came then, many of them, people who had never come before.  They pawed the old man’s possessions, argued with each other, and carried things out of the house.  Spuds watched.  A woman noticed the cat and picked her up, bangle bracelets clanging together, and put Spuds outside.  Spuds sniffed at the air, then turned to go back inside.  The woman blocked Spuds’ way with a well-shod foot.  “You’re free now kitty, go away.”

Spuds looked for a long while at the closed door.  Then she walked down the driveway and before turning onto the road, looked back at the house.  The windows glinted empty and cold in the sun.
Ollie & Spuds will be continued

Chapter 1:

Chapter 3:

Ollie & Spuds – Chapter 1

There is a lane I recall, somewhere deep in dim memory.  I see it snow covered and winding and edged by black trees.  It is the way home.  I never returned there.
© 2014 Carolyn Cott

He lifts his nose to the wind and sniffs.  Something new.  With his head still resting on his paws, he opens his eyes and sees a flash of a ginger-colored cat, skinny and in pursuit of something, at the far end of the alley. red cat from free digital

Ollie climbs out from under a pile of rags and cardboard and stretches, keeping an eye on the cat.  The cat pounces and misses as the mouse leaps into a small hole in the brick wall and disappears.  The cat saunters into the one ray of sunlight angling between the tall buildings, sits down and begins washing herself.  The sun sparks on her ginger-colored fur.  Her movements are measured and deliberate.  Her eyes are slits, but she sees, she knows he is there.  She is watching.

It’s been three days now that the cat has appeared in his alley.  He thinks of it as his alley because he’s been there how long now?  Maybe two months, maybe four.  He remembers coming there.  There was snow.

The man had hunched over the steering wheel, his jaw set.  Ollie wanted to enjoy the car ride, but something was very wrong.  The kids weren’t there, although the back seat smelled vaguely of peanut butter.  The woman wasn’t there.  She had cried and stroked his fur before the man unchained him and yanked him toward the car.  The woman had whispered something to the man, who swung around toward her, his teeth clenched, saying, “No.  No.”

The man stopped the car on a deserted street.  He looked both ways before opening the back seat door, pulled Ollie out by the scruff of the neck, and sped off.

Ollie ran after the car as it moved farther and farther away, turned, and was gone.  He memorized the place where the car had turned.  It might be important.  Panting, he sat down, only then noticing the coldness of the snow.  He looked around.  The sun had just risen, casting chilly light on the faces of the buildings.  There were no people.  A tattered awning blew in the wind. A spear of an icicle crashed onto the sidewalk.

For two days Ollie ate only snow to quench his thirst, but it made him shiver.  He wandered the streets, looking for a familiar landmark and searching for food.  Then he found the alley.  It smelled of garbage and food.

Ollie tucked himself behind a stack of wooden palettes and waited.  A man in a stained apron pushed his way out a door and heaved a luscious-smelling bag into a dumpster.  When the door clanged shut behind the man, Ollie scampered up a pile of cinder blocks and bricks, dropped down into the dumpster, tore at the bag with his teeth, and ate.

He fell into a routine, wandering the streets in the night and returning to his alley in the early morning when cars and people came into the streets.  He had learned it was not good to be out when people were on the streets.  There was an afternoon when the boys chased him: chubby-cheeked, dressed in blue uniforms, with book bags dragging behind them, they ran after him pitching stones at him.  Most whistled past, but one hit.  He yelped and slowed down, and the boys laughed.  They were almost upon him when he ran again, cutting across a busy road and turning a corner to lose them.  Returning to his alley exhausted and thirsty, he went to the low depression in the concrete at the base of a downspout looking for water, where a small puddle remained.  Then he curled up into the tightest ball he could, and slept.

Ollie & Spuds…to be continued

Chapter 2:

photo by Dan courtesy of


as told by Kim Kemple Cott

winkWink came into our lives one day when my mom, Helen, was attempting to adopt a different dog than Wink.  Six months after her rescue dog, Zac the Vizsla, passed on, my mom starting looking with very specific criteria: the dog had to be a small, manageable size and had to be a rescue.

I’d been helping her search for a month by contacting local SPCAs and humane societies and by checking on (as of this writing, is featuring 332,076 adoptable pets from 13,476 adoption groups nationwide).  The right dog hadn’t shown up yet.

A friend suggested we try a particular rescue organization in the next county over.  I called my mom, picked her up, and we headed out there.  We got lost en route, stopped to ask for directions, were given directions to a different rescue, and got lost again.  After getting lost a third, time, we asked a police officer.  He wasn’t sure where the rescue was but said that he’d find out.  He pointed us the right way and we arrived after having wandered through much of the county.

We walked up and down the aisles, drawn by so many sweet animals.  We settled on a little brown dog and went to the front desk to provide them with the kennel cage number.  While we were waiting in line, my mom noticed a small black dog sitting in the office of one of the shelter workers.  My mom and I looked at each other, both somehow knowing: this was the dog.  My mom asked about him and was told he was up for adoption; he’d just had his eye removed the day before (kids had beaten him  and he was found lying under a front porch).  One of the shelter workers had taken a particular interest in this Pomeranian/Chihuahua mix, named him Eduardo, and cared for him personally.

As part of the shelter’s adoption process, my mom’s landlord had to be called to verify that he allowed pets.  He was unreachable.  This was a problem, because we really, really wanted to take the dog home that day.  We explained to the shelter worker that the landlord had already given verbal permission, that my mom had a previous rescue dog living there, etc.  The worker looked into my mom’s eyes, then into mine and said she’d be back shortly.  We waited anxiously.wink black and white

She came back, stacking the adoption papers into a tidy pile, saying, “Everything is in order,” and winking at us.  We smiled conspiratorially, signed the papers, picked up the pup, and headed home.

He was tentative and scared at first, but well behaved, and he bonded quickly with my mom and me.  Mom named this sweet creature Wink.  She took him everywhere to help him socialize with people and dogs.  So many people were kind to him.

One day my mom took him into a consignment shop.  The shopkeeper said, “We don’t allow animals in our store.”  Mom smiled warmly, leaned in, and said, “I know, and isn’t it so nice that you let me bring him in here.”

•   With so many good, adoptable pets available—and with an average of 1 in 4 pets in humane societies nationwide being purebreds—why not consider adoption rather than supporting the supply-demand cycle of pet breeding.

•   From the American Humane Society: It is a common myth that pet overpopulation means there are “not enough” homes for all the shelter animals. In reality, there are more than enough homes, but not enough people are choosing to adopt from a shelter. Seventeen million Americans acquire a new pet each year—more than double the number of shelter animals. Only 3.5 million people, or about 20 percent, choose to adopt their new pet. The rest choose to buy their pets from pet stores or breeders, or they choose a variety of other cheap or free sources. 

Despite increased public awareness over the past 40 years about the need to spay and neuter pets, 35 percent of pet owners in the U.S. still choose not to do so. Many among this group intentionally choose to breed their pets, either for profit or for what they mistakenly believe to be a “fun” experience. Others choose not to spay or neuter out of ignorance, believing that their pets won’t breed accidentally.

Animal-Speak and Other Joys

IMG_2134 At the close of the year, I sit quietly, a cup of tea in hand and two cats nearby, and reflect back on the year.  What has been steady and true for me throughout the year is my family, my dearest, oldest friends, and my animals.  Each brings joy, peace, and comfort in their own way, and I’m deeply grateful for them.

The ones I spend the most time with—because I work at home as a writer—are my cats, Gracie and Mr. Bean.  Mr. Bean, who was infamously IMG_1924chronicled in the four-part “I Was Born on an Amish Farm in the Middle of Winter,”  blog post (several posts down, September 2013), is transforming gradually from over-the-top rambunctiously biting and playful to a more dignified, loving version of himself.  Even Gracie tacitly approves of him from time to time.

Gracie, though, I think she might be something akin to enlightened.  She is consistent in her loving behavior, and she never says an unkind word, so to speak, to anyone.  I suspect she sees things as they are, and despite what others might do, she acts unwaveringly in alignment with the principles of kindness, acceptance, and generosity of soul.  IMG_0072

IMG_0882A home with a pet feels different from a home without pets.  To me, homes without can feel spacious, but the space has a stillness and emptiness.  A home with a pet feels friendlier, fuller, as if the very air has love in it.  Animals give so much.  There are the antics, which amuse; the unconditional affection, which satisfies; the steady presence, which brings comfort; and, of course, the opportunity to do animal-speak.

If you don’t have a pet and are reading this, you’ll think the lot of us are certifiably nuts.  If you have a pet, I’m willing to guess that you do animal-speak:  the animal does something, and you provide the narrative of their thoughts and actions, in a slightly different voice than your own.

Animals have a different sort of wisdom than we do—one that is un-derailed by thinking and believing our own thoughts.  They trust their instincts above all else, seeing clearly beyond any veil of pretense and delusion to the heart of the matter.  These “lesser” beings, to some, have much to teach us.IMG_1873

Happy Holidays

Santa Hat & Dog courtesy of photostock and

Santa Hat & Dog courtesy of photostock and

Thank you to our Untold Animal Stories supporters, guest bloggers, and all those who take the time and care to treat animals with kindness.

Merry merry to all of you and your furry friends.


by Keith Barnaby*

securedownloadMy name is Lars. I used to be an outdoor cat. My people would let me out to roam my domain, explore, and hunt. Over time, other outdoor cats came and went in my neighborhood. I was friends with some, especially Shadow, another young male. We played and teamed up to defend against other cats who entered our lands.

One day Shadow disappeared, and his people brought home another cat, an unspayed female. She had many kittens, the kittens had kittens, and their ranks grew exponentially. Pretty soon there were lots of cats. Unlike Shadow, the young males didn’t like me and my life changed.

Now when I crossed onto Shadow’s and my old lands, I was the one being attacked. I fought but was bitten badly. My face swelled and my people took me to a man who made me feel better.

Why I returned to Shadow’s lands, I do not know. Why I stood my ground and fought the cats instead of avoiding a fight I could not win, I do not know, but I did so repeatedly. And this time I was hurt worse than ever before.

Once I healed, my people kept me inside. They made a new room for me on the side of my house with soft walls through which I can smell and see birds and passing cats. One day a cat came too close. I hissed and lunged, forgetting about the see-through wall. I bounced off it backward. The cat was so surprised he ran away. I acted like I meant to do it, and licked my paw in a dignified manner. Taught him!

I don’t mind being an indoor cat. My people put a little swinging flap in the front door so I can go out to my special outside room any kitty DSC01014time. When I see a bird, I crouch low, stare, and think, “One, two, three…gotcha!” Then I curl up and go to sleep.

A 2013 Nature Communications study estimated that outdoor cats kill more than 1.4 billion birds annually.  To protect wildlife—and your cats—please keep them indoors.

*Keith Barnaby owns and helps seniors and their families save money, time, and pain with a flexible, customized elder life plan.

Angela Bassett Hound

by Cherie Damron (co-founder of Untold Animal Stories)

718848917_c1ad164ee0A few years ago I moved back to the small town in rural NC where I grew up.  I started volunteering at the local animal shelter, photographing adoptable dogs and cats for the shelter’s site and the “Pet of the Week” feature in the local paper.  I’ve always had a soft spot for seniors and animals with special needs, shy pets, and animals needing assistance.  I started a small rescue service, taking as many of the dogs as I could that weren’t likely to be put up for adoption, finding foster homes for them or working with other rescues outside of the area (usually in the northeast).

One day in May 2007, Animal Control was called to come and pick up Angela, a 6-year old female basset hound, and take her to be put down.  Her back legs had become paralyzed and she was unable to walk or urinate on her own.  Had Angela gone to the shelter, she would have been immediately euthanized (there is no “hold period” for owner surrenders of high-needs/unadoptable pets).

The Animal Control officer knew I loved hounds and called me as she was leaving Angela’s house to see if I were willing to take her.  I met the truck before it arrived at the shelter and took Angela directly to our veterinarian.  He explained the surgery that was needed, which had to be done at a specialty hospital, and left it up to me and my partner, John, to make our decision.  There was no decision to make for me, and when John looked into those big, sad basset eyes as Angela sat crumpled in the corner of the exam room, he knew we were about to embark on a very expensive, difficult mission.

Off we went to the Veterinary Specialty Hospital in Cary, NC.  Doc called ahead to schedule surgery to correct the two ruptured disk in her spine.  The surgery had to take place within 24 hours of injury or the likelihood of her walking again would be slim.  Angela was taken in to surgery that night.

Angela came through the surgery very well, although bloodwork revealed that she is Heartworm Positive and has antibodies for both Erlichiosis and Rocky Mtn. Spotted Fever, 2 tick-borne diseases.  I brought her home from the hospital two days later.  Angela was still unable to walk or urinate on her own at that time; however, she had no problem wagging her tail!

By Day 4 Angela was going to the bathroom on her own and there was very slight movement in each of her back legs. By Day 9 she was still unable to support her weight or walk without a sling, but there was a great deal of movement in her legs and she “pedalled” in the air as if she were walking.567079651_8e08b6735f

Exactly three weeks after surgery, Angela took a few steps on her own without the assistance of the sling.  Five days later, she was walking completely unassisted by a sling, and although slightly wobbly, she was able to stand still and support herself without swaying from side to side.

A week later Angela had a setback—she became depressed, lethargic, and stopped eating entirely.  She had a temperature of 105.5, and a full-blown case of Erlichiosis.  Four days of hospitalization, IV fluids, and antibiotics later, she was on the mend but fragile.

567089635_de0fba56ecShe came through that, completed her Heartworm treatment, and just prior to her spay surgery, Angela’s teats started growing and she began “nesting” type behavior. There was no possibility of pregnancy, as she hadn’t been in contact with any except my pets, and mine were all neutered.  Our vet suspected a “pseudo-pregnancy,” which I had never even heard of.  We went ahead with the spay surgery and the pseudo-pregnancy was confirmed.

Finally the medical procedures were done and Angela could start being a dog.  Throughout her recovery her personality blossomed.  Angela Bassett Hound has become a fun, happy lady with a huge voice and a very, very big heart.  She loves everyone she meets.  Now, 6 1/2 years after her surgery, at almost 13 years old, Angela has moved across country twice, attended Basset Tea Parties” with founders, and although she is slowing down a bit, she now loves to run and play on the beaches of Cape Cod.  I am so very grateful that I’ve had the chance to have this wonderful being in my life.2011 11 26_0270

2011 11 26_0257