This boy came to us a couple of weeks ago from an animal control officer in Vermont. Sparky's owners recently went to jail, where they will be staying for a long, long time, and the remaining family did not want any of the dogs left behind. As the animal control officer told me on the phone, "There's no reason this dog should lose his life just because his owners did something really stupid."
Sparky is blind and had spent much of his life tied up to a mobile home. He was emaciated when he arrived, and we thought he also had hip dysplasia because of how he walked. He wasn't neutered, either. He was so thin we wondered if he wasn't in kidney failure or had cancer of some sort. We took him to our vet clinic in Whitefield for a complete work-up and neutering. While his blood work looked fine, including his kidney values, our vet, Dr. Chris Plumley, did not want to neuter Sparky yet because of how thin he was. Chris also didn't think he had hip dysplasia but was suffering from a severe loss of muscle tone -- no doubt from having been tied up on a short chain most of his life.
Right now our main job is just getting weight on Sparky and making sure he gets plenty of exercise. The latter he actually does well on his own, since he is in constant motion in the dog yard. He's mostly border collie and has lots of energy, but not in a hyper kind of way. We think he may just enjoy the freedom to be able to move, move, move -- all day long -- for the first time in his life.
He seems to be blind from retinal atrophy. His eyes are comfortable and "quiet," so that's definitely a plus.
In his first few days here Sparky was almost autistic -- remote and not too sure how to relate to people. He'd act surprised when one of us would stop and pet him, as if this was something new (and who knows, it may have been). But by his third day he had figured out that he liked this. I had kneeled down to make over him, and the next thing I knew, he was trying to climb into my lap and had reached up to lick me in the face several times. It was very quick but determined, and the first real sign of affection we'd seen from him. Ever since, he's been a kisser -- as we'll show you later in this post.
We put Sparky in the dog yard with our other new arrival Bugsy, who has been sharing it with the two blind Beagles Louie and Willie. Bugsy has, as we mentioned in that original blog post, become a total love-bug. While Alayne and I were out getting photos this morning of Sparky -- trying to get him to stand still long enough for a decent shot -- Bugsy kept jumping up at me and wanting to be loved. So here are some photos Alayne took of the love session, including the end when Sparky came into the scene.
First, Bugsy is licking away:
You can see a certain someone's head crop into the frame:
Then Sparky figures out where we are:
And closes in for some loving of his own, while Bugsy (unhappily) realizes competition is at hand:
Sparky starts his own kiss-fest:
But makes the mistake of then nosing Bugsy who is busy trying to kiss me, too:
And that results in Bugsy suddenly snapping at Sparky, sending him scurrying, while I hold on to Bugsy:
The funny thing is that while one dog initially was aggressive towards us, and the other dog was remote when he first came, neither one will leave us alone now when we're with them. Both just can't get enough loving!
Please Vote for the Farm!
The new Shelter Challenge started Monday, April 9 and ends at midnight on June 17. Grand prize in this round is $5,000, plus $1,000 for weekly winners and $1,000 for state winners. There are also other categories ... please see the Shelter Challenge website for details.
*** We are now LISTED UNDER OUR NEW NAME, ROLLING DOG FARM. State is still NH for New Hampshire. ***
Please remember, you can vote every day ... consider bookmarking the voting page to make it easy.
We just won $1,000 as a weekly winner for Week 4 of the last contest, and thousands more in the previous contests. The Shelter Challenge really does bring in a lot of money for the animals here!
You can vote in the Shelter Challenge here.
Thank you for your votes!