Let me start by saying when I originally sought out Chance, I was uninformed about backyard breeders. I am now informed, and won't take that route anymore. Here is why:
The Second Chance Pup
“Are we crazy?”
We already had 3 dogs. And 2 cats and a couple fish at that. Erik, my fiancée, his brother, and I lived in a small 3 bedroom rental house. Sure it had a nice backyard, opening up to a beautiful country club golf course. But we really didn’t need another dog. Yet here we were, driving home, 7 week old German shepherd puppy on my lap. But how could I leave him behind in such an awful place?
We went to the local shelter, actually took out a puppy and played with her. She was a black lab mix, adorable, but not what we were looking for. We wanted a chocolate lab originally, but they were too expensive. We loved German Shepherds, but they seemed even pricier. Until I saw the ad in the paper: German Shepherd puppies, 6 wks, purebred, shots- $150.00. We got to the house, a small house, not in the nicest of neighborhoods. He led us into the backyard, past the, "Beware of Dog "sign. The backyard was dirt, just pure, rock hard, dirt. 2 older German Shepherds ran into the corner of the yard, where a large shed provided what I could only assume was the dog’s only source of shelter. A large, intact pit-bull slowly crept by me and Erik. “Get outta here, go!” The man yelled, and the pit-bull ran away, taking shelter in one of the sheds. It was then that I saw him. This tiny, little, helpless puppy ran out from under a big table, saw us, and ran back under. It was right then that I fell in love. I went over to him, bent down, and picked him up. He was dirty, and skinny. “You could use a couple cheeseburgers!” I said. “Nah, he’s just lazy,” replied the man. We decided on the spot we wanted him. I could tell something was bugging this guy, and I was anxious to get him home, clean him up, and give him his first good meal in his new home. I carried him out to the car, and thanked the man. The puppy’s little body was pressed against mine, his neck stretched out. I could tell he was scared. This poor guy had no idea what the next week would entail.
On the drive home, he pretty much just sat there. He smelled terrible, and his entire body was just caked with mud. He needed more than just a good bath. His small ribs poked out from underneath his filthy fur. His ears smelt foul, and they seemed caked with dark dirt. He vomited on me twice on the way home; thankfully I was holding him with a towel, so I stayed dry. We got him home, and he vomited again. I figured he had just gotten carsick, but when I woke up the next morning to his vomiting and he had soiled the carpet pretty bad, I figured I had better take him to the vet.
It was a Sunday, so most vets were closed. The only vet open, was at the local pet store. I showed up at 9:45, they opened at 10:00 am. I told the receptionist I wanted to be the first walk in appointment. And I was. At 12:35, my name was finally called. We went back into the exam room. The vet’s assistant had a sad look on her face. I started telling her what was wrong with him, but she interrupted me and said, “I want to do a parvo test.” Parvo? I hadn’t even thought of parvo. Canine Parvovirus- a contagious disease of dogs caused by a parvovirus and marked by fever, loss of appetite, and diarrhea. What if my puppy, my poor innocent puppy, had parvo? Would he live? Would he die? Would my other dogs catch it? What did I get myself into? All these thoughts were circling through my head when the vet’s assistant brought me back to earth. “We’ll take a fecal sample, test it, and see. The test takes 10 minutes, and we will go from there.” She took the test, and we waited. Petting the puppy, talking about where I had got him, and how dirty he was. 2 minutes into our small talk, she said, “Okay, it’s already coming up positive.” The next 7 days were a blur.
In a matter of minutes, the puppy was in the back, hooked up to an I.V. He was getting fluids, and antibiotics dripped into his veins. His ears were picked of the 6 tics that were making their homes down towards his ear canal. His poor, helpless body stayed like that for the next week. During the day, he stayed there. Over night I transferred him to an emergency clinic. When I went to pick him up to transfer him, they said, “Are you here for Pup?” (He still didn’t have a name.) “Yes,” I said. “But could you change the name in his file to Chance?” It was the perfect name for him. Every day I visited him. Every day, the bills grew more and more. He went into the hospital on Sunday, and by Thursday he was not doing well. He’d had 2 blood plasma transfusions, and was on fluids 24 hours a day. He wasn’t keeping down any food, and he would barely even get up to go to the bathroom. Other parvo patients were in and out in the amount of time Chance was taking to even show a slight sign of improvement.
By Thursday night I was getting ready to have to say goodbye to the little puppy I had come to love so much. I gave him a kiss and I left, promising to be back in the morning. That night at 10:30, before I went to bed, I called the hospital. “Great news!” she said. “Chance ate and he kept it down!” It was small, but it was an improvement. I fell asleep with a smile on my face that night. Friday morning, I called the hospital on my way to work. “Chance will be coming home soon, he is doing so well! He is eating, and drinking, and howling his tiny little head off asking for attention!” After work I visited him and I just held him and cried. My tiny puppy was finally coming home! Saturday afternoon, I was driving home from work, speeding, just wanting to get home and see him. Erik had gone to pick him up earlier, and given him a bath, and now I was just anxious to see him. I got home, and there he was. My puppy, now 8 weeks old, yipping and yapping at me to pick him up. The vet said that by me visiting every day it gave him something to look forward to. It gave me something too. It gave me a bond with Chance that he will never outgrow, even if he gets to be 100 pounds! He will always be my little helpless baby boy. And I’ll always be his mom, the one person who saw through the dirt, and the tics, and the dehydration, the person who saw a helpless little puppy- and gave him a second Chance.