Meet the family

You’ve read their stories, now meet the family 🙂

Joey
Pomeranian x Chihuahua
aka “Joe”, “Mr. Joe”, “Gummy Joe”, “Skootch”, “Greybutt”, “Toothless”, “Old Grump”, “Little Whippet”
Born August 2000
Joey was an RSPCA rescue. He was four when I adopted him, and his previous owner had neglected many aspects of his care, not least of which were his nutrition and basic training. To this day, despite my best efforts, he is not fully house-trained.Joey has many issues due to his poor early care, such as bad teeth; six lower front teeth and one upper front tooth have been removed due to damage from poor early nutrition (causing his tongue to continually poke out, which is really cute!) He also suffers from a heart murmur that severely limits exercise … not that HE minds. A walk to the letterbox is quite far enough for him.

Due to the exercise limitations, Joey tends to ride in a backpack that is especially designed for the purpose. This allows him to get out of the house and yard without placing undue stress on his heart. And he likes it, too, he loves being carted around like he’s royalty.

Joey is a loving, affectionate lad who will soak up all the cuddles that people are willing to give. He is also my self-appointed defender, readily growling at anyone who comes near, just to let them know they mustn’t try anything while he’s on guard! It’s rather amusing LOL

When I have reliable transport, Joey also ‘works’ at the local high-dependency nursing home. His ‘work’ involves sitting on laps and being petted and generally fussed over. Oh that we should all work so hard hehe!

Dudley
Belgian Shepherd – Malinois
aka “Dud”, “Dudster”, “Dudmeister”, “Duddit”
Born October 2010
I had decided to get a new puppy just four days before I heard about Dud; he was from a breeder but, due to a birth defect of a short jaw, nobody wished to buy him (since he couldn’t be shown or bred).The breeder was upset at the prospect of putting him to sleep, but it was looking like the only option. So I met him, fell in love, and adopted him after researching the breed and making sure I was up to the challenges of the breed.

Dud is highly intelligent and faithful, and has responded well to training. His love and faithfulness make up for all the vet bills he manages to incur. Not only does he have many issues, he’s also accident-prone!

We discovered early on that Dud has other problems besides his short jaw, such as loose kneecaps and arthritis. He’s a challenge, but he’s worth it. He’s also well socialised and friendly, and makes friends wherever he goes. He has several buddies that he plays with before class each week.

At the time of writing, Dud is in Class Three at obedience.

BabyGirl (Deceased December 12, 2011)
Rat Terrier x mini Jack Russell x Kangaroo
aka “Baby”, “Bub”, “Bubbit”, “Wingnut”, “Nutbar”
Born March 2006
Baby’s tale is a sad one, and even though she died young, I’m glad I was able to at least give her a few happy years before she passed away.I wasn’t intending to adopt another dog when Baby came into my life, I was quite content to just have Joey. However, she was advertised in the paper as needing a good, stable home, due to a history of abuse and neglect. She had been abandoned, and needed someone who could handle a dog with issues.

I took Joey along when I met her, having decided to give her a chance, and at very least bring her out of her shell after her terrible experiences. Upon seeing us for the first time, she ran over and started playing with Joey. I turned to Mum and said “remind me why I need to bring her out of her shell?”

She did have a lot of problems, though. She was a terrible bed-wetter, and I ended up investing in a cage for her to use at night so she wouldn’t mess the house or bed while I slept. In time, she came to treasure that cage as ‘her’ place, and on occasion (when feeling vulnerable or scared or insecure), she would leap into the cage and pull the door shut to lock herself in.

Having that safe place seemed to help, and we made great strides. She became house-trained, and earned my trust enough that she could sleep on my bed – under the covers – and snuggle against me at night. She would burrow herself in and curl up as close to me as she could, where she would promptly go to sleep and not move again until morning. I had managed to win her trust and provide the safety and security she needed.

Sadly, her past issues reared their ugly head, possibly spurred by attacks from a dog I was looking after for a friend (I removed that dog from my care ASAP, but it wasn’t soon enough). Baby continued to decline, becoming increasingly aggressive and nervous. The day she attacked Joey – completely unprovoked, and with terrible malice – I knew that there was nothing more I could do for her. The decision to put her to sleep is one of the hardest I’ve had to make, but there was no other choice besides keeping her in a cage away from other animals for the rest of her life.

I don’t blame Baby for how she turned out in the end, and we did have three lovely years before she turned. She and Joey were best mates for those three years, doing everything together, and I have the consolation of knowing that however bad her first two years were (abandoned in an empty house with six of her own puppies for one thing!), her final three years were good.

RIP Baby, you are missed ♥

Jessi (Deceased September 5, 2011)
Turkish Van
aka “Jess”, “JessiKat”, “Flubberbutt”
Born January 2000
Jessi was adopted during a particularly lonely time of my life. She, like Joey, was an RSPCA rescue. Unlike Joey, she had a nice history; she’d been regretfully surrendered by a senior lady who adored her, but was unable to take her when she was forced by poor health to enter a nursing home. I got Jessi’s history from my friend at the RSPCA, who was a friend of the lady in question.Jessi had the flu when I adopted her. In fact, she was supposed to have been put to sleep because of it; there was an outbreak of cat flu in the RSPCA, and all affected cats were being put to sleep to control the spread and reduce their suffering. I put my name down for Jess and, based on my links, was given a supply of antibiotics and allowed to take her home.

Jessi was quite ill for the first two weeks, but then she improved and came along in leaps and bounds. We formed a bond within the first few hours, and she became my best friend.

Jessi’s time with me was uneventful, marred only by a recurring flea allergy. I soon discovered that it could be controlled effectively with flea collars, and I became efficient at recognising and treating the early signs of an outbreak. The large, ugly welts that had plagued her for the first six months or so were effectively controlled, and they caused no further issues until August of last year.

In August, I noticed bleeding in Jessi’s left ear. After establishing that the bleeding was coming from outside, not in, I treated the associated welt, changed the flea collar, and placed the “bucket” over her head to allow the welt to heal.

About a week later, with the welt all but healed, I removed the bucket so Jessi could eat. I left the room for a minute to fetch something, and came back to find fur flying all over the room, and Jessi’s back stripped down past the skin for a significant portion of her back and the base of her tail. She was crying and writhing in agony, and I decided that even if I could treat it, the suffering she would have to endure might outweigh the benefit gained. I also wondered why she would have had such a sudden and violent outbreak.

The answer came the next morning, when advanced cancer was found along her stomach. She’d always had folds of skin around there, and these had masked the developing cancer lumps. Treatment was beyond my means, and after weighing up the odds of recovery against the suffering she would endure during treatment, it was decided that it was far kinder to put her to sleep. She was only 10 years old.

George
Domestic Shorthair – Red Tabby
aka “George Milad”, “Meister Jorge”, “Big Boy”, “Georgie”
Born January 2005
George was adopted in response to a “kitten for sale” ad. Something didn’t ring true about the ad, and I went to the house to check it out, where I was told that the rehousing was due to her son’s allergies.I believe that she simply couldn’t afford to keep him. If so, I respect her for finding a new home for him, rather than dumping him (as so many do).

George was severely malnourished when I brought him home. He was so thin and starved that he could barely walk; initially, I suspected that his spine was injured, due to the drunken way he walked, and the dull way he showed no interest in his environment. The only thing that interested him was Jessi’s food bowl, which was sitting on the cupboard in the hall. He tried to jump to get to the food, but simply stumbled and dropped to the floor looking resigned.

I started George on several small meals throughout the day and, as his condition improved, increased that to three regular-sized meals per day, and then down to two normal serves per day.

He picked up condition quickly, gaining weight and muscle, and was soon leaping about as healthy cats do. All staggering and swaying disappeared, to be replaced by confident leaps onto the furniture.

George turned out to be very dominant. He and Jessi never truly got along (what with them both being dominant), but he loved Tilly on sight. I now call them the old married couple, because they’ll squabble one minute, and the next minute they’re grooming each other.

George has shown no ill-effects from his early malnutrition, and has developed into a confident, agile, and vocal adult cat.

Tilly
Domestic Shorthair – Tortoiseshell/Calico
aka “Tilly-Lilly”, “Miss Tilly-Lilly”
Born February 2006
Tilly’s adoption was the result of a puppy search, believe it or not. I had been thinking about adopting another dog when I spotted the ad for 12-week-old kittens.I went to the house in question, and was greeted by a wide variety of cats, all who seemed perfectly at home. I was introduced to Tilly (who was huge!), and told that the sale was regretful; the woman’s husband had put his foot down and said enough was enough, they weren’t keeping any more kittens!

Tilly was clearly adored, as were all the cats, and she was in perfect condition; good coat, good teeth, healthy build. She was confident and outgoing, and had clearly never known abuse.

When Tilly was two years old, I agreed to look after my cousin’s kitten for a year. Tilly adored that kitten, and mothered it, and carted it around and groomed it and protected it. The kitten grew up believing that Tilly was her mother, and Tilly was as proud as punch of that kitten!

Sadly, the day came for the kitten to go home, and Tilly was devastated. Her formerly friendly personality evaporated overnight, and she took to hiding in any space she could find. She would not allow anyone to touch her, and wouldn’t come out to be fed until I walked away from the bowls. If I approached, she would scarper off and hide. She clearly blamed me for taking ‘her’ kitten away from her.

Time passed, as it does, and a cat down the street had kittens. Tilly was now four years old, and two years had passed since ‘her’ kitten had gone home. I decided to adopt one of the kittens so that Tilly would once more have a kitten to mother, but she took an instant dislike to the new kitten with such ferocity that I took it back to its mother for fear that it would be injured.

But it had done the trick. Tilly began to come out of hiding, slowly. A short while later, she allowed me to stroke her while she ate. About three months later, she decided to approach me as I sat on my bed one day. I was forgiven.

She’s her old self again now, friendly and confident and cuddly. There’s still an air of sadness over her, but she’s thawed out. She adores George, and won’t eat her dinner until they’ve butted heads and groomed one another. I won’t be introducing another kitten, though. She’s happy again, and I want to keep it that way.

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