As promised, here's a bit of background on the boy we're fostering.
When I spoke with Liz yesterday, she gave me some background on Elvis, and it's sad. He was brought in in May when a local puppy mill was raided. As you can see from his pictures, he's a chihuahua mix, and I suspect the other half is schipperke from the feel of his coat, lack of tail and body structure. Best guess is he's 9-10, and heartworm positive to go along with his congestive heart failure.
Poor little Elvis. He's very unsure of people right now. When we met him at the shelter, he found his best place was under a chair in a corner of the room. He did spend some time pacing the room, but he obviously was not comfortable with his situation. And the more stressed he gets, the more the heart congestion kicks in in the form of a gagging cough. Like we were told, he obviously needed to get out of the shelter and into a home so he could understand the world from a better perspective. Right now, he shows the typical puppy mill attitude...poorly socialized, extremely narrow world view, dependence on other dogs for security and a distrust of people.
We brought him home and carefully introduced him to my senior dachshund bitch and our 4 year old chihuahua male. He also got to meet the cats (one, Savoy, who loves dogs and the other, Howdy, who thinks this whole situation is vastly overrated). He bonded immediately to my dachshund and decided to become her shadow. The male chihuahua is a bit more standoff-ish about this. Haley is used to a pack of dogs, so one more in the place is no problem for her. Skeeter isn't so sure. Still, the introductions went very well, and he was out mingling here in our den about an hour after coming through the door. The situation with the group will be closely monitored for the next several days until we're sure there aren't any conflicts.
Elvis is intact and will be for the foreseeable future. When I spoke with the vet yesterday, she said she didn't think he'd survive the surgery (and it's the same with heartworm treatment), so he spent quite a bit of yesterday hiking his leg. It doesn't help that he's on lasix for the congestive heart failure, because lasix increases thirst and urination. So the paper towels and spray bottle of vinegar are new decorations in the den. And for now, the baby gates are up so everyone is restricted to the den, kitchen and utility room. Fortunately, our flooring is linoleum throughout the house, so cleanups are a breeze. He also has a cough medicine for when the cough becomes too much. I told Randall I suspect we'll be using it fairly frequently in the next day or so while he's still stressed. I suspect once he's acclimated, the use of it will go way down.
So that's the background on our foster boy. Whether he's here with us for only a short time while learning how to be a dog in a normal household situation or whether he makes his home here for a longer period of time, will just depend on his progress and whether he's adopted out. For however long it is, though, he'll have a safe place where he can get the attention and love he so deserves.