Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A VERY special day

So here we are. A year later.

It's really stunning when you think about it. This time last year, we brought in Elvis, whom no one really expected to live beyond a few months. Instead, Elvis has surprised us all...by not just living a full year, but absolutely thriving, and learning that life as a small dog is really much, much better when it doesn't involve living in a puppy mill.

Randall and I (and I know Dr. Walthall and the good folks at the Humane Society) have been downright delighted by how well Elvis has done. Yes, he has congestive heart failure and heartworms, he has only one or two teeth, and he has the emotional problems that come from a life without much socialization. But his heart failure is well managed, his heartworms are being treated (albeit by a monthly pill rather than the more debilitating shot), his lack of teeth aren't an issue with the food he's given, and his personality is accepted as is. He's learned a lot in a year. He's learned to trust more, though he will never be a sound, well-adjusted dog, but when you accept what he has to give, at his own pace, he's a loving little boy.

So we find ourselves looking at the next year. Hoping and praying that it goes as well as this first year. He's got his heart meds, his Prednisone, his Torbutrol and his Valium. We've got a good bag of tricks to work with. And we couldn't ask for a more incredible vet than Dr. Walthall, and the staff at her clinic are wonderful. They are all simply outstanding people, and their efforts have gone a long, long way in contributing to the success Elvis has had this past year. And kudos, too, to all the fine folks at the Humane Society...without their support of Elvis, well, I wouldn't be writing this now. They have been instrumental, too, in Elvis' success.

There are things we now know that Elvis absolutely loves. Most all of them are food. He's gone from being the little boy who ate to live to being the little boy who lives to eat. He positively dances with anticipation when he knows his after dinner (our dinner) treats are coming. His Stumpy Snacks produce an unbelievable, lip smacking reaction. And popcorn. Oh my. Our Friday DVD Date Nights have started including popcorn again for the first time in two years (thanks to my new lower dentures). Elvis recognizes the popping sound in the microwave, and when Randall comes into the living room with the Big Bowl, he can hardly contain his excitement. He absolutely, positively adores popcorn. I think it's the ultimate love of his life.

He's learned the joys of rubbing his head along the back of the couch. Knows that bugs in the yard in mid-spring are incredibly tasty. Bird hunting is challenging and fun. Ditto squirrel watching. Clean bedding not only smells good, but is comfortable. Time on the ottoman is well spent. People and other dogs are fine companions.

We know the time we'll be blessed with Elvis is limited. There is simply a finite amount of time that his heart condition can be controlled and managed, but for whatever time that is, he will be loved and cared for. He's been given a new life, and, in turn, Randall and I have experienced the joy of opening our home to a very special special-needs boy.

(On a personal note, I will say I've been around only one other dog who had more "bottom" than Elvis has. My last show dog, Brenna, had a depth of determination and well of strength that I have never before encountered - in a dog or person. I don't expect to ever see the likes of it again, but Elvis comes in second to her. There's just an awful lot to this little dog that has taken us all by surprise, I think. And while determination can only go so far, I have to say that with Elvis, I expect it will take him further than any of us would have ever expected. For that matter, it already has.)

So I'm very happy to make this post. It's the one year Foster-versary for a very special little dog, and tonight he'll have a special bit of canned food to celebrate. And who knows, maybe Randall and I will pop some popcorn in celebration.

(I should be posting another dinner video and a couple more current photos of Elvis later today.)


  1. Happy foster-versary, Elvis!

    (And as you can see, the Blogspot commenting problem I'd been having at one time has vanished.)


  2. Anonymous12:32 AM

    Oh....oh! SNIF!!!!!