Thursday, April 14, 2011

Brief Bubba Update

Carpet allergy may not be the problem, according to three neighbors who had similar problems with their pooches.  Evidently, the grass here is treated with some type of chemical that a few dogs don't tolerate well.   The answer would be to put a little sweater on the dog so the grass doesn't contact their belly.   One kind neighbor gave me a lovely little black jacket for Bubba to see if it helps.  He looks ridiculous in it, so I'm not going to embarrass him by posting a photo of him all dressed up - but here is a new portrait I took the other day.  I'll check with the vet about the grass v. carpet debate.  I hope he doesn't have to wear this silly jacket all the time - the poor thing will get bullied for the way he dresses if that happens.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Bubba and Me - a Love Story

I love animals.  I always have, and have had pets for all my adult life.  When I left Puerto Rico and moved to Florida, leaving Biscochita, my beloved long haired Doxie, behind broke my heart.  I left her in good hands with friends and knew it was the right thing to do but that didn't make it any easier.  She was used to being with me 24-7 and that would not be possible in Florida since I had to get a full time job.  In Vieques, she came to work with me every day and had the run of Casa Cielo, the beautiful 9 acre guest house that I managed. 

So when I retired last November, I casually commented to a neighbor with a cute little poodle named Buddy that perhaps I'd get a dog now that I'd be home to care for it.  I meant it and kept thinking about it but was busy with rehearsals, disability paperwork, doctor's appointments, and I just never took action.  Plus, my friend has been looking for exactly the right dog and I promised I'd help her with whatever dog she got.  (It's been more than a year she hasn't found one yet, but that's another story for another day.) 

"Buster" from the flyer photo.  12 lbs. of solid muscle.
Exactly three weeks ago today, Buddy's owner knocked on my door.  He had a guy with him and a flyer showing photos of two dogs who needed a home.  Both dogs were adorable but the little white Jack Russell won my heart instantly.  The dog was 6 years old, 12 lbs. and potty trained.  The friend explained that his girlfriend rescues, fosters, and then finds homes for dogs and cats. They needed to make room for more foster babies.   I made plans to go and visit the next day.  Terrylynn had 6 cats and 4 dogs in her home, one of each was hers and the others all needed homes.  When I saw the Jack Russell there was no going back.  We were meant for each other!  Only problem was that it was the chorus' performance week and I'd be out every night.  When I explained this, Terrylynn's daughter told me she is a flautist and her boyfriend a music major in keyboards and composing, so I invited them to the Verdi Requiem concert that Sunday.  Since they wouldn't take any money for the dog, I bought tickets for them and they were thrilled.  I committed to taking the little guy home the following Monday.  "Buster" as he was called, became "Bubba" which I thought befit his muscular little frame and Florida origins.

Chillin' on the blanket.

sBubba and I became fast friends and everything was going great.  He made loads of new doggy pals at my condo complex and I met more people in the last two weeks than I had in seven years here!  Dog people are generally very friendly, even if their dogs don't always play nice.  I was delighted that Bubba worked and played well with others and he quickly figured out how to trot alongside my scooter when we went out.  He was already potty trained, learned the "sit" command quickly, didn't jump on people or furniture, didn't bark unless there was a reason and was clearly a very intelligent dog.  He was also quite calm for a Jack Russell which suited me just fine. We were a perfect fit.

How cute - but his poor belly was suffering.
Only problem was on day four he started this weird habit of dragging his belly on the carpet and propelling himself around the room that way.  How brilliant I thought.  He's figured out how to rub his own belly!  As cute as this was, his poor belly was getting red and raw and I feared he'd get an infection.  He needed a vet check up anyway, so this morning we went to see Dr. Melissa.

One hundred and thirty two dollars later I learned that Bubba was healthy and had no internal parasites. He needs a really good teeth cleaning, plus distemper and Parvo shots which he'll get on his next visit.  However, that weird belly rubbing was because he was itchy and he could scratch the largest area with this maneuver; I told you he was brilliant!  But why was he itchy?  Well, ... wait for it... Bubba seems to be allergic to my wool carpeting!  His rubbing was making the allergy worse (so OK, maybe he wasn't as brilliant as I thought), but really, an allergy to wool?  Sheesh!  Of course, it's only her theory but we've excluded most other things that would cause him to scratch that much. Contact Dermatitis seems to fit.  He's on 12 days of medication to stop the itching and so far so good.  Dr. Melissa said to keep him off the carpet and since 3/4 of the condo is carpeted, this will be a challenge.

At the moment part of my living room and den is covered with a large blue Fema-type tarp.  Another area has some fleece blankets and a pillow.  He'll need to be confined to the kitchen overnight or when I'm out, but Bubba seems content to stay within the tarp/blanket  area while I'm watching TV or on the computer.  But when I get up he follows me around the house.  I can't carry him and walk without losing my balance, so I fitted the basket of my rollator walker with a piece of leftover foam board to provide a base.

Bubba on day 5 in his new home. 
Then I plop him in the basket (which he's not too sure about but he allows it - good dog), and off we go to the tiled kitchen or hallway, Bubba nervous in the basket and me trying not to trip over the tarp.  Once there I take him out of the basket and hangs with me on the tile!  I tried to get a photo of this but he freaks out when he sees the camera;  I figure he's been through enough so I backed off on the photo op.

For a rescue pet that I got for free, this will get  expensive!  But Bubba is worth it.  He is a blessing and a joy, and makes me happy every day.  I see many more years together and new synthetic burber carpeting in our future.