Monday, July 20, 2009


As I crested the hill of the bridge over the Kissimmee River in Florida, I spotted what looked like a ferret scurrying across the road. When you run an animal shelter, your eyes are trained for glimpses of fur or ears.
I was technically on lunch (eating while driving) so I pulled over to get a closer look.

The small creature ran into an old shell rock quarry, his little brown body was easily spotted against the glaring white hills and valleys. I picked him up with my binoculars and was shocked to see, it was not a ferret but a small dog. A very skinny small dog. His head was down and he was running as though scalded.
Pets that have been in the wild for as little as three days can become so stressed and fearful that they are very difficult to capture. Sometimes it took days to finally catch a dog.

This area was many miles from my home so I was determined to capture him that day. My usual tricks did nothing but keep him moving so I finally resorted to full out chase. The only thing in my favor was his stubby legs and his being in terribly poor condition. When I finally was able to grab him, he did what every dog I have ever found does, he sank against me, totally limp and in submission. It is like they are saying "Ok, now it is your job. I am just too tired to care."

What I had captured was a stinking,little, mangy, miniature Dachshund. He had hair but it was in sprigs and he was nothing but bones. My veterinary was on the way back to the office so I dropped him off for exam and said I would pick him up after work.

When I came for my prize, Jim said that he couldn't do a fecal exam for worms as the dog had nothing but rocks and sticks in his bowel. He did have heart worms and Demodectic mange. The little guy didn't have much going for him. We put him on Ivomec for the heart worms and Jim gave me Mitaban for the mange. It was going to be a long haul.

Terrible picture but you can get the idea.

I named him Corky for when he got some groceries in him, he had a corker of a personality. He had little reason, but was such a happy little fellow and was Mr. Congeniality. The treatment for the mange worked but in a way I had never seen before. Corky became a hairless dog. His skin was smooth, healthy and silky but no hair. He was completely bald, and with his gray skin he looked a bit rat like, but somehow with his personality, he was really cute.

I was afraid I wouldn't get to adopt him out though in such a condition. Then we both got lucky. The Humane Society put me in touch with a woman looking for a pet for her little girl who had allergies. I took him to their house to see if we had a match. I usually did that so I could check out the living conditions. They had a lovely home with a large fenced in yard. That was always a plus. When the child and dog met, it was a pretty sight. The child saw no flaws and Corky was intent on washing her whole face.

Over and over the little girl kept saying,"He is so soft and warm." Without fur, a dog's 102 normal temperature feels really nice. We set up a trial period to make sure she would not be allergic to Corky. He sailed through the trial period and he became a family member. They were delighted with the strange little dog who slept on beds and roamed all the furniture, leaving no hairy trace.

These endings made all the effort so worth it.


  1. Oh how sweet. I am convinced there is a home for most every animal if we give them time and a chance.

    We are glad we realized the beauty and fulfillment of giving a hopelessly giddy home to a shelter dog, Luckie, who promptly realized heaven had arrived so she projected her true personality as soon as she walked in her new "doghouse."

    Despite Luckies' warts and our warts, too, we could not have made a better match.

    Hooray for CORKY.

  2. Well not to offend you but I am now sure there is someone out there goofy enough to pick up any dog...

  3. nitwit,
    YOu are so right. Given time, we can find a home for all dogs for there is someone out there who is a perfect fit. James Herriot told a funny tale about a dog with bad gas no one wanted and how he found him a wonderful home with a man with bad sinuses who could smell nothing. Corky spent 14 years with that family.

    4th Sister,
    Thank God there are many of us, I am one of the "Goofy" ones and proud to be so. Now if it were only legal to tar and feather those a**holes that dump them out on the side of the road in the first place.

  4. I am always amazed by the efforts you made to rescue these critters. It's always been worth it, too. Any lost and frightened animal was having a lucky day when they crossed your path. I'm glad Corky found a good home.

  5. Oh, how wonderful of you to adopt Corky. About a year ago, someone left a dog on the steps of our restaurant. We adopted her and I'm so glad we did.

  6. He who loves and cares for the creatures cannot help but be loved in return. Blessed Be.

  7. What a neat story, Patti. I'm glad you captured Corky and gave him a new life. That is just SUPER.

    My folks had a little dog named Corky --and I have pictures of him. That was back in the 1930's LONG before I was born.


  8. That poor thing. I am glad it worked out.

    Will it ever get it's hair back?

    I love happy endings!

  9. robin
    I sometimes wished I could drive past a sick, lost dog but I just can't. Fortunately these days our Humane Society here operates almost a no kill shelter. Also the people in Arkansas are not as cruel as the Floridians were. I have only seen 2 strays in 5 years while I saw that many a week in Florida.

    Cheffie Mom
    That dog liked your cooking. It was so cool of you to take her in. Strays do make the best pets.

    Thank you. The return you get on the care of animals far out weighs the cost.

    He was just too grand a little fellow not to be loved. I could never understand how he got out there in the first place. He had to have been dumped but who could dump such a little guy. I will never understand that mentality.

    It worked out so well. He lived with them for 14 years, bald till the end. The vet said it was an autoimmune disorder which is what they say when they don't have a clue. He couldn't have been loved any more though had he been hairy.

  10. what a wonderful story!

    you are an absolute hero to me

  11. Dianne,
    Thank you so much but to me the heros are the poeple who open their homes to that unknown quantity, a stray, and make them a part of their families,as Nitwit says, "warts and all." My hat is off to all of you.

  12. You wrote again a very good story! I always enjoy reading your posts. Thanks for your comment and to answer it. I was not interested in history either, but through blogging I became more and more interested and now I bought a children book about French history, hence the facts about the republique of France.

  13. A sweet, sad story with a happy ending! May God bless you, and other folks like you, who rescue these would-be misfits and find them a loving home.