Monday, July 13, 2009

Johann, Days Two and Three

Well, the fight continues to rid Johann of his legion of parasites. He's been given a flea/tick dip now, which makes him oh-so-popular with the other dogs. Another round of topical pesticide (the kind that soaks into the skin and hair) was added, so he's been barred from another bath until at least Monday. He's trying to put a brave face on things, but some kinds of displeasure are hard to hide.

We did get to go out for a couple of short walks and a game of fetch, so at least he could stretch his legs and breathe some fresh air. Just about everyone who passed by the two of us commented on how striking and majestic he looked, and I think the boost to his confidence helped quite a bit.

Another pick-me-up came with feeding time. I had gotten permission from the shelter's resident vet to give Johann a little something for anemia, and cookies and orange juice aren't particular canine favorites. So the big guy got a bowl of liver with his kibble. Even if the extra iron and protein were superfluous, the psychological value was immeasurable.

On day three, Johann was moved to a more easily isolated kennel - the retreating army of ticks was beginning to attack the nearby kennels, something which is absolutely verboten. His considerably less-comfortable temporary bivouac was surrounded by some fairly potent insecticide powder, which combined with the added smell of the flea dip made for a very, very unhappy dog indeed.

After one last trek outside, it was feeding time. I went to put Johann back into his temporary "oubliette of doom," and he naturally balked. A good "alpha" leads by inspiration instead of intimidation, so I stepped inside to call him in.

There was a booming bark of warning that echoed through the shelter, and I was nearly yanked off my feet. Looking back at him, I saw Johann planted firmly in the hallway, trying to pull me back out of the kennel with all of his might. Quietly, I called him over to me and cradled his head in my hands. "I know it's bad," I said calmly. "But you need this. You need to trust me."

The words were just babble to him, of course. The message, however, was earnest, heartfelt, and focused - and Johann is no idiot. He looked at me a moment, walked carefully into the kennel, and waited for his dinner.

I can't wait for this to be finished. And if I never see another tick as long as I live, it might just be too soon.

UPDATE: Well, it looks like there won't be a "Johann, Day 4" update. A rescue group came all the way from Arkansas to check him out, along with Buzz, a BullMastiff / Lab mix. Apparently, both of the boys left a good impression, and they set out for their new foster-homes right away. I'm very happy for Johann, but a little bit sad for myself: I didn't even get a chance to say "Goodbye."

Gute reise, mein freund.

1 comment:

tcsteger said...

I'm so glad that at least your efforts in working with him paid off and he is on his way to a forever home.

Toni :)