Saturday, July 11, 2009


Mike came into the shelter with Wendy; abandoned, lonely and terrified. He seems to be the more courageous of the two, but he wasn't born with Wendy's winsome good looks. Predictably, he's still at the shelter nearly a week after his only real packmate has gone to find new friends.

Looking something like a cross between a Labrador Retriever, a German Shepherd, and possibly some kind of doggish-looking cow, Mike isn't going to win any purebred championships. But he's got a huge heart, albeit one that seems pretty badly broken at the moment. Trying to get him out the front door is a losing battle; he's terrified of the shelter's lobby, much like Wendy. Shuffling quietly out the back door, however, he gets a bit more of his courage up and cautiously sets out to find some fun.

From the time I've spent with him, Mike seems to enjoy simply walking over just about anything else. Sophie and I have started referring to him as "Shadow," because he's so glad to be near me when we walk, his nose seldom strays more than a foot or so from my side. In the play yard, he's happy to stretch his legs and explore, but likes having a friend around to reassure him.

Although I've had him out and about with both Nick and Johann with no problems at all, the past week seems to have jaded Mike's view of other dogs a little bit. Being sedentary isn't natural for a retriever or a shepherd, and spending most of his time in a kennel is definitely not his idea of a wacky, fun time - so he will occasionally announce his displeasure when I walk by with another dog. It took him long enough to realize that there was actual, positive attention to be had out there; I don't want him to conclude that it's a limited resource he has to compete for.

UPDATE (7/13): I'm quite worried for Mike tonight. Though on the receiving end of a lot of affection (not to mention a good grooming) at the hands of a fantastic new volunteer at the shelter today, he was more withdrawn and depressed this evening. He barely picked at his dinner, and I noticed just before I left that his nose was running. Hardly the end of the world normally, a little cold or a respiratory infection can be disastrous when all of your neighbors live about six feet away. Hopefully, he'll be better in the morning.

UPDATE (7/14): Mike wasn't better in the morning. At least he'll never feel abandoned again: I hope he realized he took a piece of me with him, and it kept him company on his way out.

1 comment:

Christy said...

Mike took a big piece of my heart, too. It was a special pleasure to get a smile and wag every time I rounded his corner--finding his cage empty was a terrible shock. But you're Home at last, Mike. You don't have to wait anymore.