They arrived one hot August night in 2010. A friend had found them a couple counties south of here, under her Dad’s tool shed. He had been tossing them food. He was going to catch them and take them to the County Pound. Instead, Vanessa caught them and called me to see if I would take them on. Of course!
Soon I received this Pampers box with two of the saddest pups I ever met. The larger of the two was ferocious in her effort to protect the smaller. The smaller was barely alive and too weary to do much but shake in terror. Both were covered in fleas and ticks … their gums white from blood loss to those unwelcome guests.
We settled on the bathroom floor as I gave them food and water — trying to convince all of us that this was a good idea. As I put down moist puppy food, the larger grabbed her sister by the neck and wouldn’t let go! The smaller one let out a scream that echoed through the house. Now I was the terrified one, as this five ounce collection of bones and parasites attacked the sister she was minutes ago defending! The only up side of this initiation? I know about food aggression in starving pups now.
I was going to take them to my local shelter in the morning … that was the plan, but after watching them, I decided they were not up to the rigors of that transition. I took them to my vet and we started on a regime to return them to health.
Names didn’t come for a long time, but in the end, the larger pup became Emma Louise, and the smaller one Tunie – named for a friend of my Aunt. Emma flourished, but little Tunie couldn’t keep food down — she ate and then up it came in a foaming mess. I would spend two hours in the morning and two in the evening trying different concoctions. A trip to a specialist showed a stricture in her esophagus, caused by unknown reasons.
It was suggested that it would be OK to euthanize this tiny life. “No one would blame you,” the kind vet offered. But I was a few weeks in to the effort by then, and Tunie had become Petunia because she was strong and tough and determined – just like the flower. She was a fighter. She wasn’t quitting, and I wasn’t quitting for her.
With donations and the support of some wonderful rescue folks in the area, Petunia had one unsuccessful surgery to open up the esophagus. Since then, I grind food twice a day, reconstitute it with water, and we have a moment together while she eats. I used to hate the time this took. But now, it is our ritual. We watch the news, we visit for a moment — and off we go. It provides an anchor for us and we both live in that moment with each other.
While Petunia and I worked our way through her health issues, Emma Louise prospered and proved herself to be smart and capable. She wass the canine cross of Dennis the Menace and Alvin the Chipmunk. If she could tear it up, dig it up, or jump on it … she was there! Efforts to find her a home met with failure. She met a wonderful couple from Northern Virginia and I had my fingers crossed that all would go well, even though I feared for their oriental rugs and apparent well ordered life. Sadly the rescue group I was working with never got the home inspection done, so the couple gave up. That was close to the day my problem child started jumping straight up on to my stove top! I researched the possibility of sending her to a drug training program … but by the time I got close, she owned me and my home was hers. She is the smartest, most self sufficient living creature I know!
It is hard to believe we have been together for 6 years! They amaze me and they make me laugh. Petunia remains wary of visitors, but she has made up with friends that make the effort. Emma inspects everyone that comes in. She smells every scent on me when I come in from work. I was telling a friend about them a while back and she suggested they were Mountain Cur dogs. I looked the breed up and they absolutely fit the profile – smart, loyal, and independent. I can’t wait to share more of their adventures!