Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Day 57 - Mattie and her Pet Parents

About a year and a half ago, Steve decided we wanted a dog. I was laying low because I had five dogs growing up and I know what a responsibility they can be.  I also know of their destructive habits.  I had holes chewed in sofas, shoes, underwear, you name it.  Not to mention that living in Florida one would have to give heart worm medicine almost daily due to the fact that a mosquito is the source of heart worm in dogs and Florida is Mosquito Heaven.  But laying low was to no avail because every day Steve went to the local animal shelter and sent me photos of dogs with the same text message, "How about this one?"

Some of them were biiiiiiigggggg dogs and I'm not a big dog person.  I love little dogs.  So rather than chance it and running the risk of coming home to a dog I wouldn't like, I put an ad on our company website stating what I was looking for.  Quiet little dog...oh if  A co-worker responded that she had a dog that had just "showed up" on her back porch.  The dog was so badly kept that her fur from her belly was matted to her back legs and she couldn't walk.  So she had named her Mattie.  She told me the dog was fully trained and very very shy.  She had given her to two other people who returned her to my co-worker.  I thought to myself, poor dog.  I questioned whether I would have to buy accessories and she explained she had the leash, collar, dog crate, dog food, shampoo and even a dog bed.

Wow, this was truly a gift from Heaven.  So I asked her where she lived and if I could come look at Mattie.  She explained that she would rather drive the hour drive and see if Mattie felt comfortable in our home because of her past horrible experiences.  Mattie was deeeeeply attached to my co-worker and rightfully so.  She had a haircut, was fed and a safe home, more than what she had had before arriving on her back porch.  Steve was out of town during this first meeting but Mattie came inside the house and promptly peed on the rug marking her territory.  We then went outside and she jumped around and was very happy.

My co-worker left and Mattie lowered her head to the ground.  I had never seen a depressed dog before.  She literally walked with her head lower than her shoulder blades.  I would have to pull her out of the crate and take her for walks.  She loved the walks but upon returning to the house would immediately go hide in the crate.  I would call and she wouldn't come.  It took a solid week of forcibly retrieving her from the crate and making her go on walks that she eventually came to eat.

Now if I stop in the middle of the room, she would have a brown nose.  She literally has to have me in her sight at all times.  She has been the perfect dog for us.  On a few occasions we have heard her bark which she never does while she is awake.  She has barked in her sleep when she's dreaming, once at the raccoons, and just yesterday we heard her growl and bark at the neighbor dog.  WOW.  A dream dog, one that listens, doesn't bark and is potty trained.  She is an emotional dog however. When a thunderstorm moves in she hides in the smallest closet we have and trembles.  And she has a nervous habit of licking.  She licks so loud in fact that it sometimes is a contest to close our bedroom doors at night so that we can get a good night's rest.  Please don't judge us until you have had your own restless night sleeping in the same room with Mattie.

Taking Mattie in was the right thing to do for her as well as us when she needed us most.  Not only is she a happy dog now, she has made us a family.  She needed a home and we wanted a dog.  The only criteria that didn't add up on our end of the bargain is that she wasn't free as my biggest fear came true when the vet told us that she had heart worms.  And plenty of them, so many that they had to give her the equivalent of chemo to get rid of them.  We had to spend approximately $800 to save her.  These days we spend money on her food and on her hair clippings but for the most part, she's a maintenance free dog.  She doesn't know how to play but we accept her and all her emotional baggage.  Thank God because she has accepted us  and all our emotional baggage she walks with her head held high because she has owners that respond to her every command! Remember how I used we in the first sentence...we come when she calls us, we jump to take her outside when she gives the cue and we roll over when she tells us too.

She had no particular breed in mind, no unusual requirements. Except the special sense of mutual recognition that tells dog and human they have both come to the right place.
~Lloyd Alexander

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