Sunday, February 3, 2013
First Peter returned to his job in Michigan, then Allison and her infant daughter left to resume their lives in Virginia, and I stayed an extra week past that time. Allison had checked all the pet rescue places, hoping to find a replacement dog for Norma Jean before she left. On line, she found an older chihuahua slated for euthanasia within the week if no home could be found for him. She started the process but, as many of you know, it can be a long drawn-out process to make your way through the red tape. Nothing had been accomplished by the time Allison left.
In the meantime, I convinced Norma Jean to go to the Humane Society and look for a dog. While there, we were shown a very tragic-looking dog who had endured hernia surgery the day before and was in dire condition. We took her home with us and named her Babe, as her name on the card was simply, "Me Too." In the meantime, the paperwork for Chester, the chihuahua, came through, and we suddenly had two dogs on our hands.
I believe sincerely that if Babe had not been adopted that day or the next, she would have died. Within a few days we had taken her to Norma Jean's vet to have her checked out and found that she was dehydrated and badly constipated. After treatment, she spent most of her time curled inside the pet carrier Norma Jean had in the living room, not interested in anything but sleeping. She was estimated to be perhaps two years old and nobody knew anything about her previous history.
Chester, on the other hand, had been turned in to the Humane Society by the family of his previous owner, who had died. Nobody wanted this wonderful dog, so to save him from being euthanized, Norma Jean adopted him. She had never before had two dogs, but now she did. Before I left, she told me she was afraid of the vet bills for two and wondered how she would manage.
After I returned home, we began the process that continues to this day of talking via video chat two or three times a week. I learned that Norma Jean was desperately unhappy, trying to find a way to recover from her loss, and the dogs were keeping her from being able to make the decision to travel to Virginia and stay with Allison for awhile. Although it was an agonizingly difficult decision, we decided together that she should return them to the rescue organization, now that Babe was healthy and Chester was saved. So she did and went to spend some time with her daughter and granddaughter.
But when she came home, her life was very empty. Enough time had passed that she felt it was possible for her to adopt another dog and started looking. While on Craigslist for something else, she saw a column advertising pets and checked it out. One caught her eye, a listing for "Papillons Neutered and Un-neutered." She called the number and found that an eight-month-old neutered puppy was available for a small fee, and arranged to meet the woman in a coffee shop. In walked the woman with this tiny adorable nine-pound furball, and Norma Jean was smitten. The lady told her that she already had two other dogs and he wasn't getting the attention he needed. Norma Jean walked out of the coffee shop with him.
The first thing she did was make an appointment at her vet's office to have him checked out, although he seemed healthy enough. The vet quizzed her about how she had obtained him, and suggested he might have been stolen. He was checked for a microchip and none was found, but the vet asked Norma Jean why she thought he had been neutered. Norma Jean said because of what she had been told, and because of the obvious lack of testicles, but the vet said they were still there, undescended. They might cause problems in the future if left as they were, so Norma Jean made an appointment for surgery. We speculated that he had been sold by a breeder who had no use for him.
The dog still had no name, and her son Peter suggested the name "Icarus," because the puppy has enormous ears, as most Papillons have. The myth of Icarus is one of a young man who made himself wings of wax to enable him to fly. Well, those ears are this dog's most prominent feature, so it seemed appropriate. The only unfortunate part of the name is that it is shortened to "Icky," which does not describe him at all!