Saturday, January 3, 2015


It looked like a nice, peaceful stretch ahead. My foster dog Eddie, who was some sort of hunting breed, had been adopted to a loving home. A two year old? What had I been thinking? Hide all the remotes. But then the “try to ignore this” email hit my inbox from Planned Pethood’s Intake Coordinator, Lindsay (she is famous for these). There was a chocolate lab at a dangerous rural kill pound who was scheduled to be euthanized in two days. And, believe me, it is definitely not an idle threat at this place. So much for my mini-sabbatical with my own pack and only one foster, Maxwell the boxer. I guess peace and quiet is not in the cards for me.

After I said yes, I immediately began to brainstorm some fun male latino names for this brown dog like Miquel, Alphonso, or Julio. Come to find out though, I would not be able to name him because someone donated a substantial sum for his admission to the program. Planned Pethood is currently in dire financial straits so if corporations can name stadiums, why can’t donors name dogs? But even with all things considered, Captain Doug is still a pretty awful name but the dude was stuck with it. My apologies to the real Capt. Doug whoever he is.

When I went to pick him up at a vet’s office, they asked me if we would please wait outside after they brought him out. Once outside, on one of those thousand degree summer days, when the employee finally came out, she told me he had a discharge from his private parts and they would not complete any of our package because of it. She threw some antibiotics at us and turned and walked away without even a goodbye. I thought the whole incident odd but shrugged it off. But when we got home…

I always considered a discharge something gunky and disgusting. This was not the case with Doug, he was dripping BLOOD from his penis. When I took him to our PPI provider, I told him my house looked like a Jackson Pollack spatter painting. He was diagnosed with an enlarged prostate which was scraping against his urethra, causing it to bleed. The cure was simply to neuter the big guy BUT that could not take place until at least a week or two of antibiotics. People, PLEASE get your dogs and cats spayed and neutered! In the meantime, you guessed it, I had blood spattered everywhere. It is a good thing I wasn’t a murder suspect or I might have ended up in the Big House.

As annoying, messy, and inconvenient Doug’s bleeding was, there was a far worse side effect of his condition. The poor guy could not hold it and when he had to pee, he just peed regardless of where he was. And this dude let loose with a friggin’ lake.  Needless to say, the day of his surgery was a happy day for me, celebration worthy even. Or so I thought. The ugly truth was it would take 4 to 6 weeks for the prostate to return to normal and the testosterone to dissipate meaning blood and pee for that duration. NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!! We even tried some kind of diaper contraption lent to me by my neighbor and puppy foster extraordinaire, Heather. And if it hadn’t been me as the victim, it would have been hilarious when pee went squirting right through it all over the place.

The Cap’s personality is sweet and kind as can be but it is my theory that he never lived in a house before. I don’t think he was abused but probably neglected and left to run for the first 8 years of his life. For the first several days, he paced and panted, paced and panted, paced and panted 24/7. He HATED his crate, drooling a puddle when we were away. He was afraid of the tile floors, he flinched when the microwave dinged, and was a giant ball of anxiety and confusion. Add the peeing and bleeding and the poor dude was what added up to a hot mess.

Eventually, the bleeding stopped and he finally ceased peeing in the house but it did take the entire 6 week period. Somehow I did not lose my mind entirely. But Doug was so needy, he wanted to be right on top of me every minute of the day and night. I know, I know, he’s a lab, what do you expect? Well, I have had lab companions my entire adult life and I have never seen anything like it. Returning him and have the program put him in boarding crossed my mind on more than one occasion over the course of his time with us. But then a miracle occurred.

The application came from out of state. A family had seen the Captain on Petfinder. OMG, it was a perfect app. The family sadly had to put down their senior dog at 15 after a wonderful long life. And their other dog, a chocolate lab, missed his companion. So I called and they were even better in person. They told me they had never had a puppy and had ALWAYS rescued. I believe in full transparency and poured out Doug’s whole story, the good, the bad, and the ugly but they were not dissuaded. Now I was sure they were perfect. When they came to Toledo to meet him, they brought their own lab who looked like Doug’s twin. It was amazing, like they were brothers separated at birth. It was the buzz among everyone at the adoption event. People just stared in disbelief.

Doug’s start with the Detwilers was a little rocky. He had a few accidents and his anxiety returned once again. But, with love and patience, after about a week, he settled in. And the rest is history. He has mom and dad, Gail and Steve, 3 great kids he adores, and a new BFF named Buddy. And, adding icing to the cake, with his new family came a new name. Goodbye Captain, hello Petey. And folks, as far as my world goes, this is a Christmas miracle a few weeks early. Merry Christmas to you all too from Judy, Ida, Stan, kitties Ellie, Bernie, Mamie, Yolo, and temps Max, Bessie and Qismat.

by Judy S.