Monday, December 22, 2008

My Mountain Dog

Two weeks ago I drove 5 hours south, to one of my favorite hospitals. It was a long, foggy, stressful Monday morning drive. I entered the hospital through the back door, going into the kennel area and was greeted by a small huddle of employees sitting at a kennel door baby talking to a patient I couldn't see. "So what do you guys have there?" And I was introduced to the sweet faced fella below.

His sad story is not uncommon. He was picked up by Animal Control, a young intact male, roaming the streets south of Fresno. He was filthy, matted, covered with skin lesions, thin, and passing blood instead of stool. Animal Control dropped him off at the hospital for an exam and blood tests. It was determined that he most likely had ingested rat poison. Treatment was started, he was bathed, clipped and treated for the dermatitis. hhmmmm.... I kind of liked this dog.

I found myself drawn to this guy frequently over the next few days, just stopping by to say hi, taking him out for walks, having some quiet private chats. Then I went home for the weekend.
Shared pictures of him and I admitted my thoughts of bringing this dog home to the family. Jerry, Tristan, Amy, Cort and the CATS were all in agreement (well... maybe not the cats so much).
Monday back at the hospital there was a message from the Animal Control Officer to please call.
No owner had been located, the Rescue had no foster home for him, would I be interested in him?
Have you noted his breed? He is a Bernese Mountain Dog. I have always admired these guys. He had a microchip which lead to a disconnected number in Missouri, we have reason to believe he was from a puppy mill. Just look at that face, how could I resist? I am very reasonable about not adopting every animal that needs a home, but I really liked this guy. Showing up at home with two kittens, then taking in a beat up colt all in one year, I am beginning to wonder about my ability to just say NO.
Well, animal control brought him back to the clinic at my request and I looked for a reason to turn him down. Hip Xrays; good. Chest Xrays; good. Heart worm test; negative. Blood panel; regenerative anemia, good. Blood clotting is improved. Skin condition; clearing up on meds. Neuter performed - dog is mine. We agreed on a trial visit to insure that everyone at the log cabin gets along. I worry about disrupting the harmony that exists between our pets at home.

This is honestly, the cats' reaction to the dog being brought into the house the first time. 'Ho-hum'. They stayed in their napping spots but kept their eyes on him. He approched them slowly but didn't invade their space.

He trots around the property with a big smile on his face. I love a dog who smiles. Cort likes him but we had to keep them apart at first, Cort wants to play too much. The Mountain Dog has to take it easy for a while. Introduced to the horses, he sniffs their muzzles and shows no signs of aggression or desire to chase. I like this dog. Cort is not kept away from him now and they are perfect together.
The following pictures are disturbing. He was thin when picked up off the streets. Very thin. He had put on 5# in the 10 days or so that he was with Animal Control.

He will get several medicated baths weekly. This is his first bath at home. Thin.

Very thin. I am feeding him frequent meals during the day, he is not an eager eater. He is on several medications.

He is a very happy, friendly, calm, eager-to-please dog. Life continues to be good; harmony and peace between my furred family members.

Our only delemma now is the naming of the beast. I feel like his name has to be just right. Jerry suggested Socks or Boots or Concho, sorry Jerry , no go. I have tried out Luke, Luca, Lucas, Jake, Ivan, Ian, Gorgan, Bruce.... and a multitude of others. I get raspberries, gagging motions, rude looks, or the names just don't fit. Yesterday I called him Carson. I like Carson, Tristan likes Carson (since we won't name him Hector), Jerry says 'just name the dog already', Amy says Carson is ick, way too yuppy. What the heck is yuppy anyways?
So I am inviting your comments, suggestions, feelings, input on names. I reserve the right to pick his name myself, I will reject your names kindly as long as you aren't too harsh with my choices. I want a strong, gentle ,dignified name that is not one commonly heard. Rover or Spot won't make the cut. (Or Boots or Socks, sheesh Jerry)
I feel like he is a very wonderful Christmas gift. I think he kind of likes us too.


Jenn said...

Oooh, he is a handsome fella! I think he realizes what a good life he's gonna have with you and all the other furred critters at The Cabin.

Robert suggest Duke, after "The Duke," to fit with your cowboy theme of animal names. Or you could just call him Happy, because he sure looks happy!

david said...

Nice Dog, Jerimia Jonhson comes to mind. Mt.Man, had everything thrown at him and still survived. Call him J.J. for short. Anything you call him I'm sure he'll come running. ENJOY. Miss you all. MERRY CHRISTMAS. DAVID

Kathy said...

I like Duke but so do too many others. Lots of Dukes out there. I suggested Happy Dawg but no one else liked it.
Jememiah is great, we'd certainly shorten it to Jerry and then I could have both dog and man come running at my call. JJ is what Jerry's son is called. I also liked Toby, but that is what Jerry's other son is called. I also suggested Marvin, hhmmm I think we best stay away from naming our animals after family members, ya know?
Keep the suggestions coming, wish you were here.

Karen Deborah said...

Have you ever read the book, "A Dog named Merle?" Great story about a great dog who found his owner. I love BMD's they are way high on my list of favorite breeds.Like second to standard poodles. We had a neighbor with one and his dog was named Max. That guy is nearly starved to death they are very big boned large dogs as you know. Talk about preaching to the choir. Why don't you cook for him? Make him rice with meat and veggies in it. I've been getting dog food by "Blue" no corn or fillers. Axl's coat is like a minx, so soft and shiny. Oh man I'm so jealous. I really miss having a dog. Not just a dog but that bond that comes between, just that special dog and you. Rasmus has been haunting me lately I keep thinking that I see him out of the corner of my eye.
It's funny you mentioned him smiling. when I got Rasmus my friend was helping me to choose from her litter. I told her I didn't want the alpha dog, and I didn't want one that was on the bottom. I wanted a middle pack member. No competition over whose boss. Fianally I told her do you have one that smiles? My dog is the one that smiles at you. Only one puppy in that litter was a grinner and he was my dog.
Can't think of a more wonderful gift than a best friend. It will be interesting to watch him as he gets healthy and fills out, both physically and emotionally.
Merry Christmas!

lov ya, mom, grma said...

He is very lucky to have you guys take him in. He looks like a very good looking dog. I do miss having a dog also.

Call him "Lucky"

"Hi everyone.Miss all of You, MERRY CHRISTMAS"

Courtney said...

I like Luca and Oliver. You could call him Olly! He is a handsome thing!

Darlene said...

Awww he is just adorable! What a cute face and fluffy fur. You sure do have a home full of animals, but what do you expect from an animal lover!

Kenji - 'second son; strong and vigorous' (your second male dog in the house and he's strong)

Jenn said...

Jane suggested "Bernie," that silly girl.

Robert also suggested "Samson" as a strong name.


He looks like a bear...Kodiak or Cody?

That's all I got at the moment.

Kathy said...

I just wrote a LONG answer to every one and Blogger tossed it away. So the short version is, I will try out the names Kenji and Kodiac today. I am still calling him Carson, Jerry calls him Dawg. Amy makes up a new name every time she talks to him *sigh* We are a bunch of misfits. Does anyone like 'Carson' at all?

Jenn said...

Dawg works. It's not like our family doesn't have a history of calling animals what they are: Kitty, Bird, Ogda....

I'm not really fond of Carson, but, he is your dog, when it comes down to it YOU have to like his name because you're the one who's going to say it all the time.

di :) said...

I like Carson. How about Brut! Maybe some day he'll be as big as he's supposed to be. and he'd then be a Brut. Sorry I haven't called lately. :(

Karen Deborah said...

I like Carson. So what did you say? aren't you going to tell us some more? What a dog.

di :) said...

Ooh! Ooh! i thought of another one...."Levi", yes, I like Levi!!

Karen Deborah said...

so is it Carson?

Coffee Bean said...

I'm late hopping on this train!

This post made my Mama's heart ache. I am so glad you took him in Kathy! I think I would love you to pieces in real life. I am so happy that he's in a good home and will be well taken care of and loved. He has such a sweet face! I wish I could hug him!

Have you decided on Carson? I have a hard time with that one just because I've known so many little boys named Carson. It's kind of cool though... makes me a think a bit about Carson City, Nevada and cowboys.

Do you remember the story of Buford Pusser? He's the sheriff whose story became the "Walking Tall" book and movie. I thought of his name before I even read down to where you were looking for ideas.

Of course, all the names I ever choose for my pets get lost among the nicknames that evolve over their lives. Lu Lu was originally Cindy Lou and we never ever call her that anymore. Benny's official name is Benson but we call him Booper more than anything else.

Hmmmmmm... I think if I was lovin' on this dog of yours... looking at his face and knowing he's not aggressive... I'd want to call him things like Honey Buns, Sweet Cheeks and Good Lookin'. Maybe Moby because he's such a big dog... Or... does he mosey along when he walks... that's cowboy sounding... Mosey. I'd end up shortening that to Mo. How do you like Mo? It could be short for Moby or for Mosey and it's got a definite cowboy feel to me. Mo...

And I won't be offended if you hate all of my ideas!

david said...

Dillon, not a bad name for the big guy.

Kevin M. M. said...

Leopold : Leo for short

Coffee Bean said...

Well... where the heck are ya Doc?

Happy New Year!!!

Debbie in CA : ) said...

What a precious story! (*sniff*sniff*) I just love happy endings.

We always choose our pet names from the literary/artsy pool; hence we have Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley, Toulouse, Colonel Fitzwilliam, and Benjamin Bunny. Our past pets sported names such as Sir Willoughby, Kipling, Tennyson, Hemingway (that may just work for your pooch), Romeo, Hamlet, Benvolio . . . and on the list goes. Choosing a name is important and fun! I can't wait to hear the final choice. : )



Kathy said...

Thank you everyone for all of the great suggestions. I tried out so many of your names, many sounded good, but we just kept going back to CARSON for some reason. So Carson it stays.

Note to Janet, hehe, I asked Dad about calling him Marv, he didn't laugh, just grumbled. And I like the name Cheyenne, one of the horses is named that.

I responded to many other commenters but blogger keeps kicking me off.
Thanks all!