A few concerned readers have wondered if something has happened to Tank.
Yes,,, something has happened to Tank.
But it's not as bad as it could be....
I don't think.
I've hesitated to report it till now, as it could have (and still might) have a bad outcome.
Tank was born with demodectic mange.
He had a spot on him when I got him from the pound.
I have never dealt with demodectic mange. I was so unfamiliar with it.
The man at the pound and I had a conversation that went something like :
" He was brought in on abuse charges"
" Well, he's the one that I want"
" He's not up for adoption yet"
"WHAT? You're gonna wait for abusive people to come claim him?"
It was the day before a predicted record snowfall for us... at a shelter that is underfunded and understaffed.
A shelter where I am known for my love of big dogs, and possibly, just possibly for taking on a hard case.
Then we get the bad news from the vet... demodectic mange.
This is passed from infected mother to puppies. ALL animals that possess it should be spayed or neutered and not allowed to reproduce. The fix is expensive, does not work every time and of significant issue to me, is downright toxic.
But alas... we were in love. Our rascally boy, stocky, sturdy little Tank.
Every morning begins with administration of medication. And things will get far worse looking before it gets better and we're hoping and praying it gets better. The result is the loss of hair, sore, blackened skin, great sores, secondary infections, scars and all manner of more sinister things. So far, we're dealing with everything on the list, but not the things like seizures. Oh, and blindness... which I'm also happy to report that we're not dealing with. Right now, we're at the phase where great handfuls of hair fall out daily, his skin is itchy and scaley and in places open and sore.
It's been rough. People see him and draw back. It's ugly and he's so sore to the touch that its' hard for him to run and play.
What it's not is this: It's NOT contagious... He and Stormy have been together every day and she's as thickly, handsomely coated as any little German Shepherd.
It's not going to stop us from trying...
In the discussion of the notion that treatments can be deadly, and some 20% of dogs don't respond to treatment and do not survive, or worse, need to be put down, we decided that we'd make every effort and we'd know that the worse case scenario would be that if we lost him, then he'd at least have had the time here where he knew that he was loved, part of a pack of happy dogs.
What he is is a ferocious barker (exactly what we needed). He's fierce and protective and very, very observant. He's a wiggly little affectionate puppy to his 'people'. He's occasionally dangerous to chickens... and to shoes left on the porch and to rugs hung out to dry. He's wiggly and full of fun but can be quiet and sweet.
When I take my cup of coffee to the porch to enjoy these crisp clear mornings of 'not quite' spring, his little head perches on my pajama covered knees and he looks at me...
and I realize that he is where he needs to be. He might just turn out to be the ugliest dog around, but he's ours.