About a month ago, I saw a call go out on a friend’s Facebook page looking for people to foster rescue animals that were coming from a puppy mill out back of Roma somewhere. Apparently they were expecting potentially around 60 dogs and needed an equal number of volunteer foster families to look after them, as the local RSPCA and pounds could not handle that sort of intake of rescued animals. Rather uncharacteristically, I sent in the paperwork and offered to take on a couple of SMALL dogs if they were desperate. I agreed to two animals as 1) I thought they might keep each other company if the poor little guys were traumatised from being at a puppy farm, 2) they might not be used to being alone and 3) the odds of our falling in love with one of them were reduced if we were lavishing attention on two animals… well, that was the theory anyway!
By the time the puppies were ready to collect, they had more than enough volunteers – social media rocks! – to house all the rescued animals and we bought home a somewhat thin, terribly scared little nameless pup who would not come anywhere near us. 🙁 She was bedraggled and unkempt, covered in fleas and multiple cattle ticks! The poor little thing had a real hangdog look about her – in fact I don’t think I knew what that term really meant until I met this puppy. She could hardly walk properly and kept her tail firmly between her legs at all times. For such a young little pup she had the most anxious eyes I’ve ever seen and she literally trembled whenever anyone picked her up. She would not eat out of her bowl and would scoot in, grab some food, drop it and eat it somewhere else while keeping a wary eye on anyone who was nearby. And I think the thing that pulled on the heartstrings the most was the way she didn’t shake herself when I bathed her… she just stood in the tub. Trembling and scared, while I poured water over her head as I wrestled the fleas under control. It was as though she was used to standing around in the rain with a wet head or something and didn’t bother to shake the water off, because it was somehow pointless. She looked so small and helpless and sad. 🙁
After a few days, she started to tentatively walk around the house investigating this huge space… it must have felt like the world had opened up compared to being stuck in a horrid cage her whole life. Clean up and slowly getting her diet up to scratch, we watched on as she walked around on her very wobbly and under-used legs and saw her first attempts at running once she realized she could actually move about. Talk about clumsy. Her back legs didn’t want to cooperate at all and she would sit down oddly as she tried to sit AND keep her tail between her legs. After only a few days she started to come out of her shell a bit and would let us gently pat her, and while still extremely timid she started to make progress in leaps and bounds… literally.
Skip forward a couple of weeks and she’s wagging her tail in excitement every day, running around the house with confidence, jumping up on the couch with ease and trying to lick people and biting on her chew toys and basically well, acting like a puppy! It’s amazing to see the transformation in her. We’ve been working on learning to sit, we’ve learned the areas of the house she is not allowed into (invisible doorways), we’ve learned to pee when told to ‘hurry up’ outside and while we are still working on coming when called, I am sure we will get there eventually! I’ve noticed that instead of having two somewhat forlorn and floppy ears, she’s now listening to everything going on around her, and one of her ears sticks up straight, and she is alert and interested in all the interesting noises going on. She seems to love nothing more than to curl up beside me and sleep while I study my dreaded Latin, and will happily roll over onto her back for a tummy rub at every opportunity! She’s still a very quiet and placid given she is barely seven months old (approximate age according to her vet check up) and sometimes I think she sleeps so much because she is trying to catch up on seven months of lost sleep from being constantly surrounded by nearly a hundred other trapped and anxious barking dogs!
The one thing we really have to work on is teaching her to come to her name though! I think we’ve inadvertently given her a bit of an identity crisis. After bringing her home we found after a few days that calling her D50 wasn’t going to cut it at all (D20 maybe… but D50 – nope!), and we started to call her Kimber (because they make a very cool 1911 ;). But then she got a naming sponsor to help raise funds for Animal Rescue Queensland, the organisation who saved her from the puppy mill (donations of dog supplies or money can be made here) and her naming sponsor chose to call her Pixie. Which strangely we all absolutely hated, as it didn’t seem to suit her at all. But we thought if she was going to potentially go off to a new home we would have to train her to answer to her name, and the closest thing to Pixie that we found palatable was Dixi – which in Latin is the 1st person, singular, perfect, indicative, active of the verb dīcō dīcere dixī dictum 3D meaning, ‘to say, talk or speak’ … which is slightly ironic given how quiet she is. So Dixi it is. 🙂
It’s been amazing to see her change from such a scared little pup into such a gorgeous little girl with such a sweet personality. But as they say in the foster community, she’s turning into a big ol’ foster fail… because there is no way we are letting this little girl out of our lives now! She is such a gorgeous little dog that she has won her way into the hearts of the whole family and nearly everyone who has met her so far! So we are going to adopt her as soon as the last of her vet work and paperwork is completed. She’s had the worst possible start in life but thanks to ARQ and a friend sharing a post of Facebook, she seems to have totally landed on her feet.
And so that is the Wondrous Tail of D50, and how she found a home.