This is a rescue dog! We found Wiley at a no-kill animal shelter called the Hillside SPCA in Pottsville, PA. He joined our family in July of 2011. Rescue dogs make the best pets; I would know. My family has had pound puppies my whole life and I am a better person because of it. This is a place we can share our stories and spread the word: get a rescue pet!
Natasha is a proud and determined rescue mom, inspired by her equally determined Fenway, who has been saddled with a half dozen reasons not to be here, and isn't interested in kowtowing to any of them.
Fenway and Natasha met in 2008 when Natasha, who had recently lost her miniature poodle, was looking for a dog to fill the void. Natasha was young and naive by her own accounts, and made the mistake of finding a dog on Craigslist. Noooooooooo! If you haven't read the blog post about why Craigslist is a no-no for ethical rescuers, take a minute to check it out.
Anyway, we don't hold that against Natasha one bit. She knows now that people aren't always honest via Craigslist, and there's every reason to believe Fenway was destined for her all along anyway, due to his special needs and her willingness to take care of him.
Fenway didn't take to Natasha's roommate's dog. He also insisted on having a mix of wet and dry food before he would eat it. Those are typical doggie demands many owners accommodate. But when Fenway started having seizures, Natasha's concern and responsibilities grew. At first it was just a seizure here or there, but then he started having cluster seizures. Throughout this whole experience she was seeking care and medicating him, but the ultimate day of clusters came in July of 2012 when he had 16 in one day. Fenway had to be put on many meds, and it was undetermined if he would even recover enough strength to walk.
After a week, though, Fenway was ready to prove he was a fighter, and after a while he was doing really well, except that his new meds made him hungrier and thirstier than usual.
Cue the next disaster. Fenway got into the garbage in August and ate everything. He developed severe pancreatitis. If you've never dealt with pancreatitis, consider yourself blessed beyond measure. My mother has been battling it for over 25 years. It has destroyed her pancreas, ravaged her kidneys, and nearly taken her life on several occasions. It is also excruciatingly painful. At one point in August Natasha was giving Fenway 22 pills plus intravenous fluids every single day. He was largely unresponsive for a period of time, but then that fighter started to turn around again. It took six months from the cluster seizures and pancreatitis until Natasha saw Fenway wag his tail again.
Okay, hang in there readers. Fenway had one more bad episode in March, when he couldn't move the left side of his body. She rushed him to the vet, and a massive steroid shot and an increase in regular steroids seemed to be the fix. In June Natasha moved into a new home, her own place where Fenway has a nice yard and plenty of space to roam around both inside and out.
He can't go the stairs inside, so Natasha sleeps on a sofa bed downstairs to be nearer to him. She also does a lot of work from home, so he never has to go more than a few hours without someone there.
If you find yourself asking, "Does Fenway get any enjoyment out of a life like that?" the answer is a resounding yes! You see, Natasha got Fenway a dog! I will introduce Munson in a later post, but since Munson came along Fenway plays with his toys again (he hadn't since the cluster seizures), they cuddle together, and Fenway likes to lick Munson obsessively. Fenway has it pretty good, and we wish Natasha and Fenway all the best and many more happy and healthy years together.