Tuesday, June 24, 2008


I have to say that I start this blog with no small amount of trepidation. I have been gorging myself on all sorts of clever blogs about dogs, with amazing photographs and witty content.

I am an indifferent photographer at best, with little prospect for improvement. (There are just too many other things I want to do!) I have... aspirations? pretentions?... oh let's just say that I hope to occasionally be clever, and sometimes witty. I have been inspired, and I do love to talk, and write, about my dog!

This is my dog:

His name is Dannan (taken loosely from the Irish for "little brown dog", apologies to any Irish-speakers who may read this). He came to me just over three years ago (gawd, can it really be that long?) when I fostered him for the local SPCA.

He was brought in to the Kamloops SPCA as a stray, sometime in the early spring/late winter of 2005. We don't get many smallish dogs, so he was a hit right away. Oh, and the staff named him "Ducky", after a dinosaur in some children's movie, Land Before Time, I think. I was the dog assessor at the shelter at that time, and I don't remember much about his assessment. What I do remember is him climbing onto my lap, then onto the boardroom table as I wrote up his results and recommendations.

Before long, "Ducky" was off to his new home. All dogs brought in to the shelter are examined by very knowledgeable shelter staff, and no one had noticed anything amiss. "Ducky" was taken to the vet for his free exam, then taken back to be neutered. And the vet clinic staff noticed nothing amiss, either.

It was not long after that point that his new people noticed that he didn't put much weight on his front left leg. He sort of held it up off the ground when he walked and ran, and even when he stood. So the poor little critter went back to the vet again. And this time, they noticed that something was very amiss.

The vet's best guess was that "Ducky" has been hit by a car as a puppy, and not taken to the vet or cared for properly. I have never quite understood what exactly had happened, but something had fused that shouldn't have. (Remember, at this point, he was just a dog that I had assessed, three or four weeks and dozens of dogs earlier.) At any rate, the vet said that because of the damage, and the way it had healed, "Ducky"'s best option was for the front left leg to be amputated.

The adopters, although and because they loved him, couldn't afford the $1300 price tag that came along with that treatment plan. And they had to bring him back to the SPCA.

Fortunately, the BCSPCA had just recently launched a new program, called the Biscuit Fund. This is a fund that is strictly used for the medical needs of otherwise adoptable animals that find themselves in the care of our shelters. "Ducky" would get his amputation, funded by the animal lovers of BC!

However, he couldn't get an appointment for surgery for a couple of weeks. The shelter manager (my very dear friend, Jennifer) didn't want "Ducky" stuck in the shelter while he waited, and so I agreed to foster him until he had recovered.

I live with another very dear friend, Karen. It is her house, so she had to agree to this plan. She knew all along that once he came, he wouldn't be leaving, but at the time, I was deluding myself that we could foster him for a few weeks and then take him back to be adopted. Even knowing the inevitable result, Karen agreed that "Ducky" could come to stay with us.

The rest, to use a worn-out cliche', is history. Darling "Ducky" (Dannan, as he soon became) came home.

His left front leg was, of course, amputated. Not that he notices, mind you. He runs like the wind (any skeptics out there are welcome to come to our backyard and watch him tear around like a little brown hurricane). In fact, we've often been at the dog park and it's only once he stops running that people notice that he's only got three legs. He has no inkling that he's any different from the other dogs, and it certainly doesn't slow him down.

Speaking of the dog park... A question I am often asked is, "What kind of dog is he?" This question irritates me slightly, because we as a society always want to identify the breeds that make up a mixed breed dog (I'll probably rant... er, write more about that later). My answer is always that he's a little brown dog. When pressed, I'll say that I think he's probably some sort of houndy/spanielly mix, but no one will ever know for sure.

(Blogger keeps deleting the rant that I want to insert here.... perhaps I should take a hint. But I never let better judgment prevent me from ranting.)

(Rant begins: I am also often asked if Dannan is a "baby pitbull". This question annoys me greatly, and the answer is NO! I am not annoyed because I dislike pitbulls; on the contrary, I like them extremely well, and the next addition to our family will likely be one. My annoyance stems from the fact that this question illustrates quite plainly that the general public has *no idea* what a pitbull actually *is*. Yet some in our society presume to judge, and then ban, them. The question is a flaming symbol of our collective ignorance; when we legislate in ignorance, lives are at stake. And pitbulls don't deserve it.)

(I am a ranter, you will have noticed. ;) )

I did mean to make this introductory post short, but I'm not very good at "short". (Another fault that is quickly apparent!) I will post pictures, and I do intend to take a lot more candid shots. (We'll see how long that resolution holds. Permanently, I do hope, because one of the thing I like best about other dog blogs is all the pictures.) They won't be of great quality, but they'll at least be pictures.

Mostly, I expect, I'll write a lot about what Dannan is doing. I'll also rant a bit about my pet peeves, talk about our roommates (human, canine, and feline), and indulge in some journalling. I'm not sure yet whether this blog will be of any interest to anyone else, but even if it just turns out to be a fun thing for me to do, it will be worth it.

Some pics of Dannan, just because I like them:

Dannan's "Noble Dog" pose, pre-op

Havin' a run, pre-op

My favourite pre-op picture, Dannan With Joy.

Crazy running dog. (Often, he "slimes" himself while running like this!)

And finally:

After the running stops...