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Bella is doing great & is fitting in perfectly. She knows this is her home now. Her & Bentley play together and share their food. Bella ventures throughout the house on her own now and she comes & goes through the doors with no hesitation. She still has anxiety about the stairs that lead down to the basement, but we’re working on it. She’s can make it down three steps now, before she runs back up and that’s much better than she did the first few days. I think with her missing toes, she’s not as confident with her balance. The cracks on the pad of her foot are healing with daily olive oil treatments, but I’m still wondering if it would be easier on her to have her whole leg amputated, since she spends 1/2 of her walking time holding it up. We’ll give it a lot more time and see though.

We’ve had a lot of snow lately and I’ve been putting a sock and dog boot on her foot before she goes outside. She walks on all fours with the dog boot on when she’s outside in the snow.  When I let her out without the dog boot, she refuses to walk in the snow, so I think she likes the extra warmth & cushion for her foot.  Now, if I could only convince her that she doesn’t have to wait for me to come outside with her for her to go potty! lol.

She’s going in for a dental on Monday and she’ll probably have to have a back tooth pulled (it’s almost black). Hopefully, that will be all she’ll have to have done.  She’s really a sweetheart and I’m so glad we found each other!

Second Day

Bentley (left) & Bella (right)Yesterday was quite the day with getting settled in, so we didn’t have time to post.  Bella (It seems to fit) is settling in just fine.  It turns out she was already spayed.  Luckily they saw the scar after shaving her belly, although it’s a pretty faint scar.  The introductions between her & Bentley went well.  They sniffed each other & Bella gave him a few licks to let him know she’s a friend.

So far, she’s the epitome of a perfectly behaved pooch. Unfortunately, it appears its because she wasn’t treated too nicely (at least while indoors) previously.  She acts like a normal, happy, pup outside, but it took me awhile to get her to come inside.  At first, she put her head down low & tilted it sideways & tucked her tail between her legs when I asked her to come inside.  It took most of yesterday, but now she trusts coming and going through the front door, although it still takes me crouching down & calling her to come in.  It takes about 3-5 minutes to get her to come inside through the back door though and when she does, she runs at full speed up the stairs & into the living room & instantly lays down in her spot that she’s picked.  She also requires coaxing to get her from room to room.  It won’t take long though.  She has double the confidence inside today than she had yesterday.  Earlier today she jumped up on the couch to lay next to me., which is the first time she’s laid down away from her chosen spot.  I know it’s a bit earlier to allow her on the furniture, but…..what could I do, other than pet her?

Bella with her boot on.

I took her to the vet after I picked her up yesterday to have her checked out.  My regular vet wasn’t in, so we saw another one.  He said it looks like her missing toes were due to a snare (animal trap) or possibly surgical removal (but she still has a little bit of her knuckles, so I doubt it was surgery), because it’s such a clean cut.  He doesn’t see any reason to do anything more to her foot or her leg at this point.  I am worried about future implications on her shoulder joint though.

Good view of her foot.

She appears to walk differently depending on the surface of the ground.  On super soft surfaces, she’ll walk on all fours.  Everywhere else, she hops on three legs.  It might be awkward since she has a tiny bit of knuckle left on a few of the toe joints.  She also has some cracks on the pad of that food that have me a little worried.  There’s a big, deep one that the vet thinks is not a crack, but it’s where the pad starts on the edge of her foot.  That happens to be where her amputation begins, so he thinks it’s caused the pad to separate & form what looks like a crack.  It’s not damaged or raw, but the vet mentioned I should check it regularly for debri, etc. to keep it healthy.  There are some other smaller cracks in the pad of her foot too.  It looks like it’s from dryness.  The pads on all her feet are dry & so are the jowls on her mouth.  I’m hoping this will correct itself with a good diet & good hydration.  I put olive oil on her foot last night & then put a sock on it to keep her from licking it.  She didn’t mess with the sock at all.

Bella with her MuttLuk on.

I’ve put a muttluk boot on her foot today to see if it adds any extra cushion for her, but I don’t think it makes it any more comfortable.  It doesn’t seem to be making a difference with the way she walks.

So, for now, I’m going to be working with her on building her confidence level when she’s inside, so her true personality will come out when she’s inside & outside.  Bentley is trying to help by barking at her when she needs encouragement……that’s really not working out to well, lol.  Bentley & I are working on that also.

Thanks for reading about Bella, everyone!

Tomorrows the day!

As you can see, Bentley's not worried about his new sister at all.

As you can see, Bentley's not worried about his new sister at all.

I get to pick up new, toeless pup tomorrow!  I’m very excited.  I’ve thought of Bella, Betsy & Bambi for possible names.  Bambi is probably out-yuck.  I’m hoping for a name that sounds nice & fits her personality, but also one that sounds like she’s a cohesive team with Bentley.  Bentley & Bella.  Bentley & Betsy.  Bentley & Bambi.  Hmmm….We’ll see.

I am not taking Bentley with me to pick her up.  It’s a 30 mile truck ride back home, so I don’t want to risk it with them two playing or worse in the back seat, since she just had surgery today.  When we get back, I want to re-introduce them away from the house & then walk them for a little while, before bringing them into the house together.  Unfortunately, the weather is nasty right now & isn’t suppose to be any better tomorrow.  It’s suppose to be in the 30’s & snowing.  I can dress for the occassion, but I don’t want her getting her incision wet & dirty & I don’t know how easily she can walk in wet, slippery weather.  Not to mention the coldness on her foot.  We’ll find a way to make it work though.  I want to do everything right, so they start off on the right foot with each other.  Will update soon.

Hello world!

This year, I lost my beloved Baxter.  He was my right hand man.  My little guy.  He’d been with me through all my major adult life changes & now he’s gone.  He always knew what was needed in the house to keep the mood cheery.  It’s a huge adjustment.

Unfortunately, Bentley doesn’t seem to be adjusting very well.  It’s been many weeks and he’s still mopey.  He only eats once every few days, he paces at night.  When I leave him home alone & then come back, I’m greeted with him yowling out the window (before he realizes I’m home) and objects strategically placed where they shouldn’t be inside the house.  He’s never been alone and doesn’t like it at all.

I didn’t think I was going to adopt another dog for awhile.  I thought I would enjoy the lack of responsiblity that came with one dog.  Not that there’s really a lack a responsiblity, just less responsibility than there was with a 14 year old cutie that had a bad heart & needed medication three times a day.  However, I realize that it’s just too quiet without Baxter and it’s unfair to Bentley to make him adjust to being alone when I have to go somewhere.  After all, I can’t take him to work every day, or the grocery store.

So……I decided I would look here & there for a dog that might fit the bill.  I braced myself for a hard search.  It had taken me 5 months to find Baxter & I had no other dog when I adopted him, so it was easier.  Bentley is 7 1/2 years old.  He’s set in his routine.  Baxter & him had things finely tuned.  They knew how to communicate & how to work around each other.  As Baxter aged & his heart started acting up, they played much less and Bentley seemed perfectly happy with that.  He’s always preferred playing with people anyway.  He likes to walk beside other dogs and sniff other dogs, lay beside other dogs, but he really doesn’t want them touching him or **gasp** trying to wrestle him.   A lot of other dogs don’t understand his communication style.  His bark is a little high & anxious.  It’s really not a bark, more like an excited whine/bark combined that he does each time he meets a new dog.  He was sick during his formative years & couldn’t be around other dogs.  It really shows in his communication skills.  Don’t get me wrong, he loves other dogs. He loves being next to them.  He just doesn’t really know how to play with them.  Basically, he’s a little strange for a dog.  When we go to a dog park, he’s happy to run beside other dogs and prance around with his head high, after the customary sniff, of course, but if they try to stop & play, it’s like instant confusion sits in.  It would be quite the task to find a dog who understood him, or so I thought.

Nice Smile!

Nice Smile!

I went to the shelter in the next town (we don’t have a shelter in the town I live in) after seeing a cattle dog mix with missing toes on her front left paw listed on Petfinder.  It wasn’t the missing toes that drew me to her, or the story of how she was thrown over the fence of the shelter’s outdoor play area by someone to cowardly or to broke to bring her in through the front door & pay the $25 relinquishment fee (although, I admit, it helped).  It was the look in her face & her smile.  Now, I volunteer for rescues a lot & know that pictures can sometimes not portray the true dog at all.  I knew I’d have to meet her myself & then Bentley would have to meet her.  Well, long story short, I fell in love with her when I met her.  I took her for a nice walk & then we layed down in the grass and enjoyed a little bit of the afternoon together.  She had the perfect energy level for us.  She wasn’t overly dominant or submissive.  She seemed pretty even keeled.

I knew the next big test was how her & Bentley fit in together.  So I grabbed Bentley and brought him in for a meet & greet, prepared to say No if their personalities didn’t fit together.  To make a long story short, I knew we were good when Bentley sat his butt on one of my legs, his head & body facing left, with a contented look on his face & the toeless pup sat down beside my other leg, facing the right, with the same contented look on her face.  Before they both settled into this position, they spent time sniffing the room they were in & sniffing each other.  Looking at each other curiously, but not intently, when they weren’t right next to each other.  They spent several minutes being confused by each other, with Bentley’s strange vocal communications & the toeless pups awkward gait, but it didn’t take long before they were completely comfortable with each other.  That was all I needed.  I decided she was the one.

She’s getting spayed on Wednesday morning and will be available to come home with us on Wednesday afternoon.  I requested they keep her until Thursday, so she can rest in familiar surroundings on the day of her surgery.  A dog spay is major surgery, & I don’t want to unduly stress her with a new environment.  I’ll re-introduce her & Bentley somewhere neutral, maybe in City Park.  Then we’ll all come home together for the first time!

She's holding her paw up due to the missing toes.
She’s holding her paw up due to the missing toes.

Thanks for reading!  :Mary Ricker

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