Walter flew to his new home over the weekend. His new family lives in Maryland, and we were lucky enough that his new mom Melanie answered some questions for me via email letting us know a little about herself and how Walter is settling in. ~Wendy
Can you tell me how you heard about Walter?
I've known about Best Friends Animal Sanctuary for a long time. Two of my friends have spent their vacations there and brought me back coffee mugs, which I use every day. I recently transferred to Rockville, Maryland, and a new colleague was walking around the open space with a really great shirt sporting the Best Friends logo. She, too, had recently volunteered. I told her about my pets and she said: "I know the pet for you!" and sent me the link. I sent in my adoption paperwork the same day, figuring he, of course, would have been adopted by now. With the recent move, I wasn't 100 percent prepared but, like human babies, are we ever really? Wow, I hit the lottery!
What was it that made Walter the one for you?
Back in the 1990s, I adopted a street puppy while I was living in Chiang Mai, Thailand, who was in pretty bad shape, with mange so bad she wasn't long for this earth without immediate intervention. That's a whole other story but, from then on, I made it a rule to take in only special needs pets.
My family and I currently have two blind (since birth) tabbies, a white deaf cat, a squitten and a street rescue tabby from Mexico who shepherds the other cats around lovingly. We also adopted a mastiff in 2007 who was a neglect case. Sadly we ended up giving him palliative care through his bone cancer and our time together was cut short.
In 2008, we adopted Tessa the St. Bernard from the Arizona St. Bernard Rescue. She was there for about four years, I believe. She was the best, but was considered "unadoptable," presumably due to her dog aggression. She passed away in March at the tender age of 15, and we still miss her.
Anyway, you get the picture. I think this all stems from the fact my mother was deaf.
I wasn't planning on adopting a dog for a few years to give my 16-year-old cats some dedicated time. However, I monitor several rescue sites. Then my colleague sent me the link. I mean, come on! Anyone who knows me knows Walter is the dog for me. And look at that face. Really? Could they come any cuter? Who could say no to that? I didn't stand a chance of resisting.
I was a bit worried because the adoption happened in the blink of an eye. My husband was away and I sent him the link. He replied: "He's cute. He'll find a home in no time." I called him the next day and said, "You're right, he did find a home." He responded , "Oh good." This was followed by the best long pause ever. It took him a minute to figure out which home Walter had found.
Now that I have had Walter for a couple of days, I'm even more convinced. He's super easy, more laid back than the high energy videos lead you to believe. He's so playful and even plays fetch with himself. He chose his own "baby" at the pet supply store. So far, there’s been no inappropriate chewing. He sits calmly waiting for the leash. He’s curious but not aggressive with the cats. He let's me know when he needs to use the bathroom (but I have to pay attention). There’s no counter surfing or going through the garbage. He's amazing.
He does have some expected separation anxiety. I nearly renamed him Waldo, because he is the anti-Waldo. I always know where he is — right beside me. He is also a leash puller, only because he is always on the move to maintain his balance. He's my new workout partner, and I'm a bit sore from our hike on Sunday. Every challenge is an opportunity for us. His inability and unwillingness to stop keeps us both moving. He'll keep me on my toes. He's just fun. Look at those ears flopping around!
Any concerns about him only having two legs?
Sure. The way he pees, he does get urine on his lower legs and paws so there is some breakdown of the skin. I'm starting to rinse his paws when we come back from walks to address that issue. I suspect he does have minor bladder issues, perhaps due to his first surgery episode. He really can't go more than a few hours without voiding. He also can't climb the stairs inside my house. They are too steep and too slippery. After the cats adjust, I'll remedy that since he's a world class snuggler.
Several of my friends ask how he pees and poops. For peeing he does a lot of hopping around — hence the splash. For the latter, he has a couple of strategies. If it's brief, he tries his best to be like a normal dog. If he's off leash, running he will poop in full gallop. In other, more poignantly reflective times, he nose plants into the grass and uses his nose as the third leg of a tripod.
Mostly, I worry he'll have arthritis, the pain that comes with it and that it will increasingly compromise his quality of life. With a good vet, lots of love, time on the trail, Walter will take on that challenge when it comes ― with that full heart and indomitable attitude of his.
Thanks so much Melanie - and a special thank you to that colleague who passed on Walter's info to you!