Thursday, May 21, 2009
A distant relative of Tony's called one day to say that his elderly german shepherd probably wasn't going to make it through another winter, to keep an eye out for something that might come his way. He would prefer a male puppy, if at all possible.
Enter Kangee. Two weeks later, in early January 2009, he was born and his mother immediately rejected him. The breeder, who found himself in unfavorable circumstances, contacted his friends to see if someone would be able to bottle feed him. He was born in the wee hours of the morning and by the time the breeder woke and was handling the litter, and called around, almost 12 hours had gone by. When I got to him, he was cold and practically lifeless.
I immediately stuck him in my shirt so that my body temperature would help raise his temperature on the way home. While stopped at a traffic light, I had a flash of insight, a vision of him as an adult. I was stunned at the beauty of him, at the powerful presence he possessed. Once we hit the house, he was so lifeless he could not even suckle a bottle, which he desperately needed for energy.
We pulled out all the stops and between the two of us, we alternated caring for him. Puppies require feeding every 2 hours, and he had to be tube fed until he was able to adequately bottle feed.
In the first week, I noticed scabs all over his body - where did those come from? Did the mother dislike him enough that she tried to kill him? It didn't make sense, but I couldn't figure out what else it could be. As it turns out, he was actually born with a systemic staph infection. Between tendons that didn't stretch properly, the staph infection, and corresponding signs of being premature (very tender skin), he certainly had the odds stacked against him. Due to complications with the infection, he lost the tip of his paw before he was even a week old and smelled of gangrene. I was worried we would have to amputate, but the vet encouraged me to see how it might heal up before we made that decision. Besides, we had to get his internal infection under control before considering a major surgical option (HUGE props to colloidal silver for clearing things up right away once we figured out what the problem was).
There were so many times I wondered if he would make it, or even that we were doing the right thing. What quality of life would he have? Were we playing God and fighting against nature? But then I'd remember that vision of him as an adult. He certainly seemed to have a higher purpose on this earth. Together with the encouragement of lots of other people who also sensed something very special in him, we worked our way through one scenario after another until he was truly on his feet. During that time, his prospective family did a lot of soul-searching as well. They lived in the woods, where sometimes strays are dropped off or he might meet a coyote or two. Would it be fair to put him at a disadvantage? Maybe they should wait for the next shepherd that became available? But in their hearts, they simply could not say no. So they made other arrangements to protect him in case he might prove to be at a disadvantage as an adult and they welcomed him with open arms.
At 8 weeks old, Kangee went to his new home where he is growing into a gangly, loveable adolescent, full of vim and vinegar. He has charmed the elderly shepherd to the point where they have caught the two of them together outside in the dogbox, with both heads sticking out the same hole. He never messed in the house, and has Mom so wrapped around his paw that someone would have to fight her to get him away from her. He simply could not be in a better home!
And although he lost his paw, the pad that traditionally grows behind the dew claw wrapped itself around the base of his stump so that he has a pad to walk on. When I look at him, I'm in awe of the miracle after miracle that I've witnessed. I have been so blessed to be a part of his journey; the gifts he gave me in the 8 weeks he was with us are priceless. He is an old soul, with a special purpose, and a proud heritage.
God be with you and protect you, my little friend.