Introducing Porthos

My Thanksgiving break was supposed to be less stressful and more relaxing this year because Terry and I decided to 1) not travel to Texas and 2) not host relatives for dinner.  While my Thanksgiving day cooking was somewhat less stressful and not on any kind of set schedule (see last week’s blog post), my feet and back hurt quite a bit before we finished dinner and enjoyed pumpkin pie for dessert.  My only consolation was I didn’t do eight hours of driving AND cook for eight.

Friday rolled around and I shunned any early sales specials, save one, which wasn’t early for me by any stretch.  Queen’s Pantry in downtown Leavenworth had a deal I couldn’t resist.  And, besides, I was nearly out of Irish Blend loose leaf black tea.  I got downtown by 9:40 a.m. (twenty minutes before their doors opened) and became the first person standing in line for one of five $20 gift certificates.  I purchased my Irish Blend and a new four-ounce green tin full of Japanese pan-fried loose leaf green tea and returned home.  All done for my Black Friday shopping.

Great Plains SPCATerry texted me as I was pulling into the driveway wondering where I was.  He wanted to go check out a recently posted Rottweiler.  I told him that was fine but I wanted to eat a quick lunch before we left so we wouldn’t be tempted to eat fast food on the road.  I quickly heated up some Thanksgiving leftovers and we sat down to lunch.

Once outside, we realized the tires on the Bonneville looked nearly flat.  The air gauge reported the front two at about fifteen pounds and the back two in the 20s.  Ugh.  The recent frigid nights were playing havoc with our tire pressures.  We got them aired up and drove to the Merriam campus of the Great Plains SPCA.  I was surprised at how busy the place was!  We asked about a Rottweiler named ‘Tank’ and the receptionist told us we’d have to drive out east to the Independence campus to see him.  I groaned.  I really don’t like driving any farther into Missouri (or “Misery” as I often refer to it) than I have to.  I spend every working day in “Misery” but at least I’m still within spitting distance of the Kansas state line.

We got back in the car and drove another 30-45 minutes across all of Kansas City (I-35 North to I-670 East to I-70 East to Mo 291 North to East 23rd Street).  Again, the place was more busy than I imagined it would be.  Was there some kind of rush for puppies and kittens on Black Friday I was unaware of?

Terry filled out the paperwork while a volunteer went to fetch Tank from his pen.  We all traipsed back through the dog area to a deafening chorus of barking and yapping, finally reaching an outdoor fenced play area where Terry and I could do our meet and greet with Tank.

Tank was immediately adorable.  He came over to me, sat on my feet and leaned his back into me, twisting his head up to look at me with his sad puppy-dog eyes.  The poor thing had contracted an upper respiratory infection (also known as kennel cough) and was extremely thin.  Even though he’s 25-26 inches tall at the shoulders, he only weight about ninety pounds.  You could clearly see his ribs and his hip bones.  When I ran my hands over his shoulders and sides, it felt, literally like he was skin and bones.

Even though Tank was miserable from his cold, he was still excited to see us and made an effort at play around the exercise yard.  We liked his personality enough to place a 24-hour hold on him ($20 donation to pay for his upkeep during that time) so we could return on Saturday with Lexy to do their meet and greet.  Lexy would be the determining factor in whether we could adopt Tank.

Saturday Terry and I returned with Lexy to Independence.  It’s a long drive from Lansing, about 90-100 miles round trip.  Once we arrived, I walked Lexy around the  parking lot to get her acclimated to the area.  So many dogs, so many smells.  Terry went in to arrange the meet and greet between Tank and Lexy.  After a few minutes, he came back out of the lobby and hollered at me to bring Lexy in.  We were then escorted to their education center room, which thankfully had a sealed concrete floor.  We put Lexy on one of their rope leashes and then Tank arrived.  The volunteers first walked Lexy and Tank around in circles so they’d pick up on each other’s scents without actually coming into contact with each other.  Then they crossed to the center of the room and let them meet.  All went very well.  We decided to take Lexy off the leash, mostly because she associates a leash with going outside and taking a walk, so she kept going to the outside doors expecting me to take her for a walk.  Once she was off-leash, she visibly relaxed and showed no anxiety towards or about Tank.  We all agreed that they were a good match so we completed the adoption.

Terry sat in the back seat with Tank.  I had to convince Lexy to get in the passenger side front seat.  She vaulted into the seat but then proceeded across the console into the driver’s seat.  I closed the passenger door and went to the driver’s door and pushed her back across into the passenger seat.  She sat backwards, facing Terry, who was sitting immediately behind her.  I eased us out of the parking lot and back on to westbound 23rd street.  I retraced our route, taking it extremely easy with lots of space between me and other vehicles so I didn’t have to make sudden stops or turns.  After a few minutes, Lexy decided she needed to be in my lap and proceeded to push her way between the steering wheel and me.  She refused to budge and being a Rottweiler, there’s not much you can do once they plant all four feet.  As we approached one of the final stop lights before returning to westbound I-70, I got her back in the passenger seat, but she managed to put the car in neutral along the way.  So when I pressed on the accelerator, the car went nowhere but the engine revved quite nicely.  I got us back in drive and back on the highway.  We made it safely home around three in the afternoon.

We discovered when we got home that they had forgotten to give us Tank’s prescriptions (an antibiotic and some cough medicine).  I called them but all they could do was mail it to us.  I told them that was fine and that we’d talk to our vet first thing Monday morning.

We re-installed our child gates between the Great Room and the Kitchen/Dining area on the main floor of our house.  We reviewed the list of dog names Terry had compiled and decided Porthos fit him much better than Tank.  I took a few photographs of Porthos, but he was so miserable from his cold, he just looked pathetic.

Porthos looking pathetic (Sat 11/29/2014) … click image for rest of album

Terry was still suffering from a persistent headache, and one of his doctors had changed a prescription to a different beta blocker to help alleviate the headache, but both beta blockers (old and new) were causing him extreme difficulties breathing.  To top it all off, he appeared to be coming down with the flu or worse maybe bronchitis.  So nobody got much sleep Saturday night or Sunday night.  Well, maybe Lexy did.  Poor Porthos didn’t get much sleep thanks to his URI.

Monday arrived and I called our family vet as soon as it opened, asking for an appointment for Porthos.  They didn’t want him to come in if he was still coughing.  I told them I could drop off his medical summary from Great Plains SPCA and then pick up replacement prescriptions after my eye doctor’s appointment mid-morning.  Thanks to nearly a 90 minute wait time at the eye doctors, I didn’t get to the vet’s office until after eleven o’clock!

As soon as I got back home, I gave Porthos his new/better antibiotic and cough medicine.  Terry felt miserable, with chills and fever, so I looked forward to yet another night of less than full sleep.  I did manage to get more of the exterior Christmas decorations installed in the front yard.  I was staking out the second spiral Christmas tree, wearing only a wind breaker, Capri pants and flip-flops, when my backup driver returned the van to me just before sunset.  She was shocked I was out in the cold dressed like that.  I told her it wasn’t that cold, but she remained unconvinced.

Tuesday I left for work at the normal time.  Terry later reported that Porthos suffered severe separation anxiety from me for about 30-40 minutes.  He searched the entire house for me.  Terry originally planned to keep both dogs with him in the spare bedroom, but Porthos stank (like a kennel) so badly that he couldn’t get to sleep.  I promised him I’d give Porthos a bath when I got home from work.

True to my word, I barely had time to take off my coat before I ushered Porthos into our walk-in shower in the master bedroom.  He tried to give me the sad puppy dog eyes again but I remained steadfast.  I got the water to a reasonably warm temperature and soaped him down generously with Mane & Tail, all except his head and ears.  For that I used Johnson & Johnson Baby Shampoo.  I released the hound from the shower stall and he proceeded to tear around the master bedroom enthusiastically, barking and rushing around in every tightening circles.  It’s a good thing our master bedroom is mostly devoid of furniture at the moment.  That room is next on our remodel project check list.

Porthos after his first bath (12/2/2014) … click on image for rest of album.

I’d barely gotten myself out of the shower when Lexy pushed her way into the master bedroom to join in the fray.  I didn’t want them to start fighting so I had to call Terry for help.  We got them separated and I eventually got Porthos dried off.  He doesn’t like the blow dryer, so I just used towels.  He’s got short hair, so he finished drying after a couple of hours.

We’re happy to have Porthos as the newest member of our family.  Lexy seems to be adjusting to her new friend.  We look forward to many more years of great fun with both of them.

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