speaking of puppies, parvo and backyard breeding....
i don't know if i ever told you the story of meghann.
back in 1980 when i was an innocent dog loving mother of 2 very young children at 22 (even back then i thought i was so cool and knew everything there was and could do it all too!)...i decided i wanted to breed rough coated collies. 1 loved the breed..grew up on watching lassie on TV and reading "big red" show kennel stories.....you know how our young and ignorant minds used to work in our youth...everything was a warm and fuzzy fantasy!
the year before this i had briefly had an older adult PB dobie (benson) that i picked up from the pound....because before i wanted to breed....i wanted to be a dog trainer.... (my sister and i had taken our family white shepherds thru one level of dog obedience when we were young teenagers.) i had benson euthanized about 6 months after i had gotten him..we went thru a obedience course and he scored the hightest mark in the class. but benson had big time pain issues in his spine and his hips and one day he snapped at the baby and back then i did not know how to deal with that. the vet said i should put him down...so i did.
not having learned too much in the next brief span that followed....except that maybe training was not the best career for me....
i brought meghann, a tri colored collie pup up from the states with an eye to breed her when she grew up.
meggie was my first parvo pup. that was an expensive and unexpected education in keeping a sick pup alive...and she did survive....for awhile, but then following her illness, she became badly affected with demodex...as bad as merry. but meg was a collie..."white feet, don't treat..." and she couldn't be treated with ivermectin.
that left us lime-sulfur body dips..that was the only other treatment option way back then. as the millions of mites died off deep into her skin..it set off a massive infection. by the time i had her euthanized at 7 months old due to sepsis...i was several thousand dollars in debt and totally broken hearted. for all of her serious problems, i was haunted by the loss of loving her and my own guilt that i couldn't help her get well.
that was it....for the next 10 years...i barrenly lived dog free and concentrated on my family. evenually we bought stanley from a dilapitated back yard breeding shack selling cute, little mixed breed pups for 40 bucks. stanley survived my love of dogs...he lived happily and well loved until he was 16. it was during his lifetime that i started fostering cats and kittens for the spca and taking in the occasional stray to find them a new home. then i discovered private rescue when stan was 10 years old... we adopted tyra as a young puppy from a grassroots rescue society (she came with infected eyes, ringworm and demodex and was a total nutbar..back to the vet and obedience classes...deju vu and oh yay!)
once i found rescue..i was a born again rescuer...and poof for the next 15 years..i was lost in the endless stream of the unwwanted, the homeless, and finally the sick and the old.
but i remember benson and meghann and stanley and tyra and the lessons they taught.
i am glad i am not a trainer...i am glad i am not now a breeder.....but...not so sure i am glad i am a rescuer either if the truth be told.
all i know for sure is..ignorance is not bliss..and neither is actually really knowing. living with, learning from and loving animals...freaking well hurts.
ahh those freaking fingers of fate...they pinched me til i finally learned that animals were a helluva lot of committment, heartbreak and hard work....and if we really want to...even the most stupid (like me!) can actually learn from our past mistakes.