July 27th, 2006

Thursday. I have a new puppy. Her name is Miss Brown and my longtime readers (all twelve of you) know all about her.

For those of you who are new to Dolittler, I’ll briefly recount her story: A four-month-old collie mix (Miami Dingo Dog, as I like to think of her) is spotted at a grade-school playground after an accident with a fence.

The pup has a badly broken back leg. She was accompanied by a series of would-be rescuers who expected the vet to fix the foundling for free. (I’m a vet, after all. Don’t I love dogs enough to spend hundreds of my own dollars seeing to her care?)

After a few days of righteous indignation on my part I realize no one’s going to help me with the puppy. I find a willing surgeon (the boyfriend, of course) who will repair this leg (a $2,500 surgery for most boarded vet surgeons). I pay off the surgeon’s staff with breakfast and lunch (not inexpensive) then spend the next two weeks rehabilitating her and providing basic training at night in my own home (and I must confess I don’t really enjoy training puppies—this is why I always adopt adults).

After all this effort on my part one of the original cast members from the grade school comes to collect the pup. I have no other prospects for a good home so I agree to her placement with a family. They seem responsible. The kids are ecstatic. I breathe a sigh of relief and request that I see her every two weeks until the leg is healed.

I don’t see them for six weeks. I’m relieved to see her leg is doing well. I had promised to spay her for free (as if I needed to do anything more for her, financially) so I comply.

A few weeks later she’s back with a horrible limp. She got over the fence while her family was on vacation (I had offered to watch her, incidentally) and was found in the street a day later. I’m horrified, of course.

At this point I’m aware her home is not a safe, high-quality establishment. I want her back. The kids are there so I don’t have the heart to ask that they return her if they can’t properly care for her.

Today I get a phone call. The puppy apparently chews everything. What a surprise! What puppy doesn’t spend half of its life trying to exercise its jaws and massage its maturing teeth and gums?

Bring her back, please. They happily comply. She shows up unbathed with a too-tight collar, overweight, untrained, and sore on her back leg. It’s clear she’s been living outside. I made a bad decision about her family and she’s had to pay for it. I feel guilty.

I have a new dog to care for now. I’ll have to spend a month rehabbing her leg and training her to be a good doggie in an indoor home. She’s such a good-natured pup I’m sure to find her a great home—know of one?