Oops, I did it again! Last week it was the kitten (now healthy and living la vida leche with a feline foster mama), this week it’s a six month-old, mixed-Dane puppy who managed to find himself dumped, presumably after contracting a nasty case of demodectic mange (AKA, demodex, or “red” mange).

That’s how it happens. A pup can be cute as all get-out for the first couple of months but after a bit of housebreaking trouble and other juvenile discipline issues he starts to look a little less attractive. Add in some unsightly mange and maybe this relationship’s doomed forever.

Of course, I couldn’t resist when he crossed my path. At the shelter he’d last all of a couple of days before he’d be given the axe over his expensive dermatological condition. After all, demodex requires a costly pharmacological cure—with uncertain results. You can’t expect a shelter to shoulder that kind of burden—not when other pups have pristine skin ripe for the weekend picking.

Yet knowing that this pup—with his gorgeous coloration, winning smile and pleasantly loopy disposition—would find a forever home in the blink of an eye (if he were healthy), I couldn’t let him go down like that. Not this one.

Who knows why we latch on to certain animals. It’s a visceral decision we make when we take them on. Sure, we could easily let them go the shelter-way, since God knows we can’t take them all, but for some reason this goofball caught my eye, ratty and pink though he was with his mange-mottled coat.

Three days later he’s doing much better. Though you can see the pink still shine through his harlequin-style coloration, it’s a sight better than it was on Thursday night when he loped into my life.

Nope, not yet house-trained, not yet well behaved indoors, but he’s coming along nicely. In fact, he can already “sit!” “come!” and answer to the name of “Rex.” I think that’s pretty good for a miserably behaved teenager. Though “stay” and “down” elude us—not to mention the “do NOT pee on the tile!” thing—we’re definitely getting somewhere.

Maybe by next week Rex’ll be clean enough to start looking for a home. Who knows? If he’s smart enough I might actually manage the wee-wee thing before he goes. Anyone interested? Here are some pics:

And how 'bout these eyes?