Thursday 9th July: A “stinking” hot day

The bedroom pups are getting too big to stay within the confines of their inside pen and balcony, so after today’s walk I don my Building Contractor’s hat to design and build a waterproof shelter by the side of the house.  There’s already an enclosure there, but shade and proper protection against the rain is needed.  The ‘swimming pool’, a large fibreglass fish holding tank, has never been used since Billy the water-loving pup left, so turned on its side it forms the wall and half a roof for the new shelter.  It’s amazing what you can find in the way of building material in such a small place, but the nearby house renovations have yielded some very large pieces of plywood which covert nicely into a roof.  Covered with some discarded plastic roofing sheets from the kennels to make it waterproof, the result is a shelter large enough to hold a couple of large dog houses and the eight puppies.

 I arrive late at the kennels, just in time to get to AFCD before they close at 4.30pm.  I had intended taking  out a very sad and fat little dog who was surrendered last week, but left instead with a young mongrel, Imogen, and pup Likki.

Imogen had already been at AFCD kennels for a while, and the first time I saw her I was immediately attracted to her very pretty looks and her sad face.  She had only just arrived and was very, very scared.  From then on, every time I went to choose or take dogs, I spent some time with Imogen, hoping that she would eventually come round and realise that I wasn’t going to hurt her.  Although never aggressive, Imogen continued to shy away from my hand, the look of fear in here eyes very clear to see.  It had got to the point on Tuesday when I was starting to consider the possibility of having to leave her, as I was getting nowhere with my offer of friendship.  That day Michelle was with me, and as I sat with Imogen in her kennel, Michelle had picked up a puppy from another kennel and was playing with it just outside.  As soon as Imogen noticed the puppy, her whole demeanour changed, and for the fisrt time her ears went up and her tail started wagging.  I beckoned Michelle to hand me the puppy, and then offered it to Imogen for inspection.  She was obviously excited, so I asked the AFCD staff if the puppy could be left in Imogen’s kennel, hoping that the company would help her.

ImogenI could never have expected the change that resulted from my matchmaking.  Today Imogen is no longer scared, and I have no trouble stroking her and even slipping a leash round her neck.  Even then, I fully expect that she will start thrashing and rolling when she feels the pull of the leash, but to my complete astonishment she walks out of the kennel quite happily, just checking to see that the puppy that I’m carrying in my arms is OK.  Even the microchipping and rabies shot are no problem, as long as the puppy is nearby.  After the routine vet visit, Imogen and Likki (so-called because she can’t stop kissing everyone) are put together in the Bear Cage, not an ideal spot but good enough until we have time to sort out a proper space for them.

Imogen outside the Bear Cage, Likki in

Imogen outside the Bear Cage, Likki in

 Later in the afternoon, two doglets from Lamma are brought over to see the vet, both scaredy dogs who hate to be touched even though they have lived with me since puppyhood.  One of them is Monkey Pup, Renate, who is one of the “victim” doglets, picked on incessantly by the others.  She has bald patches appearing and I need to have her skin checked, but in her fear she had pooed inside the travel crate and is now covered in the stuff.  I haul her out and onto the consult table, where she continues to empty her bowels.  Before Laurie, the vet, can even start to examine her skin, he has to spend a good five minutes cleaning up her rear end, and eventually the only option is to dump Renate in the dog bath and give her a thorough rinse.  At least the skin scrape shows no mites, just bacterial infection, so a course of antibiotics will do the trick.  Medicated shampoos would also help a lot but I put that option on permanent hold.

 The other doglet, Mayo, is so timid she has to be sedated to have her back leg checked.  It’s swollen and sore, more than likely the result of a puncture wound.  Mayo is another sharpei cross with a very short coat which offers no protection against the inevitable nips.  She too is prescribed antibiotics and pain relief.

 At AFCD I had spotted a new litter of white sharpei pups which I instantly recognized as being from the same family as Mayo and her siblings, and before that the Breakfast Club litter.  When I asked if they had come from Shek O the answer was yes, confirmation of my suspicions.  I don’t know what to do about these pups but at least they are still babies, unlike Mayo and the others who were already four months old when I got them.  I had hoped that they would lose their initial fear but they have remained semi-wild and totally unhomeable.

The two cream-coloured “Lorry Pups” are returned from foster today, and now that the Bear Cage is occupied there is no option but to take them back to Lamma.  More pups is the last thing I want or need, but at least I now have a free space in my house.  I add one of the stripey Lorry Pups, the playful one with the bob tail.  All three will go to Whiskers’n’Paws on Sunday, and if any of them are adopted I can take more from the group still left at kenels.

 Before leaving to go home, I have to make a quick run to the supermarket at Cyberport to buy some food for myself.  It’s only on the minibus that I look down and see that my T-shirt is covered in dog poo, the result of having lifted a poo-covered Renate out of her crate.  I can’t imagine what I smell like as I’m now immune to such things, but the giggles from the checkout girl seem to confirm my fears that I look and smell like a toilet.  Nice.

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