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Old dog, new tricks

Dakota gets his 3rd chance at age 9

A birthday

August10

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Dear Dakota,

We are having a birthday pawty today, and I’m sorry you aren’t here for the sardines. Evelyn is 5 today. I know you don’t care because your relationship with her was often ambivalent. I don’t blame you for that at all, sweet boy. She is the best worst dog we’ve ever lived with. We will give her the sardines today and remind her to think about you, but I can’t make any promises that she will. The humans, however, think about you often. How could we not? If you have celebrations where you are, go party hard for the worst roommate ever and have fun. You deserve that and so much more.

-Your Woman

005


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There’s a right way to babysit, and a wrong way

November6

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You know my pack added a hairless bipawd pup over the summer, right?  It belongs to my oldest Boy and his Woman. Ugly little sucker, but so very interesting to sniff! It spends a lot of time here because its parents work, and my Woman doesn’t trust anyone else to watch it. I understand. Anyone else would probably leave it in the woods because sometimes it’s very noisy, and sometimes it’s very dramatic.

I do like to lay near the pup sometimes and watch it. I find it fascinating. I’m not sure why. I’d make a pretty reliable babysitter because I’m not interested in its toys. Evelyn would take them and destroy them. She has a thing for toys. I do not.

So I thought I’d show you the difference in how Evelyn and I are at babysitting. One of us actually watches the baby. The other one is a baby.

 

i was good!

July14

hey guess what? this time it was not my fawlt! momma even sed so! she took me to the male box. i even had my leesh on this time. on the way back there was this little dog that i did not know. the little dog was a bitchin frisbee. that is what my pop calls it. momma sed oh no do not say that. it is a bichon frisee. she spelld it for me. anyway, the bitchin frisbee tried to jump on me. it made ugly face at me and ugly noise. i was good. i backed up. i thought she was a ugly dog. i don’t want to be her fren now. there. i’m done.

-evelyn

Lazy or loyal? You decide.

July1

At my post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shari here, taking the wheel from Dakota for a minute. This is what we come home to whenever we’ve been out. Every single time. Dakota can be a royal PITA at times with his quirks and fears and oddities, but when I come home and this is the first thing I see it can almost bring tears to my eyes. 

Well, when they stopped the car and brought me into the car and into their lives, I wanted to do something in return. I can’t do much but I can watch. I can wait. I can let them know that the most important thing to me is when they open that door and come back. That’s all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I got high with a little help from my friends

May10

This is your dog.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is your dog on drugs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And this is your dog on drugs after surgery to remove a tooth that was broken off by the worst roommate in the world.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am ok. I am on drugs. I am too wasted to write more. I will write more later. That is all.

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What came before

Dakota is our Golden Retriever mix, and he was likely born in February 2002. His full name is South Dakota Watson, and we found him on Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota in August 2002. The area we discovered him had no homes, no structures, no bodies of water, no shelter. He had his permanent teeth but was still a puppy, so we assumed 6 months was a reasonable age guesstimate. He weighed 12 pounds, which was grossly underweight. Two weeks later, he weighed 23 pounds. He was too weak to eat much so we fed him 6 times a day. Sometimes he would just collapse at his food dish and fall down, and I would have to feed him by hand.

I wish Dakota could write this page because he is the only one who knows the beginning. From his birth until the day we found him, we have no idea what he endured. Well, that’s not entirely true. We know some of it, and other bits we can infer from his behavior. For instance, we know for a fact that Dakota was suffering from malnutrition, sarcoptic mange, assorted internal parasites, flea anemia, dehydration and dental enamel hypoplasia (pitting and staining of the teeth commonly resulting from distemper as a puppy before the teeth emerge). We can infer that Dakota had distemper from the hypoplasia. We can infer that he was deliberately dumped. And we can infer that a man in a baseball cap wearing sunglasses hit him with some kind of stick and chased him off with a hose. Dakota has problems with all of those things.

Dakota has every reason in the world to hate people, but he doesn’t. He’s very mistrustful of strangers, but he is beyond loyal to his family. Once he meets someone and gets the ok from us, he opens his heart to them, too. He is very attached to me, probably because he was isolated (due to the mange) for the first 11 weeks we had him. He had nice digs set up for him in our house, but he could only look at our other 2 dogs and not touch them. I was the one providing all his care during that time, as we found out the hard way that mange can be transfered to humans. To protect our young son, no one but me played with Dakota during those 11 weeks.

Because we feel pretty sure that Dakota survived distemper, and he survived being abandoned, surviving cancer should be no biggie for him.

We know Dakota’s cancer is not an osteosarcoma, and his chest films were clear, one month apart. We are very optimistic about his long-term prognosis in light of those facts. Hopefully we have several more years with him and he will grow old with us, just as he should.

Right after we got home with Dakota, all 12 pounds of him.

Eyes swollen shut, ragged ears, and just as calm as could be.