Friday night, I went to bring in a new dog visit client. The dog was a Border Collie/Australian Shepherd mix. Border Collies as a breed have a very special place in my heart. I was immediately smitten with this gentleman, who had the length of leg and stub tail of an Aussie, but the coat texture, head and coloring of a Border Collie, except for a little merle-y swatch around one pastern, which I suppose could have come from either breed.
His name is Cody.
He had no known age, no known vaccination history. He had once belonged to his new caretaker's grandmother's neighbors, who moved out in the middle of the night, abandoning their dog in the fenced-in backyard with no food or water. The grandmother noticed that the dog had no food or water and threw edible things over the fence for him, tried to let him drink from her garden hose stuck between the chain-links. She didn't realize until a few days later that the people were no longer in residence. She called her son, and they broke him out of his home/prison and her son took him home. They fed him, and brushed him, and bathed him, and called their vet to make an appointment to get him checked out.
Which is where I met him.
Cody was an absolute angel the entire time we poked, prodded, lifted lips, and squeezed delicate underbellies. He sat as still as a statue while blood was drawn, and I set up the 3DX snap test.
The entire time I was in the exam room with him, I just kept thinking, "Who could possibly have decided to abandon this gem?" Truly, Cody is better than a gem. If I had a choice between Cody and a diamond, I'd pick Cody every time, hands down. I found myself really despising the people who had left him, without food, water or shelter, on some of the coldest days so far this season. It's one thing to feel you are forced to give up your dog. It's quite another to just leave the dog to starve or dehydrate in a fenced-in yard.
While Dr. S was talking to his new owner, Cody walked around the exam room spending a little time with each of us in turn. His owner, then me, then Dr. S, and back to his owner to start the rotation over again. He had the happiest look on his face, as though being at that place, at that time, is just exactly what he always wanted and couldn't ask for more.
Dr. S was also very taken with Cody. I was in the act of offering Cody a biscuit when Dr. S spoke to him, and instead of taking the biscuit from me, Cody went over to Dr. S and jumped up - not in the pushy demanding way some dogs have that almost knocks you over, but very gently. It was more as though he was standing on his hind legs to look into your face better and just happened to have his paws resting lightly on you for balance. Dr. S was just tickled. "Look at that! He's being offered food by a beautiful girl and instead he comes to see me. That doesn't happen very often, I'll tell ya." He grinned at Cody and said, "I like you. I really do."
The visit was about to end on a happy note when I went out to check the results of the 3DX in time to hear Dr. W ask, "So, who's heartworm positive?"
Cody's 3DX was the only heartworm test running.
Why. Why why why. I know a heartworm positive result is no longer a death sentence for a dog, but still, can't the dog catch a damn break? His clear Aussie/Collie features puts him out of the running for treatment with ivermectin.
At least he has a home that recognizes how special he is now, and is willing to care for him the way he, and every dog, deserves.
On the way to work the next morning, I heard The Cave playing on the radio. It reminded me of Cody, and I almost cried.