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On Monday the family made a trip down to Pie Town to adopt a dog from Fur and Feather.  We picked up Dusty and brought her home; though we also left the door open to go back and adopt another dog, Swizzle, after Zia and Dusty got used to each other. 

Dusty got brought to the vet to get her rabies shot when we got home.  She got the shot, but the vet also discovered a cancerous mass.  It was sort of ironic.  Sam and CD had been looking at collars earlier in the day, before the appointment.  We all looked at a collar that looked cute, it was a breast cancer awareness collar, pink ribbons.  At the vet we found out that she had mammary cancer.  Particularly after Pepper (who also had cancer), what are the odds?  It was sort of hard to take.  It had been an emotional week for me already and it seemed sort of piled on.  It was also kind of hard to believe because Dusty seemed to be so perfectly fine, a little overweight maybe, but energetic and excited.  We called Fur and Feather to give them the news and ask what kind of arrangements they would like for Dusty's care, mostly because we knew they were attached to their dogs.  Predictably they suggested we take Dusty to the Ark of Socorro, the vet they used.  Surprisingly though, they offered to pick up the bill as well, which was amazing. 

It was at that same time that we decided it would be a good idea to adopt Swizzle as well.  We'd have three girls at home.  Laurie, the lady in charge of Fur and Feather, said that they would give us Swizzle with no adoption fees.  It was quite nice of her.  All we'd need to do in exchange was give some updates on how everyone was adjusting and how Dusty was recovering; something we planned to do anyway.  As far as the money thing goes though we're thinking about putting aside twenty dollars or so every month to donate to Fur and Feather, not just because of their allowances to us, but also because it's plain to see when you go there that they treat their animals very well.  The critters are happy.  The facilities are great.  It's a wonderful place, and of course no-kill.

On Friday Sam, CD, and myself made another trip down to Socorro for Dusty's vet appointment.  While we were there we enjoyed a great little local restaurant, El Matador, and did some shopping at an ACE Hardware and local gift shop, Sundance, while waiting for Dusty's operation to go through.  We didn't bring Zia with us, figuring it'd be too hot.  Laurie said she was running some errands in town and so was able to drop Swizzle off at the vet where they held her for us along with the paperwork.  We picked her up along with Dusty when she was ready for pick-up, which was actually about an hour or so sooner than was expected.  Other than the heat, particularly on the way back, the trip went fairly smoothly.  Of course I didn't have a Swizzle in my lap the whole way home like Sam did.

Right now there's a bit of adjusting going on at home.  Zia is getting used to having two more members of the family.  Dusty is so comfortable here already, she just has her physical recovery to worry about, though it seems to be going smoothly so far into the second day back.  Swizzle is a bit on the anxious side, and I think it'll take her a little while to adjust.  She is gets skittish sometimes around sudden movements by us tall people and is very curious about all the city noises.  From what we understand she grew up in the country, so she cocks her ears at every passing vehicle and enjoys just sitting on the back porch watching the road.  Right now we're keeping her on a run (20 foot chord) while she's in the back yard until she gets used to things.  She's a bit too curious about her surroundings still and we don't want to risk her jumping the wall; but at the same time we don't want to restrict her to being walked around the yard on the leash.  At the rate she's adjusting though (she's way better today, and yesterday, compared to when we first came home) I don't think we'll require the lead for very long.

All in all the last week has been particularly draining.  I feel like I get close to critters pretty quickly.  It was hard on me to learn about Dusty's cancer scare, though now I'm pretty optimistic about her recovery since there only seemed to be one mass and the vets are optimistic as well.  It certainly doesn't help that it's still fairly soon after Pepper's passing, I'm pretty sure that her cancer run-in (which was much worse than Dusty's) didn't help her later conditions.  I know that this household is so much more accepting, but I also think that some of my anxiety (not the extreme kind) with Swizzle too is based on when I was a kid.  My family had adopted a dog called Molly.  We kids got attached quickly, but after a while our step-dad, Tony, brought her back to the shelter because she was too energetic and destructive (she gnawed the trimming on the house).  Nowadays I know more how bad that can be for a dog, since the more they get returned to a shelter the more likely they are to be labeled "un-adoptable."  Even without knowing that then though I felt awful to return the pup to "dog jail" after giving her a taste of home.  With Swizzle being fairly antsy I think my feelings might be going back to that time.  Of course this household is a lot more patient and adjustable to the needs of our critters than the household I grew up in.  Besides that, even in the unlikely case that Swizzle has to go back, Fur and Feather is a wonderful place for critters and no-kill, so it wouldn't be the same as bringing Molly back to the local animal shelter or pound.

Generally I'm optimistic and happy with the last week.  The long trips south were certainly worth it, and I have little doubt that things will work out fine with our new family make-up.

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December 2012

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