DOGS HAVE BEST FRIENDS
Throughout the years and our association with many, many dogs in what were several dissimilar groups, we have realized that sometimes certain dogs will form very strong bonds with another dog resulting in what must be considered nothing less than “best friends.” We have been fortunate enough to be associated with several such occurrences.
MOTS and A-Mazie are a perfect example of this wonderful bonding between two dogs.
Here are their stories.
One cold late afternoon in December while driving home “Mom” stopped to allow for what appeared to be a squirrel, sitting square in the middle of the street, time to get out of harm’s way. She quickly realized that it was a very tiny puppy and it was not moving. Gathering up the near frozen puppy and placing it inside her down jacket she brought it home. This puppy was a mere four week old, obviously taken from her Mother and dumped, to either fend for herself, or die. How she survived the cold and loneliness, without food, is miraculous. It may be a stretch of the imagination to believe that this poor little creature, especially one so young, had enough survival instincts to put herself where she was sure to be seen and (hopefully) saved. On the other hand, maybe it was just that the street was warmer than the ground, and one so young had no way of knowing the danger of being in the street. Regardless of the reason she was there, there was but one name for her, Middle-Of-The-Street = MOTS.
Our new little bundle of fur was a very sick little puppy when we found her. Because she had been taken from her Mother too soon, she had not received the proper nourishment and immunizations that puppies normally get from mother’s milk, and the lack of even basic puppy care (worming, etc.) had compounded her overall health problems. Suffering from malnutrition, malabsorbtion and fat intolerance, she required a great deal of veterinary care over the course of many months to stabilize her dietary needs. When her permanent teeth came in, they showed the tell-tail signs that she had even survived distemper as a puppy.
Still such a tiny wisp, she became a “pocket-puppy” and rode around that winter in the pocket of Mom’s down jacket while she recovered from the after effects of her mistreatment and abandonment. However, she recovered in time and became Mom’s tag-about, growing into her Basenji heritage.
MOTS found her first “best” friend with the arrival of A-Mazie (from Amazing Grace) almost a year later.
A-Mazie arrived early one cold December morning; dropped off by a nephew who was unable to handle a Momma birthing her puppies (he was carrying the first-born inside his shirt!). This little Beagle had such a great disposition (even while in the throws of labor, having been up-rooted and placed in unfamiliar surroundings with a perfect stranger) that she was able to get over her initial fears and quickly accepted the situation and placed her trust in Mom. Mom had prepared a whelping box with all the necessities needed in a private warm room of the house and in the next few hours this tiny Beagle Momma, not much more than a puppy herself, delivered four more big, healthy puppies; 5 in all, 4 males and 1 female. Additionally, it was apparent shortly after birth that there had been at least 4 different “big-breed-type” Fathers. Witnessing this, the first thought that came to mind was “How Amazing” – followed by Amazing Grace. Not wanting to loose the “amazing” part of all this by calling her Gracie – her name became A-Mazie! She proved herself to be a marvelous Mother especially when her puppies quickly became nearly as big as she was; she continued nursing, cleaning and constantly checking on them. She was a confident Mother and even introduced her babies to MOTS, who having been deprived of the formative time with her own Mom and siblings and without having had puppies of her own, was totally perplexed and confused at these small beings that seemed to take time away from her and her newfound friend. The puppies grew and grew and MOTS never was quite able to be comfortable around them and their helter-skelter playful antics in and around the kitchen floor. She would just watch and wait patiently on the outskirts of their play area until her friend could come and play with her.
Perhaps because of being nearly the same age, A-Mazie and MOTS “took-to-each-other” immediately, like two eighth grade schoolgirls, maybe giving A-Mazie just the occasional relief she needed from her new motherhood. Except for the time required for A-Mazie to feed and care for her puppies the two became inseparable; playing, rassling, and sleeping together.
At the appropriate time, good homes were
found for A-Mazie’s puppies – another amazing story, as all were
different breed-types, which is possible but seldom seen as four different
types. They were: “Cleopatra”/
DOGS CAN AND DO GRIEVE
A tragedy was visited on these best
of friends far too early, as A-Mazie was drawn to wait at the “
MOTS was devastated! Her friend was gone; she couldn’t find her anywhere. She couldn’t eat, couldn’t play, nothing, but grieve. This went on for many months, with MOTS becoming withdrawn from the others, and clinging to “Mom”, never letting out of her sight. Her actions were a true testimony of how pets can and do grieve. Her grief was so apparent it seemed she might literally die from a broken heart.
CLEO TO THE RESCUE
Just before A-Mazie’s death, one of her puppies, Cleo, was returned to us, as her owner who was elderly had had an auto accident and having to go to live with his daughter (who was allergic to dogs), couldn’t keep her. Our policy has always been that any animal we adopt out may be returned to us, at any time, no questions asked. Cleo was back.
Maybe it was Cleo’s puppy playfulness, maybe it was because she had just enough of her Momma, A-Mazie, in her, in any case, she began to draw MOTS out of the depths of her depression and in due time, these two bonded perhaps more closely than had MOTS and A-Mazie. The games they played were all without rules, and all involved rough-housing, tag, rumbling, growling, dragging each other by the ear, neck, leg, anything they could latch onto; and all were always followed by a two-lumped-together nap.
MOTS and Cleo, who was now showing traits more closely to
those of a Beagle-Basset-Labrador (BeagleBasaDor), had
nearly four great, good years together before MOTS was called, unexpectedly, to
wait at the
Cleo, distraught by MOTS’ crossing, was drawn into a deep, dark depression, with a deep sadness so evident on her sad BeagleBasaDor face. Her effervescent ebullience seemed to be destroyed, as she became trapped in her deep sorrow at the loss of her dear MOTS. She would hole up, by herself, for hours either in the “bunkhouse” or any dark corner in Mom’s kitchen. We were at a loss as to how to help her, except to constantly reassure her that we loved her.
MORE FRIENDS STORIES
A little more than a year after MOTS crossing, “Mom” was on a mission for a friend to the local animal shelter (what a horrible choice of words!) when she spotted another Basenji cowering in the hopelessness of that awful place; and rescued her. Whatever it was, out of compassion for the little Basenji, or some subliminal desires to bring Cleo another friend similar to MOTS, the little girl’s life was saved and she was brought home to our sanctuary. “Grateful” would be the supreme of understatements in describing the little Basenji’s actions immediately upon entering Mom’s kitchen where she erupted into a tornado of playfulness with all the toys therein. Naming the little girl, in honor of MOTS, was difficult; and thus she became TSMO, just the best combination of MOTS’ name that we could arrange.
TSMO has been a fireball since her first day of coming to our sanctuary. It was hoped that her energy would draw Cleo out of her funk, in time.
TSMO’s coming was timed with another arrival, Cagney, a pure white German Shepherd, who had been abused and shuffled around from pillar to post until “Mom” heard enough and brought her to our group. TSMO and Cagney immediately bonded so tightly that they seemed to be forming their own gang; and some small frictions soon became apparent between TSMO and Cagney, and Summer (part Wolf) who fancied herself as 2nd-Alpha in charge of group play and communal behavior. Good friends are good friends, but it was soon evident that this kind of friendship could lead to problems in the sanctuary pack structure.
Fortunately, a timely adoption was arranged for Cagney with a woman who had always owned German Shepherds and who could provide a good home for her. For four months, TSMO and Cagney had been best friends and we were sure that they would miss each other, but sometimes the good of all must overrule a continuing relationship. In this case, we were sure there would be no lasting trauma, and things worked out that way.
Six months after Cagney’s departure, “Mom” volunteered for a special mission to recover a German Shepherd pup from the local shelter (ah, that awful word again) and the scene was set for yet another canine friendship. “Riley” was brought home one afternoon, the plan being that another rescue volunteer would pick him up the next day and drive him halfway to a new home. However, the best laid plans often run awry and Riley became ill with what was thought to be simple diarrhea, but turned out to be distemper (80% of all dogs contracting distemper die). His adoption was cancelled by his new owner and rather than return him to the shelter where he would surely perish, he was treated and nursed back to health by “Mom” here, and survived a vicious case of distemper. Then five months old, he had barely regained his health when three weeks later he was diagnosed with Parvovirus, another life threatening disease. Recognizing his plight in time, and getting him to the vet, where he would spend the next six days and five nights getting intravenous fluids and drug therapy, saved him.
Along the way, it became apparent to us that Riley was not a pure bred German Shepherd (GS) but had a little chow (black tongue) in his lineage. As he’s grown his coloring looks mostly German Shepherd. He has the Chow tail curled over his back, a shorter muzzle than a normal GS with a broader head, which is red on top, much like a red Chow. “Carrot-Top” has been most appropriate, especially when coupled as the “Carrot-Topped Chow-derheaded Shepherd.”
Once well and home, Riley was ready to be-a-pup and romp. He found a perfect partner and friend in TSMO. Once she “latched” onto him Riley was her friend; and another mutual admiration/devotion had begun. They have played constantly, rassled, and engaged in mock battles, which are never anything but a lot of teeth baring, ugly growling, yowling and face-spitting. They are a regular “Mutt & Jeff” team, Riley weighing in at 65# and TSMO tipping the scales at a hefty 28# soaking wet; but they are best friends, and that’s all that matters to them. We all hope that the biggest problem they have for years is deciding who’s going to be “IT” for tag – usually decided that Riley will be “IT” as TSMO is by far the fastest, more like greased lightning and as agile as a ballerina (while being chased by a bull!).
In the meantime, TSMO, always ready for play, has tempted Cleo into several games of chase and be chased which has helped to ease her pain. It appears that time and TSMO (the little rascal looks so much like a MOTS and plays so much like MOTS that Cleo finds it hard to resist jumping back into familiar games) will help to heal Cleo’s broken heart.
Such are some dogs and their friends that we have known. Maybe it’s strange, maybe not; but it’s warmed our hearts to see dogs have such good friends and be so devoted to them. ……..And, some people say they’re just dogs!