One day I just got a jones for my very own man's best friend, and I determined that I would have one before the day was out. Well, by the end of the day I had picked out my friend, but I had to leave him at the shelter with the fear of someone else adopting him, because I needed to get my apartment set up for him with kennel and food bowls, etc.
Moose is yellow and beautiful. He is one year old, and although he has Lab-like energy springing from an inner fountain of eternal youth, he contains himself much better than some Labs I have known, even including my favorite childhood dog, Maggie Blanchard. Although he tugs at his leash, he has yet to drag my flailing body down the sidewalk, sacrificing my flesh in his pursuit of any one of a plethora of neighborhood squirrels (yes, Maggie did that). We are trying to learn many things, starting with the basic commands ("sit") and moving up through the sophisticated lessons of Caesar Millan (whose lessons are mostly for the human regarding dog psychology). He is trying hard to be good in between urges to eat trash or cat litter or to pee on the carpet. I had to teach him how to go up and down the stairs to my apartment, but he's got it down now.
Yes, I said apartment. Now my 704-square-foot one-bedroom is shared between me, Moose, and Coconut the Cat. No, they're not friends yet. Yes, I am aware that keeping a Lab in an apartment is a very strange decision, but I felt certain that my activity level would justify it. I started out taking Moose on two 30- to 45-minute walks each day, until the vet told me to cool it. I myself am guilty of that fountain of undying energy from time to time, so Moose and I make a good pair.
You see, Moose is actually heartworm positive. :( This means that he has been bitten by a mosquito carrying the heartworms. I don't know how long he has been infected. The shelter found him as a stray, and estimated his age at 1 year. I have no idea why he was stray: did he run away? Was he let loose on purpose? Did something happen to his owner? How long did he live the stray life? I don't know. All I know is that no one came to look for him once the shelter picked him up, and so eventually he went on the market for adoption. Heartworms can discourage people from adopting, but the animal shelter pays for the procedure to be done on animals who are adopted once they have stayed with their new owners for at least two weeks and gotten all acclimated. Moose will have the procedure in approximately three weeks. The shelter workers told me that I'll have to keep him absolutely as quiet as possible for 1 month after the procedure, but what the vet told me is that I should really try to keep him as quiet as possible from now (before the procedure) until one month after the surgery! Consequently, Moose is feeling a little stir crazy these days ... he doesn't know I'm trying to save his heart from permanent damage resulting in death!
When we went to the vet last week, Moose almost turned himself inside out trying to befriend every person and animal he met. He had two ear infections as well as one other issue (too personal to mention here) that we received prescriptions for. The vet told me he has allergies and needs to take Benadryl twice a day! Otherwise, Moose is an incredibly beautiful and healthy dog. People stop and comment on his appearance all the time. He is gorgeous, and his temperament is heart-warmingly wonderful.
Soon I will take him for play dates with other dogs, but right now I have to keep him out of overly-exciting situations, per doctor's orders. After the next couple of months go by, Moosey and I will be running together every day. :) And Coconut... well... My Precious will one day appreciate the company, she just takes awhile to accept change. She and I have a lot in common that way.