The rat terrier I rescued from the humane society was so scared and such a bundle of nerves, I HAD to name her Miss Muffet–Muffie for short. I went there to look at a poodle. The poodle was young, feisty and friendly. Beautiful too! But then I saw this poor little shivering rat terrier curled up in a ball and my heart went out to her. I wanted to take her home and love her into a happy face. She was malnourished, her ribs quite visible. She had only six teeth, two bottom front which parked on the outside of her mouth. And she had visible cataracts. She shook and shivered and wouldn’t make eye contact all the way home.
When I put her in her bed, she stayed there immobile except to eat; and she ate as if the food would disappear before she got a chance to finish it. But she wouldn’t drink water, which worried me because all creatures need water to survive. I know that food contains some water, but certainly not enough. I had her seen by a vet. I wanted to know if she was dehydrated. Well, maybe she was, a little, but not enough for an infusion. So I started adding water to her canned dog food and she began to look better than a dog who had given up and was on her last legs. But the fear and the shaking persisted, and her lack of desire to know anything that was going on around her. When people came to the house and walked by her, she lay still, eyes closed, head tucked under. She never made a sound. As far as she was concerned, the little nest she made for herself with her body was the only safe place. After the first time I took her out to pee, she knew what to do and never had an accident in the house. The only times she got up or opened her eyes were to go out or to eat.
The problem with letting her out, if I tried to get her to come back in, she’d run. Being in a wheelchair, I had a hard time going after her. Sometimes she’d go to the far end of the yard, lie down facing the fence and make a nest there for herself. I’d finally have to ask my son to go out and get her.
This behavior continued for weeks. I just knew she was going to die if I didn’t do something. I decided to get another dog in the hopes that she might respond to a canine companion better than to a human. She’d obviously been terribly mistreated by a two legged.
After Betsy, a toy poodle, arrived, Muffie gradually began to come to life, until today it’s hard to believe she’s the same scared little thing I brought home two months ago. She’s gained weight, drinks water, still has a great appetite, runs in the grass, has made friends with not only Betsy, but with the two cats, has shown us she knows how to bark (wow! can SHE bark!). She and Betsy are competitive about my lap. When one jumps up, the other follows. They all get along beautifully, even nap together sometimes. Muffie likes to be petted and goes in and out of the house without fear.
She still has cataracts of course and I believe they’re a little worse but we’re keeping an eye on them. Betsy has had hip surgery for hip dysplasia but she gets around just fine. They’re both old ladies like me. Muffie is 7 and Betsy is 10. We can sympathize with one another. I’m so grateful for my beautiful companions!