Last summer we took in four rescued Borzoi, one from the Houston area (quickly re-homed) and three from Oklahoma, two bitches and a neutered male. The three Oklahoma rescues were in terrible shape when we got them: rotten teeth, black with flea dirt, badly matted, suffering from skin problems and full of parasites. While not starved, they were all undersized and clearly suffered from malnutrition. They all went directly to our vet’s for treatment: the girls were spayed, their coats were cut off, any bad teeth extracted, vaccinations given and tests run for heartworm.
The male, whom we called Smoke, was the very worst off temperamentally. At the vet’s, he tried to hide under chairs and benches or in cubbyholes. He lay flat to the ground and wouldn’t raise his head to look us in the face. We have no doubt he was abused by a man since he would have nothing to do with me. Never had we seen such a woebegone, defeated dog.
When the rescues came home, we set them up in large, comfortable crates in the breakfast area off the kitchen. Smoke was given a crate nearest the traffic so that he would become accustomed to our comings and goings. A nearby door gave quick access to an exercise pen outside. Smoke would huddle in a corner and not want to come out but my lovely bride, whom all animals implicitly trust, was able to coax him out.
All the rescues had unlimited access to food and water. One of them – Nethie, a bouncy, happy girl – thought she’d hit the jackpot; her head was always in a food bucket. In the morning and evening I’d fix a meal of kibble and canned meat for them. I and only I would feed Smoke. The television in the next room was usually tuned to the Baseball Channel so that Smoke would hear mostly male voices in a comfortable, non-threatening environment.
Smoke never became outgoing but he learned to trust even me not to harm him. One of the girls, Ahnor, went to a new home in Florida and Smoke and Nethie went out to the kennel. Smoke was in the same pen as Alan, who basically ignored him. He lay on his hammock and, if not outwardly happy, at least lived a tranquil life. He would even bound off his bed to come to the gate when I handed out evening treats.
On Sunday, Smoke went to his new home here in the Houston area. He’ll get to live in a house with a couple of rescued Afghans and a brace of rescued Italian Greyhounds. His new owner has given him the name of Stan and says that while he’s unsure he’s settling in without major incident.
Good luck and God bless, Stan. You deserve it.