This is a dog in need of some help. "Kirby" is a new addition to our home (well, to our backyard.) I found him on an interstate exit yesterday morning. I could tell from the car that he was lost and exhausted; it took me 40 minutes of tracking and chasing, by car and on foot, to catch up with him. (And this was not
rapid pursuit.. he was moving at what could only be described as a 'creaky lope' most of the time.) In and out of the back alleys along Main Street, in Columbus. At one point he crossed
Main Street, in traffic, which is a terrifying thought.
More terrifying is the realization that this dog has probably been living like this for weeks. It's not evident from the picture, but Kirby's ribs are almost cutting through his skin. I could probably wrap both hands around his stomach and they'd meet at the fingertips. The average German Shepherd weighs 75-95 lbs. Kirby weighs 58.
But what a trooper. When I finally caught up to him, he was laying against a pharmacy storefront, tuckered out with no more fight or flight left in him. He must've slept for 14 straight hours in our backyard yesterday. At times I thought he'd passed, but his thin sides continue to rise and fall, rise and fall..
Our own dogs have been surprisingly respectful, and given Kirby some space and some peace. (Polly is the surprise, in this respect -- that dog can't let anything go without a huff and a good bitchin. Perhaps she remembers her own inaugural crash on a convalescent bed in our home.)
Today's been a better day for him. It started with a full exam at the vet's, where the prognosis was mostly good. Early-stage cataract growth in his eyes tells us that he's not a young dog. He's got bad skin problems (probably a flea allergy), broken teeth, and an ear infection. And, of course, severe malnutrition. Fortunately, all these problems are tractable ones. (Okay, those teeth aren't growing back, but...) So Kirby will be living with us for awhile, fattening up and getting his sorry little life back in order.
If it's ever been in order.He's a gentle, kind soul but a couple of things make us suspect that he came from neglect. You've got to look hard, and peer past the layers of recent trauma -- the skinny body and matted fur. That probably came from the last couple of weeks, and life on the street. But the worn down nubby incisors? And the bald, dry scabby behind? The vet thinks that probably predates his stray period. He looks, for all the world, like a dog that's been tied outside and forgotten. For a long time.
We don't know what to make of his past, but we're probably going to put very little energy into finding his previous owners. (Of course, we checked Pet FBI and a couple of other forums.) We're going to focus on getting Kirby strong, then finding someone who wants to make a kind old dog very happy for the remaining years of his life.
We really don't want to adopt Kirby, for a couple of reasons, but we absolutely won't let him come to harm again. He's our responsibility, now, until we can find someone willing to make him theirs. And he is a sweet, sweet boy.