The Story of Honey the Boston Terrier
After a number of phone calls (and gracious apologies for a breakdown in communication), we learned more about Honey the Boston Terrier last night. Here's her story.
Early this month, laws designed to help fight the practice of puppy mills in Missouri were introduced (Missouri - much like Quebec - is known as the puppy mill capitol of North America). Once these laws went into affect, there was a wave of puppy mills and "breeding kennels" being closed or voluntarily surrendering all of their dogs because they didn't want to invest in making the changes (like, for example, something as simple as having larger crates for their animals). So many breeders dropped off unwanted dogs to the shelters that there's simply no room and many dogs are being euthanized.
Rescue organizations in Ontario, including LOYAL Rescue Inc., agreed to take dogs across the border to foster homes. Some of these breeders had 50 dogs. Some had a tally in the 70s. Honey came from a contact of one of these mass "breeders". She couldn't sell the pup and wanted rid of her.
And no wonder she couldn't sell her. Honey was an extremely malnourished and dehydrated 8 week old puppy (and as a result, underweight/small for her age). She had tapeworms and the giardia parasite. As a possible result of this lack of nutrition in her diet, combined with the parasitic infection, and/or perhaps an inherited flaw from her mom, Honey has an open fontanel (sometimes called fontanella) which is basically a puppy soft spot on her skull that hasn't closed (where the bones meet) when it was supposed to. It's not a completely uncommon condition in dogs. Some dogs have the soft spot until they are 6 months; some until 1 year. Some have it for the rest of their life and are completely healthy.
There's two concerns: 1) if the puppy is hit on the soft spot (roughhousing with other dogs or bumping into furniture), it can cause brain injury, seizures, and even death. 2) Sometimes the open fontanel is an indication of hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain), and neurological problems.
At this time, Honey's fontanel has gotten smaller since she's been eating better and on medication for the parasite. It's about the size of a dime. This is encouraging but it doesn't mean it will get any smaller. As well, there are no indications that she has any neurological problems.
So Yetch and I had a chat about the whole thing, and started bouncing around worst case scenarios and how we would handle them. We researched online, and I read a number of forum chats where people shared stories of their experiences with this. I even tracked down websites that make little doggie helmets (should she get worse but want to play with other dogs like a normal pup. A helmet sounds funny, but not two months ago an acquaintance of my mother's lost her puppy when she was playing with their older dog. They didn't know the puppy had an open fontanel, and while the two dogs were playing, the older dog hit the soft spot on the puppy by accident and killed him instantly).
It's a risk taking this pup, but after all she's been through, how could we deny her a loving home with humans who will take care of her? Besides, we claimed her as soon as we set eyes on her weeks ago.
We pick up Honey on Tuesday night. So watch for pictures soon, and a final decision on what her name will be.
On the bright side, her condition gives me an excuse to buy her a doggy sombrero or top hat.
Looking forward to teaching our American defector to sit, stay, and add the letter u to words like "colour" and "neighbour".