Chester Quinby

Pulled: Thursday September 22, 2011 from City of Columbia Animal Shelter

Rescue commitment: Sunday October 16, 2011 by Dachshund Rescue of North America

Meet Chester Q, squared. There is only one “Q” town in SC (my system of naming fosters), but since it’s a name I like, I’m going to have more than one Quinby foster. Q2 is a very special Quinby.

She is a 5-year old paralyzed mini-dachshund. I didn’t intend to get a dog on Thursday. I was at the animal shelter to pick up Kincaid, not to get another dog. In fact, I made a deal with Scott (that I’ll write about soon), and part of the deal is to slow down with the fostering.

I was in a different section of the animal shelter than I normally visit, the lost and found/relinquishment part of the shelter, rather than the adoption part, waiting for one of the shelter workers to bring me Kincaid.

A man walked in with Quinby.

Me: “Oh, you have a mini-dachshund! I have two at home!” [See our Mr. Knightley and Emma in the photo below.]

Man: “Yes.”

Me, noticing her back legs: “Oh no. What happened?”

Man: “I don’t know. She was already crippled in one leg. Then, she got into a fight with another dog, I guess. She’s suffering. Time to put her down.”

Me: “How old is she?”

Man: “Five.”

I looked at Quinby. She was using her two front legs to crawl around on the floor. She kept crawling to the man, trembling and whining. I kept expecting him to pick her up and comfort her, but he either ignored her or told her to sit still. To me, her suffering seemed to be more emotional than physical.

Emma is seven and Knightley is six. I looked at her and saw a slightly younger Knightley looking back at me.

“I’ll take her,” I said quietly, not sure how the people at the lost and found/relinquishment desk would react. I explained that I work with rescues, some of which focus on dogs with disabilities.

The man looked at me in surprise. “Okay. Yeah. I’d rather give her to you than euthanize her if you think you can help.”

One of the shelter workers overheard us and told us that we’d have to go outside “to talk about that.” So, we did. Once outside, the man confessed that Quinby didn’t get into a dog fight, that she was “run over” two weeks ago.

He didn’t take her to the vet after it happened. She was infested with fleas, and her nails look like they’ve never been cut. She looks like she’s had litters of puppies, and I wonder if the man was breeding her to sell the pups.

He had cared enough to wrap her most injured leg, but he hadn’t changed the wrapping in two weeks, so Quinby smelled like rotting flesh.

When I walked in holding Quinby, my mother and grandmother, who were visiting, assumed she was Knightly. — until I put her on the floor.

I immediately launched into an explanation and concluded by saying “Maybe she’ll have to be euthanized, but she at least deserves a vet visit. And to be rid of fleas. And to have a good meal and to be treated nicely before she dies.”

They didn’t argue. And my sweet grandmother slipped me a hundred dollars to pay for her vet visit.

Mom and I took her to our vet, Dr. Currie, who prescribed steroids and antibiotics but doesn’t hold out hope that she’ll regain feeling in her legs. Still, the vet tech said that Quinby was trying to wag her tail when I was speaking to her. Dr. Currie agreed that Quinby’s young and strong and isn’t in pain, so that helping her is worth an effort.

The effort hasn’t been quite what I’d expected it to be. — but in a good way. I put her outside when I got home, and she escaped from the fence. Being so small, she managed to slip under the front gate.

I saw her out my window, went to get her, and realized how quickly she can hop on her two front legs. Every time I almost had her, she’d hop under a car. When I finally got back with her, I was wet and muddy from what was left of an earlier rainstorm.

Mom: “What happened to you?”

Me: “The handicapped dog got away from me.”

Mom: “She only has two legs!”

Me: “Two legs that are faster than mine.”

And before the end of the day, she had climbed the stairs on the wood deck (how, I don’t know) AND escaped from the fence AGAIN. The second time, Miriam, my next door neighbor, and I chased her all the way down the street.

Handicapped?

Handicapable.

Finally, though, I think she’s realized that she doesn’t have to run away, that I’m not going to take her back to the shelter, or back to be poked and prodded by the vet (at least not immediately). Instead, she gets a nice bed, a dog bone, and a purple hippo. And, Scott’s working on her doggie wheelchair as I type.

And, in return, we get a big smile.

Favorite moment so far? Yesterday, Edisto jumped off the picnic table onto Kincaid. He did so accidentally, but Kincaid was startled from his nap, and attacked Edisto in retribution. The result: Ed has a scratch on one of his legs.

E. refused to eat, insisted on sleeping/pouting in the armchair upstairs, and came down at one point for sympathy, lifting his leg (the wrong one, that wasn’t scratched, by the way) for us to see.

Quinby hopped in the room, dragging her back legs behind her, and flashed a big doggie grin.

Ed looked at her legs, looked at his, and went back upstairs.

Good girl, Quinby.

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