Part 2 – Mokey “Great Scott” Von Barkenberg: An Adoption story

This is part 2 of a two part post about the adoption of my dog and mascot, Mokey.  If you’d like to read part one, you can find it here.

Part 2: Adaptation

When we left off, The Boy had found “his dog.”  I feel the need to stress just how important this moment was to Tikki’s life because to this day The Boy likes to remind me of how his intuition was superior to my own.  I was cold, wet, hungry, a little terrified at the same time.  The Boy needed to push me to commit to adopting Tikki.  I’m glad he did, but I’m afraid I will never live it down.

We took Tikki home that very night and changed her name to Mokey, and if it wasn’t for that Pomeranian we were pet sitting at the same time, I think we might have forgotten that Tikki was around.  She was quiet.  She liked to hide.  And due to her having just been treated for fleas, we we were advised to keep her and the pom separate.

Adopting an adult dog wasn’t quite what cartoons and movies would have you believe.  Tikki wasn’t Annie’s Sandy or even Hawkeye’s Pizza Dog.  Good intentions did not instantly translate into a dog’s devotion.  There was A LOT of trust that needed to be developed, especially when even the sounds of an electric razor would end in her hiding under a chair for at least 15 minutes.  I began to worry that I wasn’t smart enough to figure out how to help her adapt to her new home.  I was really concerned that I wasn’t going to be able to do right by her during those first few months.  Then, after what we thought would be a routine appointment, the vet called us with some tough news.

Mokey had tested positive for heartworm.

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This is pretty much how Mokey spends her days now. I remain insanely jealous.

This was by no means a death sentence, but it was difficult and potentially expensive news.  Due to how uncommon cases of heartworm are up in New England, our vet had never treated heartworm before and the treatment alone would cost almost $1,000.  During the treatment and for the months after, Mokey would need to be kept calm and as still as possible to prevent the dying worms from blocking her pulmonary vessels. The Boy and I were stunned and ill-prepared.  But while we tried to figure out our best plan of action, I contacted the rescue where we got Mokey so that they could get their other dogs tested.  When the head of the rescue called me the next day, she made me an offer I was really tempted to refuse.

The new plan of action that was presented to us was pretty simple.  The rescue would arrange for Mokey to be picked up after their next adoption event.  She would be brought back to the woman who ran the rescue and she would oversee Mokey’s treatment herself.  Rescue Lady spent a lot of time providing us with reassurances and promising that Mokey would have someone watching her, keeping her calm, and taking great care of her until she was well enough to be dropped off home again.  It was simple.  It was something they did all the time for their rescued dogs.  And lastly, since Mokey would be sharing the treatment with other small dogs who needed small doses, the whole thing wouldn’t cost us a penny.  Rescue Lady even offered to email regular updates and pictures to make me feel better.

The Boy and I talked about it for a long time.  About a week later, I stood at my front door and cried for almost a full half hour after the rescue picked her up.  Mokey had immediately recognized the rescue worker and panicked when she saw him.  She pulled, tried to hide behind me, and for the first time made me realize just how deeply I had fallen in love with this little dog.  It was horrible, and the worst thing about it was that there was a part of me that was convinced I would never see Mokey again.

The next two months were horrible for The Boy and I.  We had only had Mokey for a few months, but we felt her absence.  Friends excused our irritable behavior by sharing Mokey’s story.  I began to formulate horrible scenarios in my mind about what was really happening with our dog.  The one that I really couldn’t let go of was the belief that Mokey was part of some scam where they adopt heartworm-positive dogs out to poor unsuspecting people only to collect the adoption fee, then take back the dog for “treatment” before trying to adopt it out again in hopes of receiving another fee.  While I had all this time to fret and second guess our choice, I received only two emails from Rescue Lady about Mokey.  The first one confirmed her treatment, and the second came over a month later letting me know when Mokey would be returned.   As much as I hated Rescue Lady for not providing me the communication I was promised, this was the best news I ever got.  Mokey would be home before Christmas.

Even the day that Mokey came back to us was marred by poor communication.  Running late and with several dogs to drop off, I received a text letting me know that the driver needed to sleep and wouldn’t be stopping by until sometime the next day.  I think if I had been some horrible 1990s anime/manga character, I would have turned Super Saiyan and used the power of my own annoyance to fly to NH to get my dog.  Sadly, I was still myself and did my best to sleep through another night of anticipation and worry.

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When Mokey isn’t sleeping, she is running out to various social engagements. Here she is all ready to head out to her first pool party.

The happy ending to this story did eventually come that next day.  As soon as Mokey saw me through the van window, she began to squirm and paw at the door.  She jumped out of the van and immediately came over to me and scratched at my legs until I picked her up.  The little dog who had been so timid and cautious with her affection before licked my face and sat in my lap until The Boy came home from work.  As soon as he walked in the door, the three of us sat on the kitchen floor together – The Boy and I giving her scratches and cooing over her like a couple of weirdos.  And Mokey’s response? She rolled on her back, nuzzled her face into our sides, and for the first time since we had adopted her in early summer, she whined and cried and begged for more attention.  Mokey had finally found her voice, just in time to let us know how much she missed us.

Notes: I have had people ask me for the name of the rescue where we got Mokey.  I do not give out their name because shortly after we got Mokey back, we were told that the rescue had lost its license to adopt out in NH.  A round of googling would then let me know that Rescue Lady had been brought up on animal cruelty charges and the rescue’s Petfinder listings and homepage quickly disappeared.  Further proof of how lucky The Boy and I were to find Mokey.

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When Mokey finally publishes her memoirs, she has asked that we use this picture of her on the dust jacket. She certainly does look distinguished.

So that’s the story of my little dog and how she became a real part of my family.  I love hearing about how people got their pets and highly recommend that others consider adopting a dog from a rescue.  Even bad experiences can turn out well, and I don’t regret a thing.  Though I do know that next time, there are a few things that I would do differently.  So at this point, I’m sure you all know the drill.  Have a great pet story to tell?  Wanna just post a picture of your pet?  Share in the comment box below and I’ll be sure to tell Mokey you said “hi.”  Unless of course you are The Goog…

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