Friday, February 21, 2014


Well, guess what!  Tristan and I have a new brother who is a long-haired chihuahua, and here's how we got him.  On Saturday, Mom took the two of us dogs to Petco to meet some other dogs.  The cats didn't get to go.  First we met Max, who is a 2-year-old long-haired chi.  He was very cute, and he was the dog Mom most wanted us to adopt.  But there was somebody else who already put in a nice application for Max, so we were number 2 in line to adopt him.

We didn't know when the number 1 people would show up, and Mom didn't want to wait around for hours and hours to see if they really did show up.  So we met another dog named Hammie.  He was 6 years old and shyer than Max.  Also, he was not quite as good-looking, at least in my opinion, but we liked him okay, so we ended up adopting him.

Hammie has tall ears that stand straight up, and a pointy muzzle like a fox.  He has a lovely, feathery coat, all except for his tail, where there isn't much hair at all.  I think he looks like a tiny little sheltie with a dachshund's tail.  Hammie doesn't have any eye liner, which I think a dog ought to have, personally.  Maybe I'll ask Mom if she can buy some for him at the drug store.

Anyway, Hammie came from the same rescue group that Tristan came from.  It is called LL Dog Rescue.  Hammie and Max and some of their other chihuahuas had all been living together in a home in a small town called Lakin, which is in southwest Kansas.  The woman who owned these dogs got in trouble for being a hoarder, and a lot of her dogs were taken away and put in rescue groups.  But at least she wasn't a terrible hoarder, because she kept the dogs well-fed and in pretty good condition.  They just weren't very well socialized.  And they weren't spayed or neutered, which is probably why she ended up with too many dogs.

As soon as we adopted Hammie, Mom knew she had to change his name because we all hated it.  So she came up with a list of possible names, and she sent the list to Aunt Cheryl to get her opinion, and finally Mom decided to use "Marius."  She chose that name in memory of a giraffe who was killed in a Denmark zoo last week because his genes weren't needed in the giraffe breeding program.  There was a lot of publicity about this, but I don't want to go into the topic because I don't want people flaming each other in the comment section of my blog.  But if you want to read about the incident, you can go here.  Oh, and besides the giraffe's being named Marius, it turns out there was also a character in Les Misérables with the same name, but Mom had forgotten about that.

Anyway, the first night Marius was here, he kept running away from all of us, and especially from Mom.  He did the same thing the next day, too, but now he's getting braver.  The cats have decided that Marius is no threat to them, so they mostly ignore him.  Well, except for the time Jason attacked him and scared him half to death.

Tristan and Marius like to play

At first, Marius spent a lot of time howling.  We weren't sure why he was howling, but maybe he was trying to make contact with Max and the rest of his old buddies from Lakin, Kansas.  Mom says that if a person were lost in the Sonoran Desert, the howl of a wild chihuahua would definitely strike fear deep into the heart!

Tuesday night Marius started having diarrhea, and that continued Wednesday and Wednesday night.  We don't know if he was having this problem because of the stress of being in a new home, or the change of food, or what.  Yesterday, Mom took Marius to visit Dr. Vodraska, and Mom also took a nice poop sample for the lab to look at.

Dr. Vodraska checked Marius all over and said his hips were  so painful and stiff that he wouldn't even let her extend his legs.  Mom had thought the problem was his knees, but she was wrong, which is why it's a good thing she's not a vet.

So Mom decided to pay for an x-ray to find out what was going on with Marius' hips.  And what the x-ray showed was that the hip joints were shaped all wrong, and they probably had been that way since Marius was a little puppy.  Dr. Vodraska said it wasn't exactly like hip dysplasia, and there hadn't been any injury or anything like that.  It might be that Marius had something called Legg-Calvé-Perthes Disease.  In this disease, something keeps the blood from getting to the head of the femur, and part of the bone dies and doesn't grow like it should.  After a while, new blood vessels grow in, but the femoral head is always sort of weak and deformed.  Which can lead to osteoarthritis.

Sometimes this condition can be fixed by doing surgery called Femoral Head Osteotomy (FHO).  In this surgery, the head and neck of the femur are removed, and then the bone is held to the pelvis with scar tissue and connective tissue that grows in to fill the space.  Dr. Vodraska will send Marius' x-rays to an orthopedic surgeon to get an opinion on whether it would help to do this type of surgery.  If not, Marius can take pain pills for the rest of his life, and that should help him get around better.  Mostly, right now he has trouble jumping up on things, and it's also hard for him to hold up his back end when he's pooping.

Okay, well, that's all the exciting news about our new brother.  I'm sure I will want to write more another time.

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