Rescue Story #1 – Puma   6 comments


This is the first rescue story I’m posting. It’s from Erica Mueller and I cried ten times. Thank you, Erica.

This is my late greyhound, Puma.  When you have greyhounds, strangers always ask if you rescued them. I explain that virtually all pet greyhounds come from dog tracks because although there are AKC-registered greyhounds, they are few and far between, while many thousands of greyhounds are excessed by the racing industry every year.  In fact, I didn’t rescue any of the 7 former racers I have adopted in the last 15 years.  They were already safe in adoption kennels.  I did save 7 greyhounds, but I’ll never know their names.  When I adopted my dogs, it created kennel space so those unknown 7 could reach safe havens, no longer at risk for the needle, bullet, or crowbar because they were injured, or just not fast enough.

I used to refer to Puma as my “dumb blonde”.  He was dainty and gorgeous, but not the quickest, intellect-wise.  He was faster than his “greymate” Dutch, who did have a racing career, but Puma never raced because although he liked to run, he wouldn’t follow the lure. He’d been in a pet home before, but hid in a closet because the husband was abusive to his family. When the wife managed to leave, she was unable to take Puma with her and returned him, at age 3,  to the adoption kennel.
Fast forward to 6 yrs ago, Puma was 12 yrs old, which is about 80-ish in greyhound years. Dutch, his security blanket, had terminal cancer.  Knowing how Puma relied on Dutch for reassurance that he was safe, I adopted a third greyhound, 5yr old Rorschach, as soon as I knew Dutch was on borrowed time, so that Puma would not be “alone” once his best friend died.  The hound trio got along well, and Puma did not appear to grieve for Dutch, but he wasn’t deeply bonded to Rorschach. Meanwhile, I was diagnosed with cancer, and had major surgery.  Before the operation, a dog door was installed because I knew it might be hard to cater to the dog’s toilet needs. There were complications, leading to a prolonged recuperation.  In January 2005, about 6 weeks after the operation, we had a sunny, 60-degree day that melted much of the heavy accumulation of snow.  I’d been able to keep the stairs leading down to the fenced backyard shoveled, though I wasn’t supposed to exert myself like that.  In the middle of the night, Puma scratched at the bedroom door. Before the dog door, he’d only wake me at night if he was going to have diarrhea. Once the dog door was in, he didn’t need to.  I told him to go back to sleep but he persisted.  I thought he’d either forgotten he could get out on his own, or that the snowshovel on the porch had fallen over and blocked the door. Following Puma, I hobbled weakly to the porch door and turned on the light – at which point he bolted back onto the living room sofa, his favorite bed.  It was then that I saw Rorschach at the bottom of the stairs.  After the warm weather, the stairs were like glass, the sheet of ice-melt having re-frozen.  Rorschach had gone down to the yard, but was unable to get back up.  He was standing nearly chest-deep in snow, hypothermic and, as always, too polite to bark.  I spread paw-safe ice melt onto the 8 stairs, carefully descending them, and had to lift Rorschach onto the stairs, one leg at a time, half-dragging him by the collar.  He was too cold to help much.  Had Puma not come to his aid, he would very likely have died by morning.
Prior to this stunning display of canine altruism, I never doubted the many stories of hero dogs, but I certainly never thought that one of my own pets was capable of  such valor.  Certainly not timid, scatterbrained, elderly Puma!  Maybe his disinterest in chasing a lure was not so dumb, after all…

Posted September 25, 2010 by julieklam in Rescue Stories

Tagged with

6 responses to “Rescue Story #1 – Puma

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. Beautiful story….thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow. What an amazing story. Keep them coming, Julie.

  3. I had no idea that Julie would publish Puma’s story, much less his picture. I should have credited and thanked Praveen Mutalik for the photo. He is a very talented Massachusetts photographer and Greyhound-o-phile whose hobby is taking pictures of adopted Greyhounds at many hound gatherings around the country.

  4. I love it that Puma bolted back to bed once Mom was up. Erica, thanks for your kindness to these creatures.

  5. It was a lovely, sad, sweet story of these creatures that enter our lives. Having been owned by 3 greyhounds since 1996, I can totally relate to everything stated.
    Bless you Puma, for saving your housemate!

  6. Steve Jobs wasn’t the only tall, skinny guy who died on Wednesday. Rorschach, age 12 yrs 7mo, passed unexpectedly, at home, on his bed. Curiously, nearing 7 yrs later, it was once again almost a case of death by exposure. He probably suffered an episode of vestibular syndrome (he’d had it before) while in the yard early on a cold morning. I am a night owl who went back to bed after opening the dog flap at dawn, and when I arose 5 hours later, he was collapsed and hypothermic outside. It was sunny, but the ground was damp and cold. I took a blanket out, thinking I’d have to drag him but he got to his wobbly feet and made it back into the house with me supporting him on the stairs. Covered in fleece, he seemed to be getting better but then his breathing slowed, and stopped. It was a shock, but he had some chronic problems. Last winter was very hard on him.
    Recently I began taking him for chiropractic, which helped his hind end weakness, in hopes of getting him through another winter. He was improving, but would it have been enough? He also had laryngeal paralysis, which makes breathing difficult and weakens the heart, which resulted in heat exhaustion during the late July heat wave. I am grateful that this did not happen when there was two feet of snow on the ground. I was facing the decision to euthanize him. Ever the consummate gentleman, he spared me that difficult choice.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: