I know this is a little gratuitous but I’m really proud of our dog Sheepa. He’s come such a long way.
Before I begin, I want to stress that 99% of adopted dogs aren’t in the condition that Sheepa was in. He was the "dog nobody wanted" and thus was a project that I undertook. Most dogs available for adoption are in great health and good spirits – they just need a home.
In the beginning, he was a tattered mess. Sheepa’s fur was in such horribly bad condition that it was impossible to brush and coarse to the touch. Because no one wanted him, he didn’t get the greatest of care & his fur was urine-stained and smelly. And what was worse was that he had ticks & fleas all over him and was genuinely unhappy all the time because no one treated him very well. He was such a mess. As you can see in the picture he actually started smiling a little once we got him home in a comfortable environment. He was no longer in a kennel and could romp around freely in an air conditioned condo without worrying about other dogs bothering him.
Within 48 hours he’d been completely shaved. We called this, “Lamb” mode since he no longer looked like a "sheep". His fur was less than 1/4 of an inch long and he was VERY VERY scrawny. We were shocked at how skinny he was underneath all that bad fur. He literally took two days of grooming to have him completely cleaned & trimmed of bad fur. He hadn’t been cut so short in a long time that he seemed cold. When he came home, he slept… for probably a good 18 hours. We kept checking him because we didn’t know if he was still alive he slept so soundly and for such a long time.
Over the next few months we kept him well groomed and well fed. We switched to a better brand of dog food (Innova) which he really ate up and we started feeding him some canned food too to make sure he was absorbing it all. As you can see, his fur grew out very nicely – soft and cushiony! What was more important however was the fact that he was SMILING. He started smiling and licking his chops whenever we would bring his ball out or his snacks. We did discover that his stomach was very sensitive and wouldn’t take certain types of snacks, but one thing was for certain: He was very well incented by food and he loved to play.
Over time, he got healthy. VERY HEALTHY. No seriously – he actually wasn’t really fat like in the picture. This is just what happened when we bathed him and put him under the blow dryer. He looked huge but he really wasn’t that fat. Although he did gain 5 pounds, this was just a little above normal. He had a lot of body mass to make up after all. The ticks from his previous life had leeched away most of his body mass we think and he was just making up for lost weight.
And this is the Sheep today. He’s very happy and he has a really big smile most of the time. He’s active and although he’s slowing down due to age (he’s 13) and he can’t hear any more (he went almost completely deaf when he was 12) he still does just fine. He follows us wherever we go and he’s generally quite happy. He now knows how to shake, sit, lie down, rollover and stay. He also knows when it’s time for dinner and he sleeps next to me when I play video games in the living room.
Sheepa’s been the greatest gift.