Happy Birthday to my Rat Dog

Rat Dog celebrated her third birthday this past Thursday!   This is a small dog with a big story. If you remember from previous posts all 3 girls are rescued. They all have their own, unique story. So here it is…Rat Dogs story!

Meet Rat Dogs mom…Zu Zu.

Zu Zu was rescued from a puppy mill 3 years ago.  A friend of mine was volunteering for our local animal shelter. They had been notified a puppy mill in Georgia had been shut down and our local shelter had volunteered to take the dogs rather than all the dogs being put down. Around 75 dogs were to arrive within the next week.

I guess the shelter didn’t have enough space and asked the volunteers to find reliable foster parents until they could find permadent homes. Being the animal lover that I am, my friend asked if I would be interested in fostering an adult dog.  Of course I would…why not!  She said there were alot of small dogs all of various breeds. I really didn’t care what the dog looked like or the breed of dog it was. I simply said to pick a dog she thought would need the most work…meaning a dog that may not be housebroken, accustomed to people or other dogs, etc.  So I ended up with a black female pomeranian approximately 3 years of age (incase you don’t know black dogs have the least likely chance of being adopted in a shelter…probably the reason why I currently have 3!).

I can’t begin to tell you how emaciated this tiny pomeranian was. She was a giant ball of fur and bones. Besides being terrified of anything and everything. She was afraid to go onto the grass, she didn’t know how to go up or down stairs, she would drink large amounts of water at once, and any sudden movements frightened her. I knew I had my work cut out for me but there was something very tender in her sweet brown eyes that assured me that it would all be ok. My mom came up with the name Zu Zu and it seemed to fit her well!

Over the next couple of weeks I fed her several very small meals multiple times a day. She would gobble every meal up like it was her last one. She was gradually gaining weight and more importantly gaining trust in me and my family.

One early morning I was getting ready to let Zu Zu out to go to the bathroom (basically I was house trianing her as if she were a puppy) my mom and I at the exact same time mentioned Zu Zu appeared very round in her abdomen. We had been feeding very small meals several times a day but the roundness in her abdomen seemed to appear over night. At that very instant we both looked at each other and said “do you think she is pregnant?”

WHAT??? We don’t have boy dogs…how could she have gotten pregnant? She was as skinny as could be…

I called the vet and explained the situation. I took her in the next day for a quick x-ray to check to make sure everything was ok. Sure enough she was pregnant…with 3 puppies. I cried. I am not going to lie. First of all I didn’t want anything to happen to her. I had grown very fond of her over the past couple of weeks and I couldn’t bear anything happening to her during puppy birth. Secondly I cried because I later found out that all the female dogs resuced from that puppy mill must have been breed just before it was shut down because all the female dogs that were resuced were pregnant. Oh my.

I knew were were in it for the long haul. She would have her puppies with my family and we would figure things out as they came.

Fast forward several weeks to a Friday night. We had calculated an approximate due date based on the x-rays and what the vet had told us. We were all on pins and needles knowing Zu Zu could have her puppies any day. Finally on a very late Friday night she finally started to have her puppies! She had 3 puppies just like the vet said. They were all females.  Sadly one puppy was stillborn but the other 2 puppies were as healthy as could be. She knew exactly what to do and we all watched from a distance in amazement. It was a day I will never forget.

Zu Zu was a great mother. She must have earned alot of trust in my family, especially my mom because she would let us touch the puppies and clean her box whenever we wanted.

I kept the puppies with their mother for 10 weeks. It was alot of work but totally worth it. At around 6 weeks I realized I needed to make a decision about all 3 dogs. Was I going to keep all 3 or was I going to find them all a new home? The plan initially was to find a new home for all 3. I already had Jess (my black lab…who was also rescued…her story later!) and I was student teaching at the time (meaning I was working a full time job but not getting paid for it). How was I going to afford all 3 dogs?

Zu Zu bonded to my mom immediately. She trusted her more than anyone else in the family. I am forever greatful to my mom who decided to keep Zu Zu rather than finding another home for her (my mom LOVES this dog and wouldn’t have had it any other way!). 

Now that just left me with the 2 puppies. You could probably imagine how hard this was for me.  I had watched them be born and had been apart of their lives every single day for the past 6 weeks…how could I just let them go now?

Eventually I decided I keeping one puppy was realistic but keeping 2 would be a little tough. That’s when a close friend said she would take the other puppy. She had a chihuahua that was very friendly and loved other dogs. She thought the puppy would be a great fit! So at 10 weeks she tried it out and it worked! They loved each other! I was so sad to see her go but I also knew she was going to a great home!

Now…Back to Rat Dog. Rat Dog was originally named Minnie. She was the last puppy in the litter to be born and she was super tiny when she was born…the name just fit (plus I wasn’t planning to keep her at the time I named her). Rat Dog is a super smart dog…most of the time. She house trained so easily, she never chewed on furniture or other random household items, she loves children (even babies), other dogs, and people. She is a rare small dog.

BUT she does have one flaw…she barks…like a small dog…and it’s very high pitched…like a small dog.  She barks at everything….eeek! But I love her and she loves me!

When Rat Dog was 6 months old she was chasing my moms cat down the stairs. Apparently she wasn’t as quick or atletic as the cat and stumbled down a few stairs.  She cried so loud…it was horrifying.   

I rush her into the vet. They took x-rays. Come to find out she broke her radius and ulna in both her legs and I would need to take her to an orthopedic surgeon to next day. Great.

The next day comes and we make the hike to see the orthopedic surgeon. They tell us they will need to do surgery to place a metal place on her bones to stabilize the bone so she will be able to apply weight and walk again. Without doing the surgery there would always be a chance to break the bones again since they are her weight bearing bones.

We decide to do the surgery (of course). She stayed over night and we picked her up the next day. She was in a cast for the next 3 months. Yep…that meant she was in a crate every single day and I had to hold her up while she went potty. Imagine a 6 month old puppy being crated every single day for 3 months…it wasn’t fun. But we got through it!  And she was a trooper!  I believe Rat Dog and I have such a strong bond becuase of those very long 3 months. 



When the hubs and I bought our first house in Nov 2009 of course Rat Dog and Jess moved in too along with Lady. Remember Rat Dog was originally named Minnie. Well….the hubs didn’t think Minnie was the right name for her and so he took it upon himself to start calling her Rat Dog….and being the brilliant dog she is she started to respond to the name. Long story short she has no idea who this Minnine charcter is and only goes by the name Rat Dog. Yeah….even the neighbors know her was Rat Dog…it’s embarassing.

Rat Dog is an amazing dog (and so are our other 2 girls). She looks you right in the eyes and its as if she can read your soul. I couldn’t imagin the past 3 years with out her. She brings so much happiness to my life (not so much the hubs…he hates her barking) and eveyone seems to be captivated by her spunky personality! Alot of people don’t like little dogs but she has changed my perspectives and many others too!

Rat Dog does all the things normal dogs do even with her metal plates.  She will have those plates in the rest of her life.  The vet said we would have the option to remove the plates but we could also just let them be.  I decided not to put her under anesthesia and a recovery again since she was still a puppy.  She runs, walks, swmis, and even jumps off the couch (although I freaked out the first couple times she did that…definitely don’t want to go through that again!) 

She lives the sweet life!


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