Friday, September 9, 2011

Libby and Jack's Adoption Stories

Libby lounging

Pets' names:
Libby and Jack
Adopted by: Kim and Scott Vargo
From: A veterinary clinic in rural Ohio (Libby) and City of Chicago Animal Care and Control (Jack)

Kim and Scott (of Yellow Brick Home) split up the writing duties for their pets' adoption stories. Scott contributed the tales of Libby and Jack, which you'll find below, and Kim wrote about Maddie. Check back tomorrow for Maddie's story! 

Libby, our little tail-less wonder of a cat, came into our lives in a very peculiar way. The adoption stories of pets choosing their parents could not be more true than in her case. I was working a job that had me traveling to rural Ohio every week, and one of my favorite customers was the local veterinary clinic. I had known the staff for about a year, and would spend a few minutes each week saying hello to puppies with broken legs, cats wearing surgery lampshades, and the occasional feral raccoon being nursed back to health.

One week, the perky head veterinarian insisted that there was a special new kitty that I absolutely had to meet. Knowing that I was a sucker for a sweet face and a unique appearance, she led me into a sterile room that had been cleaned without bleach or harsh chemicals. "Libby is a special kitty..." she said. "She has terrible allergies, chronic asthma, and has had two emergency surgeries to remove part of her intestines." Expecting the feline equivalent of Frankenstein's Monster, imagine my surprise when this sickeningly sweet, beautiful, charming grey Rumpy Manx came hopping out to meet me.

With full knowledge of her health challenges, I returned a week later on my day off to bring that little grey moonface home. What can I say? I was compelled. The early days with the Libster were a challenge as she adjusted to her new family and environment, but we eventually fell into a routine with her medication and special low-residue diet. Five years later, we're happy to boast that Libby's asthma has gone almost completely away and we've weaned her down to a much healthier, lower dose of her medications. It turned out that she's a pretty sensitive kitty, and her ailments were, in large part, magnified by stress. A happy stable home was just what the doctor ordered.

Jack on his first night with Kim and Scott

Our puppy Jack, on the other hand, has a much more "traditional" adoption story. I'd been bugging Kim to adopt a dog for years. She'd grown up with Australian shepherds, and I'd grown up in a dog-less household. She had largely outgrown the responsibility of caring for a canine, and I was ecstatic at the idea of multiple daily walks around our beautiful Chicago neighborhood with my soon-to-be best friend. Finally, after what seemed like decades of bothering her to allow us to save another life by adopting from the Chicago city pound, she relented. "Okay, okay," she said, "we can go look at dogs tomorrow." After spending hours on and narrowing our choices down to a few virtual candidates, we were off to see the pups in the flesh.

We headed to the pound with a few ground rules for our ideal dog candidate; female, 45-pound adult weight, and preferably a boxer or pit bull mix. We brought a few of our virtual candidates out to the play yard, where we were largely ignored in favor of ropes and chew toys. Of the first few dogs, none were very engaged or excited to see us. A little disheartened, we headed back inside and walked past the cage of "Jimbo" a few times. He was a scraggly, ribby fellow, with a projected adult weight of 55 pounds. Unfortunately, he was the wrong gender, and he was going to be too big (and he smelled a little). He was a pit bull mix, however. But the poor guy just wouldn't stop staring at us. We finally relented to his droopy, red-rimmed eyes and gentle whimpering and took him outside. He immediately licked our faces and was ready to play fetch. We were smitten. We knew we could bring him to handsome maturity with a new name, a few baths, and a healthy diet, so we quickly filled out the paperwork to bring him home. "Jimbo" became "Jackson McDogg," and we quickly became besties. Then came the hard part...

Jack's first vet visit was, well, interesting. We'd had a few days to fall deeper in love with his goofy grin and infectious energy, so we took him to the vet for his checkup. Turns out our boy has a level-5 heart murmur. Yup, 6 is the worst and our boy's a 5. After a visit to a suburban specialist and draining our savings account, we were given two options: Option #1- Travel a few hundred miles for an incredibly expensive, unproven surgery that might kill him, might make things worse, or might help improve his condition from a level 4 to a level 2. Option #2- Do nothing but love him extra and give him the happiest, most fun life that a dog could ever hope for. Our vet recommended option #2. We agreed.

Jack's condition is serious enough that medication won't be effective, but not so serious that it restrains his quality of life. Sure, his heartbeat sounds like the equivalent of chucking a basketball down a long spiral staircase, but he certainly doesn't seem to notice. Jack is happy, healthy, and loves every person and animal he's ever met. He currently weighs around 60 pounds, and he's still a boy. It just goes to show once again, that the you don't choose the pet, the pet chooses you.

Happy Jack

1 comment:

  1. I am just putting all of this together. I KNOW JACK! What a wonderful wonderful story I can't wait to hear about Maddie! See you on Sunday with Socialbulls!


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