13 years 20 weeks
Doberman Pinscher

Milady is a rescue, so I don’t know anything about her background.  They said she was about 10 months old, but some paperwork indicated she was probably around a year & a half.  (If she was 10 months in January 2010, I don’t think she could have had shots on 1/29/09 at 4 months.)  Her age didn’t really matter to me other than being able to give the vet some direction. 

The rescue I got her from told me she had been in at least 4 foster homes in the prior month with stays in the kennels at the rescue in-between.  Not because of her, but because 1 went on vacation, 1 had a family emergency, etc…  The poor baby was so skittish & confused.  While I was talking to the “foster’er” that brought her in, Don took her lead & sat on the concrete floor stroking her & talking to her.  She just leaned against him & shook & shivered.  Don is (of course) the practical one, but he looked at me – before I said anything – and said “It’s not the best timing but this little girl needs us.”  (This could also explain why we’ve had several foster teenagers over the years!!  Their need outweighs our practical…)

One of my concerns was to get some weight on her!!!  When we got her Jan 2010 you could see her ribs from 20 feet away & her hip bones could puncture wood! 

The night we brought Milady home Brinks was very gentle with her.  Of course he wanted to play (he always wants to play!) but he was very restrained – like he instinctively knew that she didn’t have the strength or the stamina for rough-housing.  I was very proud of my boy!  She wanted to play too – did the “play bow” & jumped around with him a few times, but mostly she was exhausted & needed to sleep.

This is how they slept the 1st week.  Since then, 90% of the time they sleep touching each other...  Sometimes a paw, sometimes head-to-head, sometimes butt-to-butt  but usually together.

Took her to the vet as soon as we could, about 10 days & some weight gain later.  The vet scales weighed her at 49.5 lbs, height 25" at the shoulder.  (We guessed she weighed between 40 & 45 lbs the day we got her)  She is at a good weight now, between 60-65 lbs.  She was too thin, but otherwise healthy with extremely dry skin (suggested olive oil - which Lady Kate already told me about.  See how smart you all are?)  Vet said as Milady gained some weight & was less stressed her fur would grow back at the base of the tail & on the back of her hind legs – and it did!

Now for the yucky part - I gave the vet Milady's x-rays & asked her opinion of her ribs.  Before she looked at the x-rays she did a gentle but through manual examination of Milady's rib cage.  I didn't even mention the "pectus excavatum" diagnosis by the rescue’s vet until she told me it looked like a case of trauma as in a foot to the rib cage - probably when she was a young puppy!  Then I hauled out the papers the rescue group gave me & showed her those.  She said it could be a slight case of P-E but she didn't think so & showed me on the x-rays why.  The malformation is only on one side , it doesn't affect the sternum by pushing it up into the rib cavity & it's not affecting her heart or lungs, plus the rib bones show larger mass only in that one area (you know how broken bones grow larger at the break than the surrounding bone?  That's what the x-rays show.).  So, she told me that Milady had a rough life for a young girl... but she seemed to be getting what she needed now & to keep up what I'm doing.

One last note - when the vet tech took Milady back to the scales to weigh her it almost broke my heart!  She kept looking back at me like she was saying "Please don't leave me!  Please don't let them take me away!"  They were only gone a couple of minutes but when she got back into the exam room she glued herself to my leg & was shaking again.  It took quite awhile to calm her down & she never really relaxed until we got home. 

MiLady has been with us for a bit over 1.5 years now.  We still have some “demons” left over from her former life such as her fear of squirt bottles, brooms, loud voices, etc…  But she’s overcome so much & she is such a joy I can’t imagine life without her!

A couple of recent photos...