Welcome Home, Jenga!

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Yesterday, I brought my Pen Pal Jenga home. She was getting sicker and sicker at the shelter and Nora, my co-Pen Pal and I became extremely concerned at her condition. Poor Jenga really has the cards stacked against her: she is suffering from demodex mange, has some type of secondary skin infection and then developed the dreaded kennel cough, which turned into a full-blown upper respiratory infection. Her ears smell like someone is baking bread in them and she woke up this morning looking like someone tried to cement her nose closed. So, clearly, some serious TLC was desperately needed and what better place to do it then the Nanan Isolation and Recovery Room?
Jenga is roughly 2-3 years old. In her short life, she has seen her owner die, ended up at the shelter and was separated from her doggie roommate. Her buddy went to rescue almost immediately, but, for some reason, no one wanted a mange-y, yeasty dog who stinks to high heaven. Can’t imagine why πŸ˜‰ My guess is that Jenga’s owner was a fairly decent one and got sick over time. I say that because she is so sweet and gentle…she does not seem abused and maybe her current state of health came about as her owner got sick. Pure speculation, but, she shows no signs of abuse (and though neglect is not great, I like to believe that it was not intentional) and is certainly very people and dog friendly. I actually met Jenga shortly after she arrived at the shelter when my friend Michelle and I took her pictures. She was a sad thing even back then….so scared that even while she snuggled up tight, she would not give kisses, but, would only bump your lips with her snout. It was endearing and sad, and because I am a sucker for a sad dog, I immediately fell in love with her. Fell in love….despite the stink, despite the scaly skin and lack of fur. I fell in love with a dog whose entire persona changed as soon as she realized you were there to see her! I knew that she was likely to not get much notice by potential adopters, what with the stink, the lack of coat and the fact that she was generally pretty quiet in her kennel, so as soon as Winnie was adopted, I asked if Nora and I could take her on as a Pen Pal. We started working with her right away, and she showed herself to be a quick study. Sit…easy peasy….down…not a problem….stay…got it within a few trials. All of this outside, on Hunting Park Ave, with lots of traffic, other dogs all over the place and not feeling so great. So far, the only command she is struggling with is paw. I wonder if she thinks it has no value beyond being cute??
Jenga developed a loyal following among staff and volunteers, but, as time went on, it became pretty clear that she was not being considered by adopters. The marketing that Nora and I did yielded zero responses and compared to Winnie, who we got hits on immediately, this was concerning. Truth be told, I kind of knew she would be coming home to us for a while, I just held out hope that someone would come along and see beyond her issues. Fast forward to yesterday afternoon…crusty nosed girl, shaking and not eating the special treats we brought for her. Visualize 2 grown women, crying for this sweet dog and picture the numerous (not too pretty) scenarios running through their minds. I had a decision to make, so I called Paul and told him what was going on, and good (awesome, incredible) husband that he is, he told me to bring her home if I thought it was best. In my mind, the only decision to be made was when and the time for waiting was over. This dog needed out immediately, or she would continue to get sicker, continue to be overlooked and probably end up dying. Maybe I am being overly dramatic, but, based on all of the above issues, I could see no other fate for her at the shelter.
Since arriving home yesterday afternoon, Jenga has pretty much just slept. She has eaten her meals enthusiastically and is happy to see us when we visit the recovery room. She has done all of her business outside. She eats, goes out and goes right back to sleep when we come in. I ended up sleeping with her last night (which I really didn’t want to do) and am glad I did, as she woke up at around 3am having a horrible coughing fit. I rubbed her neck, thumped her chest and right back to sleep she went. It was scary, though, and my thoughts immediately went to how awful it would be for her if no one was there to help her through it, which would be the case at the shelter.
Jenga will recover here for a while before we start doing anything to get her adopted. She needs to de-stress, get well and get used to being cared for again. She will need to be spayed and that won’t happen until all of her other issues are cleared up. One thing is for sure, she knows that beds are much more comfy than a kennel floor and we are more than happy to provide that to her for as long as it takes. We’ll work more on training and by the time we are done, this overlooked girl will be beautiful, healthy and will make someone a wonderful lifetime companion πŸ™‚ I feel so lucky to be part of that process for her because I know how great of a dog she is and can’t wait for the rest of the world to see it, too!

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6 responses »

  1. Aw so happy you were with her last night! What about changing her name to something a little more girlie like Julianne? Please let me know how I can help. xoxo

  2. Wow! I think it is fantastic you are going to do what needs to be done to get her intl a good home, she certainly deserves it!

  3. Yay, Jenga! I am so happy that you and Paul have taken her in… I’m sure that she will get healthy and happy in no time with you and Paul to take care of her! You guys are the best! When Jenga is feeling a bit better, perhaps we can have a play date with Brody? Much love!!! xoxo

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