Like so many dogs who are alive today only because of the efforts of Austin Pets Alive!, Dexter had a rough start in life. We'll never know where he came from, or the exact day he was born, but we do know that by the time he was 8 weeks old he had been abandoned to wander the streets of Austin alone, half-starved and suffering from the worst case of demodectic mange that APA's counselors had ever seen. His condition was so bad, that the good samaritan who found him and brought him to the local shelter reportedly asked that he be put out of his misery. While demodex, commonly called puppy mange because it is so common in young dogs, is highly treatable and noncontagious, it is a death sentence at most shelters. It would have been a death sentence for Dexter if the dedicated volunteers of APA hadn't been there. They looked at Dexter and didn't see an unadoptable dog. They didn't see a dog that would be better off going to god. They didn't see all the money it would cost to make him healthy. They saw a puppy who deserved to live. They named him Schatzi and took him home.
When I first met Schatzi at the SoCo adoption site, he was still a complete mess. He was largely hairless, scaly, crusty, red, and inflamed from the secondary infections caused by irritation from the demodex mites. The top of his head was covered in fungus. He had yeast infections in both ears. His back legs were growing crooked from malnutrition. And he stunk. Bad. He was also utterly adorable. I took him home to "foster" overnight. Overnight became forever when my boyfriend christened him Dexter and our normally cranky older dog started acting like his long-lost mother.
Nine months later, it's hard to imagine our lives without Dexter. He is deeply loved. With lots of care and the help of Brodie Animal Hospital, his skin problems cleared up in a few months. He may never have a thick coat of fur, but he's healthy and beautiful. I literally cannot take him anywhere without several people stopping to tell me how cute, beautiful, or handsome he is. And he knows it! Even hairless and crusty, he was utterly confident of his place at the center of the world. The non-stop adoration of his human parents and canine sister hasn't helped that one bit. Fortunately, he is as good-natured and sweet-tempered as he is cute. With regular exercise, the adolescent naughtiness that took over at 6 months (we didn't really like all those things he chewed up anyway) is slowly giving way to a calm, mature dog. We're not putting away the crate and the baby gates just yet, but we no longer panic if we don't know where he is. He loves fetching on land or water, going new places, eating carrots, and his chew toys. At last count he had 4 doggie girlfriends who fortunately don't visit the dog park at the same time. We are grateful every day that we have him.
Thank you to Palmer who pulled Dex and countless others off The List.
Thank you to Lisa who told her 4 dogs to make room for one more foster.
Thank you to the adoption counselors who worked long hours in all kinds of weather looking for a home for him.
Thank you to the donors who make it possible for APA to save pets with medical needs.
And thank you to Ellen who had this crazy idea to save them all and is making it happen.
Please take a moment to express your thanks for whatever critter you can't imagine your life without by joining APA's Save a Life Donation Drive to raise $50,000 dollars and save 500 animals. You can create your own ChipIn campaign, or donate using Dexter's.