Fostering Quincy

6-30-2019 Update: I originally wrote this post with the idea that Quincy would be adopted quickly. He was not. This post might read weird, I’m trying to clean it up, but, basically, this post has been 3 years in the making. I am brain dumping here, to have a historical record of everything I can related to this sweetheart.

Quincy might just be my heart dog. We received him on leap day, 2/29/2016, and to say he was weak is an understatement that doesn’t do him justice. The backstory on this guy is a little weird, since he had a brother, and they lived together, but apparently things turned hostile at the foster. I can’t say what really happened, there were apparently several fosters along the way, one of which adopted the brother, but let Quincy get turned back into the shelter, where he lived (and was rehabilitated) from November 2015 until we got him.

You can see how thin he was at intake. Notice the pits behind his eyes. Still looks like SUCH a happy boy, though!

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Truth be told, I saw his picture a bunch of times. Now, you all know my predilection towards black dogs. I have a major thing for old, black dogs. If the dog is injured or needs me, that is TWICE as true, not an exaggeration. I feel like fostering or hospice fostering (hospicetering? When you have them and they stay until they pass) senior or injured dogs is an incredibly noble calling, one that involves a strength that is not common, and I’m not sure I have. I saw the foster coordinator saying “MUST GET OUT OF THE KENNEL!”. Mind you, we’ve had Midnight and Bella in the time he’s been in the shelter.

The foster coordinator likes to give me special cases, I guess. Bella was very near and dear to her heart, and she felt confident that we’d take good care of her; I like to think that we did. She asked if we could take Quincy, and his description says “cannot do stairs”, so I tell her… I guess we’ll just carry him up the steps.

Quincy shows up and he’s weak. During his introductory bath, he can’t stand well. His medical records indicate that he’s basically been doing physical therapy every single day. He absolutely cannot figure out the stairs. Thankfully, he sort-of bambi-legged his way to the yard where I was certain he was going to sit in his own poop. These legs were WEAK. When it comes time for bed, Laura and I basically carry him up the steps. Should be noted, of course, that Quincy is a complete and total velcro dog, and stuck to me like GLUE. He’s also a giant crybaby. Worse than Midnight. He doesn’t sleep well that first night, crying and obviously being very upset. I think Bella and Midnight spoiled us by actually sleeping. I went downstairs and laid on the couch so Quincy could, you know, touch me, or whatever. It didn’t work. Sleepless night!

The next day, Quincy was on the ground level, and I went upstairs to shower. I am getting undressed, and who do I hear “figuring out” the steps? Well, I’ll be darned… Quincy figured it out. His velcro nature pushed him to it! So now, the nosiest, most velcro dog has a command of the stairs.

He certainly figured out how soft beds are, right away.

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I’m being fairly selective about who gets him. In my world, if you have a dog that can’t do steps, you lift him up the steps. It’s a no-brainer. This dog is too into his people to not sleep near you, he’d cry, a lot. Heartbroken dogs are not OK in my book! His life would be demonstrably better in a rancher home too, but carrying him everywhere is an option. I want this guy to have a good life, at least as good as he has here, and if I say so myself, he’s got it pretty good.

Loads more pics after the jump, as usual.

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I took him to the store in Hanover, and he just hangs out. He loves everyone.

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I even meme’d him.

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We took him to an adoption event on 4/10/2016. He loved everyone there, but everyone kept calling him old 🙁

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He stood for 2+ hours, which was a bit amazing, but dogs can’t calm down in those situations. He was super exhausted that night, but followed me around anyhow. We were in the kitchen, and he came and sat behind me, and his poor muscles were spasming like crazy. I got him on the ottoman and Laura gave him medication.

I started corresponding with an adoption coordinator on April 12th about a couple who was interested in Quincy. It was tough to find anyone that could get past the initial tough stuff. Doesn’t like other dogs, doesn’t like other people, bad legs, old! We had a couple come in with their two kids, and Quincy started biting, which was weird. Now, anyone with a mind towards legal definition of biting will tell you that any bite is a bite, but in my head, there are varying degrees of bite. The “charge and jump and bite and not let go” is clearly problematic, and so is “nip because I don’t trust you and I’m scared.” That second one is what Quincy started to do. We took him to another adoption event, and it became clear that this is a behavior that was going to stick with Quincy.

We took him to the vet to see if something was medically wrong, we took him to the dog psychologist to see what she thought (don’t laugh!) on March 12, 2017. The dog psych said that his legs are bad, and that dogs can’t understand that their own bodies can cause them pain. So, he attributes pain to any new person in the scenario, because he is pretty sure its not us. That really hindered the efforts to find an adoptive family.

A couple contacted us through the rescue, and they were interested in Quincy, as they’d just lost their dog. We dropped him off on 11/19/2016. We warned them that he took some time to adjust, and panted all the time. I also told them that he would do much better with someone home more often than not, since his legs were terrible and he would just lay around all day. I got a text the next day that it wasn’t going to work out, for basically all the reasons I warned them about. I went to go pick him up, and I’m not sure if he was happier to see me, or I was happier to see him.

We didn’t hear from any potential adopters for a long time. I continued to post online, and people would comment that he was a pretty boy (obviously very true). We were slightly concerned, since Laura was pregnant, and due with our son in May of 2017, and Quincy’s seemingly protective nature gave us reason to worry. During Laura’s labor, I went home every 8 hours, and he was a trooper the whole time. Turns out he was totally fine with Bryan, but we also had a very slow intro, and taught bryan to behave around dogs. No climbing on them, pulling tails, ears, etc.

Things were kind of business-as-usual for the next 2 years, honestly. I continued to work from home until late June 2018, when I got a job at a casino, and I wasn’t home all day. We decided to adopt him for real at this point, on July 10, 2018.

Quincy transitioned through every life event that we threw at him seamlessly. We dealt with his quirks, and he returned the favor by being incredibly patient and exceptionally adaptable. As long as he was with me, he didn’t mind whatever was going on.

I was too used to fostering, and forgot the individual vaccinations and stuff like that were needed, so in January 2019, I switched from LRCP vets to Eastern Animal Hospital. The initial consult resulted in the Vet really torquing his legs around to figure out what was going on, and he was in REALLY bad shape after that exam. We gave him a Deramaxx but he never really recovered fully. Quincy’s front nails were in bad shape, so I started a regimen of nail maintenance every three weeks. His legs had gotten noticeably worse, but he turned 10 years old in November of 2018, so we attributed it to old age plus that terrible exam.

Quincy had a routine nail-trim on May 24, 2019, and while Quincy always panted his way around, I noticed that his throat sounded rougher. Labs are pre-disposed to Laryngeal Paralysis (where the cartilage in the throat doesn’t open the whole way) so I was worried, and wanted to see if there was anything we could do, so we opted to see the Vet during his nail trim. She thought that he was not a great candidate for the remediation surgery, so we opted to try some medication. A low dosage of Gabapentin and Deramaxx were ordered, and we tried those, but Quincy’s mobility hinged on his ability to lock-out his back legs. Gabapentin relaxed his muscles enough that he was in really bad shape, mobility wise, and Deramaxx ruined his digestive tract. We backed off, and tried to keep him cool and calm, which worked… For a while.

Laura is home for the summer, so she was already there when I arrived home from work on June 27, 2019. Quincy was breathing heavily, which wasn’t odd, necessarily, but I noticed that his waist looked exceptionally small. Upon further inspection, it wasn’t that his waist was small… It was that his chest was big, because he was taking huge breaths. He couldn’t catch his breath. In this situation, I’m not sure how everyone else handles it, but I asked Laura, myself, and the universe “Is this it? Is this the time?” as if someone would provide me a definitive yes or no. I called up Peaceful Passage, at the recommendation of my Vet, which is a mobile vet service that does the euthanasia procedure in-home. They told me they didn’t have an appointment until the following day, which I thought was an interesting thing (as generally speaking, I think, there is no such thing as a planned-for-the-future euthanasia), but booked it. Laura and I sat for a few minutes, and she became the voice of reason in a moment of clarity and said “He can’t breathe.” So I called our vet, and asked if we could come in. I carried him to the truck, carried him to the waiting room, and carried him to the back room of the vet, where they had a couch and blankets for him to lay on.

I sat on the floor with him, and Laura had Bryan on the couch. Bryan was screaming the whole time, I’m sure a mixture of “I don’t want to be here” and “Why are mom and dad falling apart”. We held him, and they gave him the shot, and I felt his head become heavy in my hand hands. Laura took Bryan out to let me have a moment, then I went out and got her, took Bryan, and paid for the services. I wanted to give him one last kiss before I left, and I wanted to run out of there as fast as I could.

I went back, and he laid there, still, peaceful. I held his head, and stroked his ears. The vet tech came in, and asked if I needed more time, and I told her “No. If I don’t leave now, I’m staying all night.”

Good night, Quincy. I can never repay you for what you’ve done for me. You taught me about dogs, how scared and broken dogs can learn to trust again. How disabilities don’t mean a dog is ready to go (not that I ever thought that). You taught me how to love a dog more deeply than I ever had before. You taught me how to approach a dog in such a way that it doesn’t scare them. I will be forever grateful to you for that.

You taught me how to be a better, more patient person. You got me ready for fatherhood, and stuck around just long enough to make sure I had it well in hand without you. I love you deeply, son. May the road rise up to meet you, until I see you again.

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