Pharaoh (Grandpa Yawn) first came to Chinook Winds in January, 2005, and was fostered in our home. He was a healthy, happy, 75 lb. boy—always ready to play and never afraid to act like a goof. We were sorry to see him go to a home in Saskatoon that spring because it was so far away, and we were afraid we’d never see him again. We missed him terribly, but Cindy tried to cure that by giving us another foster right away. Life went on—until October.
Apparently Pharaoh had been losing weight over the summer. Pharaoh’s adopters took him to a friend who was a dog groomer (instead of a vet), to get him checked out. The groomer guessed his weight to be around 55 lbs., and so she called to tell our group about his appalling weight loss and that she suspected he had Heartworm. Cindy was shocked, and asked what the vet thought the problem was. When the groomer said that Pharaoh hadn’t been taken to a vet, Cindy told her that arrangements were underway to pick Pharaoh up and return him to our organization.
Colleen made a detour on the way back from a family trip to Winnipeg and picked Pharaoh up to bring him back to Edmonton. He was in rough shape. He weighed less than 60 lbs and had weeping sores where his bones were pressing against his skin. We immediately had Dr. Ann check him over and she was appalled: she had never seen an otherwise healthy dog that was so emaciated, and she wasn’t sure what his chances were for a full recovery. He did not have heartworm or any other disease; he had just been horribly neglected. But, she couldn’t predict whether being undernourished for so long would have any long term health effects. We all had a cry. All except Pharaoh, who was wagging that crazy tail of his so hard he split it open and had to have it padded and taped.
We decided he should return to my home, since it was a familiar place and he already knew our family and the resident Greyhounds. When I got him home, he briefly said hello to Caine and Maggie, and then bolted upstairs to “his” crate where he laid down, thumping that tail and grinning like a fool. He knew he was home. Through my tears, I tried to bargain. “If you get through this, you can stay right here. We’ll be your forever home.” I thought I’d figure out a way to convince Carl that we really needed a third Greyhound if, and when, the time came.
We put Pharaoh on a diet of Mountain Dog Food. Initially we had to feed him 5 small meals a day because his stomach had shrunk so much that he couldn’t keep down more than about half a cup of food at a time. Well, he certainly bounced back! He gained 6 lbs. per week for the first 3 weeks, and now weighs a strapping 83 lbs. But, best of all is the fact that despite 7 months of neglect, his adoptive family didn’t manage to squelch his spirit or his enthusiastic love of life. He is still the happy, goofy, loving Grey that he was when he left our home last March. About the only thing that really bothers him is when someone makes eye contact with him, but chooses not to pet him. He sees every person as a potential best friend.
Pharaoh certainly lived up to his part of our little deal, and so did I. When Cindy said he was ready to go up on our web site as “available”, we adopted him so fast it made her head spin, but, she insists this was all part of her master plan. Well, all of us (even Carl) are happy to be victims of Cindy’s scheming—yet again!
The Mendozas: Carl, Sue, Cam & Lexi
Caine & Maggie &
(it’s good to be the king) Pharaoh