by Christy Mazza
Miniature Schnauzer, Sydney is now a Beautiful Angel
I was doing my usual rounds through the local shelter for SRM when I spotted a little gray mass huddled in the back of a dingy cage. It resembled a big ball of dust that had been gathering in the corner for years.
I anxiously approached the cage. Looking at the dog's information card, I read that the little gray bundle was a female Miniature Schnauzer! My heart started racing. I scurried over to the shelter volunteer. "Please, please put my name on this little girl", I exclaimed. I led the shelter volunteer to the Schnauzer's cage, where he took the information card out and wrote my name on it. With all this "action" going on around her, the little Schnauzer stirred. She stood up on her skinny legs and stretccchhheed. She turned around and looked at me. But she really couldn't see me with the milky glaze hindering her eyesight.
"Would you like to pet her?" the volunteer asked.
I nodded. The volunteer opened the cage door. The little gray doggie stood there, frozen. She looked like a koala bear with her wiry salt and pepper fur, fluffy white eyebrows, and short white beard. I extended my hand into the cage so she could sniff me. After she did, I softly pet her head. She didn't seem to mind, so I kept petting her. I could feel her ribs, and her back seemed slightly curved. Her hair was long and matted; I couldn't see if she even had a tail.
She started leaning towards my hand, desperate for a human's touch. I slowly and cautiously picked her up and put her in my arms. She remained calm and quiet. When the other dogs in the pound barked, she would slightly shiver, as if she was afraid they'd come get her. I kept petting her, telling her I was going to get her out of there. I don't think I'd met a sweeter, calmer dog in my life.
"Be here on her release day at 4pm sharp if you want to adopt her," said the volunteer.
"I definitely will be", I replied. I kissed the tiny schnauzer on her head.
The volunteer put her back in the cage. I had gray hairs all over my black clothes. The schnauzer had left her mark on me.
I thought about the schnauzer girl all week. She was so sweet - she had to be someone's pet that had just gotten lost. I figured she'd be reclaimed quickly.
But when I called the shelter the day before her release date, she was still there.
I arrived at the shelter half an hour early and immediately went up to the little schnauzer's cage. There was only one other name after mine. The shelter volunteer opened the cage for me so I could pet the schnauzer girl again. I was indecisive about whether I wanted to adopt the girl or bring her into rescue. The shelter said they couldn't release her to rescue unless no one adopted her. If I did adopt her, would she get along with my year-old hyper-spastic schnauzer boy, Shakespeare? I just couldn't take the chance of her being unsafe. Even though she was a small fuzzy dog, she was also an older dog with cataracts and therefore might never get adopted.
Of course I couldn't let her go, and I adopted her.
I took her home, uncertain how both her and my furboy would react. He loves to play and loves other dogs. How would an older, mostly blind girl take to a spastic dog bugging her?
Since I thought she resembled a koala bear, I wanted to name her something Australian. So I named her Sydney, after the Australian city (and one of the characters from my favorite TV show).
The first few days, Shakey and Sydney snarled and growled at each other. I was panicked because I didn't think they were getting along. But my schnauzer friends told me to just wait and see; the dogs had to establish pack order, and that wouldn't happen right away.
Sydney's first vet appointment went unexpectedly well. I figured Sydney, being older and blind, would have health problems. The vet noted that Sydney was spayed and guesstimated that she was between six and ten years old. Sydney's blindness wasn't as bad as I had thought either; the vet said she could still see lights and shadows. The only "big" problem was that Sydney needed her teeth cleaned. Other than those minor
problems, Sydney was given a clean bill of health. She was almost perfect! She was even housebroken!
Later in the week, I also took her for a much-needed grooming. When the vet brought her out, I almost cried. Sydney was so beautiful! She finally looked like a Miniature Schnauzer! She went from a shivering dust ball to a poised and beautiful girl!
Nowadays, Sydney and Shakey play all the time. This usually involves them wrestling all over the house and playing tug-o-war with their many toys. Playtime always ends up with Sydney pinning Shakey to the ground, with Shakey over on his back, showing her his belly. Shakey not only is submissive to and gets beaten up by a girl, but a blind girl!
Sydney gets around the house so well, I wouldn't even think she was blind if it weren't for her cataracts. She plays with toys, chews on rawhides, loves doggie treats and people food (she'll even find the people who have the food and sit by them, looking up with a sad expression like "Feed me!"), runs around the house, and soaks up the sunshine on the patio, everything a normal doggie does.
She is such a sweet girl, I can't imagine how she ended up being a stray, matted, scared little furball in the dingy cages of an animal shelter. No matter how old she is, how well she can or cannot see, Sydney will live out the rest of her days in a loving home. Every dog should have that privilege.
By Christy Mazza, Sydney's mom
Copyright by Christy Mazza