A Dog's History

I am a strong supporter of adopting a dog from a rescue organization. According to the ASPCA, 1.2 million dogs are euthanized in the US every year, often to no fault of their own (they aren't vicious or maladjusted). The ratio of dogs needing homes just greatly outweighs the number of people adopting, and shelters only have so much space. On the other hand, I don't judge anyone who finds their furry companion from a reputable breeder and have friends who have successfully done so and would do so again. It's important not to confuse reputable breeders with puppy mills or pet store puppies (which typically come from puppy mills). Puppy mills are not humane. If you're unfamiliar with this concept, I encourage you to read this brief summary, also from the ASPCA.

Teddy and Luna were both adopted from shelters. I have little knowledge of their lives, prior to entering the shelters. This means I have no history. I have no record of how they were treated, whether they received proper health care, whether they were well fed and whether they encountered any abuse. Some dogs do enter the shelter with a full background resume (e.g. their owners pass away, or the owners give them up for some reason or another), but this isn't always the case. It's not the case with Teddy and Luna. In many ways I envy those people who bring home their puppy from a breeder who knows the parents' genetics and health. It would be lovely to have a healthy puppy, whose parents are free of disease/health issues. (Some breeders do genetic testing, but not all.)

Let me rewind a bit...
Despite my efforts to help Luna gain weight, she's still as skinny as a rail, so I thought it was time to go back to the vet for a more detailed check-up. After having the full array of blood, fecal and urine tests, we were faced with a couple of concerns. One is that she has a urinary tract infection and the other is that she is losing protein in her urine.

A few days later, we went back for an ultrasound, to look more carefully at her kidneys and surrounding organs. Kidney issues are often signaled by protein loss. Thankfully her organs look healthy (sigh of relief). But we're still faced with the question of why she's losing protein in her urine. While I was at the vet, we discussed all sorts of potential causes; malnutrition (in a her past) was one such topic. Somehow it doesn't seem too unbelievable that a dog found collarless, wandering a park, may have at one time been subject to malnutrition. The frustrating thing is not knowing for sure. If we knew her past, we cold rule things in or out and have a clearer path defined for how to move forward.

Gee mom, don't take a photo of my bare belly!

Of course, that doesn't stop me from getting her the very best care. My poodles will always receive the very best healthcare, attention, love and nutrition. They may not have had that privilege their entire lives, but they do now.

For now, Luna is on antibiotics. An ongoing infection alone could be the cause of the protein loss. We're also exploring malabsorption (the inability to absorb enough nutrients from her food). We hope to see improvement over the next few weeks and a sign that she's put on a little weight. Overall she is happy, active and outwardly healthy. So, I'm trying not to overthink it, worry unnecessarily.

If you are thinking of bringing a dog into your home, please don't let this post dissuade you from adopting. Of course no dog, whether adopted or from a breeder, is immune to disease and illness. Even those who don't come with a background history are worthy of a good, loving home and many live long and healthy lives. Adopting a dog is rewarding and life changing in the very best of ways.


  1. Oh poor baby--she looks to be just such a sweetheart...hugs Julierose

  2. What I wouldn't give to know Elsa's complete past history though having seeing pictures of her puppy mill home I can only imagine the worst. The best day in her life although scary as all get-out, was when she and the 8 other dogs were seized after the puppy mill owner passed away. Their misery ended then. Sending healing energy Luna's way and hope she begins to gain some weight soon. ❤︎

  3. My standard Gypsy is also skinny as a rail. 12 years old and 38 lbs! I've never been able to get her to gain weight.


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