Suddenly Three: Perdita Scaife January 21, 2002 (approximate) to February 24/25, 2015


Exactly a month after Akane’s death I received the unwelcome news that something was seriously wrong with Perdy, my dobie/greyhound girl who had been Akane’s archnemesis in life (I had to keep them separated their entire lives because of how deeply they loathed each other). Initial bloodwork during a routine exam had shown anemia, and the second blood draw showed that Perdy was getting worse and needed an ultrasound to identify the problem. Due to the kindness and generosity of some of my dog loving friends the procedure was completed the following week, and the news was not good: my big, cuddly, child hating dog had masses in her liver, spleen, and right kidney and probably only had two to eight weeks left (life expectancy for a dog with hemangiosarcoma). I got about five, and I spent those last weeks coaxing Perdy to eat increasingly human foods, letting her sleep in my bed three nights a week (still have one dog Perdy didn’t get along with), and trying to make sure she knew how much I loved her. When I tucked her into bed on February 24 I could tell that Perdy didn’t feel well, but I was hoping that it was just another bad spell, although they had been becoming more frequent, and that she’d feel herself in the morning. I put a blanket over her, forced some peanut butter and gabapentin into her mouth (not wanting to eat peanut butter concerned me a lot), and gave her a kiss and a gentle cuddle. Some time during the night her body just gave out, and she was cold when I found her in the morning. I just hope she slipped off peacefully dreaming of sunny days and lying outside in the warm grass.

I have to laugh when I see the “no memory like that of a good dog” memes on social media because neither of my late girls precisely fit the definition of “a good dog.” Perdita developed child aggression and had severe overarousal issues, but her love for me and mine for her was strong enough to make up for it all.

January 21, 2003 my friend, Bernita, and I saw a pair of scared dogs slinking around the houses on my street. I’d seen the small brindle one before, but now there was a bigger red one as well. We unsuccessfully tried to lure the dogs to us with treats; they were just too scared to approach us, but Bernita had an idea. We’d gotten a roasted chicken from the grocery store for dinner, and we could do a treat trail from the sidewalk near the dogs into my backyard. Due to luck, fate, or circumstances the chicken trail worked, and after carefully allowing the dogs to come closer for chicken pieces I was able to get them inside and into my spare room. They destroyed the mattress that night, which was just the start to the various things Perdy ripped up/ate over the years, but they were happy to be safe, warm, and fed. I tried to track down their owners, but no one in the neighborhood recognized them (I walked them around my entire neighborhood and the adjacent ones as well). After a week of no luck I opted to just get them vetted and try to find homes for them through Charlyne’s Pound Puppies. The big red male became Kou, and Perdita got her name for being a found dog (Perdita means lost).

Kou moved into another foster home and eventually got adopted out, but Perdy had a hard time making adoptions stick. Her first adoption fell through because of her destructive tendencies, and she developed aggression issues with one of the small females in her second home (the other dog was a lot like Akane I gather). The third and fourth adoptions lasted even shorter amounts of time due to Perdy’s overarousal and increasingly concerning behaviour around children. After the fourth return I enlisted the help of a behaviourist while I continued to try to adopt Perdy out (she and Akane had had one serious fight at this point, which left Aka badly injured). The spare room worked as a space for Perdy while Aka was out, but I hoped that she could find someone without children who could give her 100%. However, I finally realized that I couldn’t put that liability on the group or someone else, and Perdy became a permanent part of the family when she was about four.

For a while she had a good buddy, Niko, who was a GSD belonging to a friend, so she got regular outings to play and hang out in a child free environment. After Niko moved to Colorado Perdy’s life narrowed to regular walks in the early morning hours when no children were out and quality time in our house and yard. I felt guilty, but looking back she was never unhappy with the arrangement (even if she did break the window in her room three times and chew through the door); Perdy really just wanted to get time with me, which I made sure she received.

I know I’m much harsher on potential aggressive behaviours in adoptable dogs because of what Perdy taught me, but I don’t regret sharing a large part of my life with her. She gave the best cuddles and sloppy full tongue kisses and rocked fuzzy sweatshirts like no one else. Hopefully, she’s sunbathing at the Rainbow Bridge, seeing Niko again (he also died of cancer a few years ago), and able to deal with Akane without acrimony.


About jlscaife

30 something year old animal rescuer, aspiring writer, and all around geek
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