Here's a wonderful update letter from the owner of Mama, now Shakedown:
Hi, I’m the companion of the dog you listed as Mama almost 2 years ago. I thought I’d send you an update along with thanks for listing her on your site in the first place — we wouldn’t be together if you hadn’t. I’m 47 and have had dogs in my family for all but 10 of my years and this one is a truly remarkable animal.
I renamed Mama “Shakedown” after going through 21 other names over the course of our first month together (Alice, Arrow, Goodis, Hildy, Novak, Gibson, Mojo, Ellsworth, Melville, Pasco…). Far as I know, she’s the only Shakedown and the name really suits her.
As you know, she’s from the First Nations Reserve in Quebec and was recovering from heartworm treatment when TAS put her up for adoption. As a result, when she first came home with me, she was not allowed to strain herself for 4 weeks. No running. No rough housing. No excitement. She didn’t seem too keen on that stuff anyway, so it wasn’t much of a hardship. She was pretty calm and, though not slow-walking, she was never in a rush either.
However, I’ve really come to appreciate just how sick she was when I first got her. You mentioned in your profile how expressive her face is. With hindsight, I think she was really in a lot of pain when you took those pictures. She really doesn’t make faces like that anymore. I love your photos, but, as you can see by the photos, she doesn’t look like the same dog anymore.
For those who do not know, heartworm treatment involves a repeated series of long, painful needles injected into the animal’s back muscles followed by months of confinement. So, it wasn’t so much that Shakes wasn’t interested in being active, it was that she was incapable.
And here’s another thing, as per my adoption agreement with TAS, I took her to a vet the day after getting her home. They did a checkup and then came to me in the waiting room and said, “Well, your dog’s been x-rayed and your dog’s been shot — you need to see this.” I assumed, of course, that they meant they’d given her an injection.
The x-ray revealed something metal in her side, lodged between her heart and lung. It looks like a bullet or bullet-fragment. I’ve attached a copy of the x-ray so that your readers can see it. With no sign of an entry wound, there’s no telling how long it’s been inside her, and there’s no point in surgically removing it, but, suffice it to say, Shakedown’s a survivor. Heart worm. Meh. Shot? Whatevs.
Curious readers can also see the inverted-D shape of her heart in the x-ray, which is what the worms do to the dog’s heart.
Now that she’s fully recovered from the heartworm, she LOVES to run. I mean, really really loves to run. Not only is she incredibly fast, she’s unbelievably agile. As my mother would say, “She can turn on a dime and get change back!”
The only thing she likes better than outrunning (most) all of the other dogs at the Sorauren dog park is outrunning the squirrels in High Park. I literally have to walk behind her clapping in High Park in order to scare the squirrels away. Unfortunately, I’m not always successful.
I’ve attached a photo of her running. Unfortunately, I’ve never been able to get one of her at full-speed that’s in focus. She’s a blur! One time she snatched something off the sidewalk and I thought, “Damn, she ate a dead bird!” and I pulled her jaws open and a live bird flew out of her mouth! Very fast.
When she first moved in and I would have to go to work, I’d come home and find all my shoes on her bed. She never wrecked any of them. She would just pile them up and sleep on them. It was odd, but very sweet. That’s the word most of my friends use to describe her: sweet. If you’re not a rodent, she’s the most gentle creature. If you are a rodent, she’s your worst nightmare.
Most mornings we do 5K in High Park and she’s got tons of friends there and in Sorauren Park. We’re coming up on our 2nd year anniversary and I have to say, she’s improved my life in every way. When I got her, I was overweight and getting heavier. I was on antidepressants and working a job I disliked in a neighborhood I hated. I adopted her the end of September, immediately got off the pills, started exercising daily, and within a few months had quit my job and opened my own record store. Life is good; business is great; Shakedown is awesome. I’m thrilled and delighted she’s part of my life and hope she’s around for a good long while. Thanks so much for your web site and allowing me to share this story.