Bob and I discussed the idea of getting a dog with the vet at one of Q’s follow-up visits. It could work, he said, but we were strongly cautioned against terrier breeds for Q’s safety. My husband had done his own research on dog breeds and the local rescue shelters. He has a penchant for beagles. There was a local beagle rescue, but there would be a considerable wait until we could actually get a dog. Never mind. There are lots of exceptional dogs waiting for a home. Knowing we probably wouldn’t find a beagle, we began our search at the local Pet Resource Center.
Walking the kennels, we searched for the right pup – a very special one who would be at home in a townhouse with a duck. At last, we came upon a very timid “little” girl who was listed as a Pointer mix, and we spent some time with her. We were told she was probably three to four years old based on her teeth, and she was a little overweight. She looked as if she’d recently had puppies but was freshly spayed by the PRC. She had been picked up a month earlier by Animal Control and had probably been homeless after Hurricane Irma hit our area that September. The requisite notifications had gone out, in case her owners were looking for her, but no one had come to claim her. Because of her extreme shyness, I wasn’t sure she’d be adoptable and was scared she would be euthanized, so when Bob asked me if I wanted to come back another day to look at more dogs (he thought I wanted a smaller dog), I started tearing up. I said we needed to adopt her right away. Bob was ecstatic. We had a good feeling about this dog.
We took her home that day, and Bob named her Diogi, in honor of a deceased police K9. (D-O-G. Spell it and say it!)
Diogi was a nervous dog. She needed lots of time to adjust, but it was clear to us that she was grateful to be out of the shelter. You could tell she was on her best behavior. But she did not handle going outside for walks very well. She would do her business outside but wanted to run back into the house right away. Bob was the only one who could handle her on a leash. She was very fearful of other dogs, no matter their size. She would also not go up the stairs in our townhouse. For the first couple of days, Bob would have to carry her. While she didn’t seem to “get” the stairs, she definitely seemed like she had been someone’s pet. She was very used to being indoors – no training required in that regard. We wondered what had happened to her to make her so skittish.
But as for the duck… Diogi was fearless. Q was a big curiosity. She would try to come over to sniff him all the time. While she was gentle, we were cautious. I kept Q safe and wondered if I would ever be able to leave them alone together in the same room. When Bob and I were not home, Q would stay upstairs in our bedroom, while Diogi had the rest of the house. Would Diogi ever understand that Q was family?
Diogi made good company for us humans, but I still worried about Q. I had learned a lot about Muscovies by now and knew that they are highly social. When we first rescued Q, I asked our new vet to call me if they ended up with another rescued Muscovy. It was only beginning to dawn on me how important it was to find a duck friend for Q. I wondered if the animal hospital would remember.
Postscript: We had a doggy DNA test done for Diogi and she is 40% American Staffordshire terrier, 40% Dalmatian, 10% Boxer, and 10% Boston terrier. So much for not getting a terrier! She now weighs 57 pounds, which her vet says is fine, but food is constantly on this dog’s mind.