Surviving Danni’s First Week


DANNI is available for adoption.

DANNI is available for adoption.

One week ago today we picked up DANNI.  DANNI is an Irish Setter that we are fostering for Save Our Setters, an Irish Setter rescue organization.

For an Irish Setter, DANNI is absolutely tiny. She stands just 18-inches high at the top of her shoulder and weighs less than 32 pounds. Our vet thinks that her small size is due to malnutrition as a puppy.

The scars on her muzzle

The scars on her muzzle

She has a number of scars on her muzzle and a very large scar on her left hind leg.  These would indicate that she was badly attacked at some point, probably by a larger dog.

DANNI came to us from a shelter in Alabama, so we don’t know much about her past.

This is the large scar on her leg

This is the large scar on her leg

  It is obvious that she is very skittish.  When I first picked her up, I had to carry her out to the car, as she was trembling too much to walk on her own power.  When I got her home, I had to carry her in the house for the same reason.

She does not seem to have any issues with people.  She rode in the car beautifully, snuggled up against my leg with her head in my lap.  When I carried her into the house, I put her on Dad’s lap where she immediately fell asleep.  She gets along great with the people that we meet on our walks – including kids from the ages of 4 to 13.  On Thursday I took her to meet “Cousin Vi.”  “Cousin Vi” is my grandmother’s cousin, a very spirited young lady who is 103-years old and lives on her own.  Vi and DANNI immediately charmed the heck out of each other.

After DANNI had a short nap on Dad’s lap we tried to introduce her to our 6-year-old one-eyed Irish Setter, SUE. In hindsight, we probably rushed the introduction, especially with all that DANNI had been through in such a short time.

I mean, think about it.  Who knows what she went through before she reached the shelter in Alabama?  And the shelter itself had to be a pretty traumatic experience for such a skittish young redhead.  Then on Friday she gets transport to southern Indiana.  On Saturday she sees the vet for spaying and her shots.  On Monday she gets picked up again and transported to Ionia, Michigan where I picked her up.  Then the hour and a half drive to Spring Lake.  That’s a lot of tough changes in a short time.  Introducing her to SUE that quickly probably was not a good idea.

DANNI growled and was quite defensive. So we put SUE to bed and introduced DANNI to her crate. I was dreading this, as I had no idea how DANNI would respond to the crate. I should not have worried. As soon as I put DANNI on the floor in front of the crate, she walked in, curled up, and went right back to sleep.

DANNI saw the crate as a safe refuge. As long as she was in her crate she felt comfortable. From midnight on Monday evening until noon on Wednesday she pretty much stayed in her crate and slept. If SUE came too near to the crate, DANNI growled and let everybody know that she did not appreciate having her turf encroached upon.  Other than the occasional growl, the only time we heard anything from DANNI was when she would fuss that she wanted to go outdoors and do her business, or when I dragged her out for a walk.  How fortunate for us, that with all of her problems, DANNI was both housebroken and crate trained!

Wednesday afternoon, I took DANNI to see the vet. While everything checked out good, Dr. Moore did notice that the incision from her spaying procedure was infected. He gave her an antibiotic (Cephalexin) and Rimadyl for her discomfort.  Within two hours of her first dose of Rimadyl she was a much happier dog. She still didn’t want much of anything to do with SUE but she did start to seek out affection and interaction with Dad and I.

By Thursday she was doing so much better and had socialized so well with other people, if not dogs, on our walks that I decided to take her on the aforementioned visit to “Cousin Vi.”  While they were busy charming each other, I told Vi of our troubles getting SUE and DANNI to declare a truce.  Well, I guess that 103 years of living must give you some modicum of wisdom.  Vi advised that I should take both of them for walks together.  She said that it would teach them that they belonged to the same pack and that they had to look out for each other.  I was adamant that such a plan would never work.  But of course, I was wrong.

It was a nightmare getting them both out the door together. DANNI growled pretty much non-stop – until we got out the door.  It was like magic.  The two girls walked side-by-side as pretty as a postcard.  They were no trouble at all.  It has taken a LOT of work to get SUE to walk decently on the leash. DANNI has been a treat to walk right from the get-go. And together they were simply beautiful.

On Saturday I was working in my studio in the basement.  When I came upstairs to start making dinner the most wondrous sight greeted me!  Both of these beautiful redheads were at the top of the stairs waiting for me, standing side-by-side with their tails wagging a mile a minute.  The progress has continued pretty rapidly – this afternoon they played together, both with and without me!  I am so happy.

DANNI still has some fear issues to deal with, but that seems pretty natural given what she has been through. Next week her medical quarantine is over and she will be ready for Save Our Setters to start the process of finding her a good forever home.

I will be so sad to see her go, but some lucky family will gain a beautiful treasure.  DANNI has the deepest, richest mahogany coat and is simply too cute for words.  She is very affectionate and gives amazing sweet little kisses.  She gets along with cats – she basically just ignores them, people of all ages (or at least those from 4 to 103), is fully housebroken, crate trained, and leash trained.  We are still working on some basic obedience skills like sit, stay, and come.  I don’t know if she will have those completely mastered by the time of her adoption, but she will certainly be well on her way.  She is a smart little girl.  If she isn’t gun shy (we haven’t tried to do any field work with her yet) I suspect that she would be a very good bird dog.  And with her petite frame, she could even be a very good lap dog if somebody wanted to do that with her.

I envy her forever family.  She is such a wonderful dog.  And thanks to the kind folks at Save Our Setters, DANNI has a chance at a wonderful life.

If you have an interest in adopting DANNI you can click on her name anywhere in this post and go to the Save Our Setters website. Save Our Setters has a large number of beautiful Irish Setters available. And you can check out some of the miraculous work that they have done. Even if you don’t want to adopt a dog right now, check them out and donate to help support the good work that they do. You can click on Save Our Setters anywhere in this post to visit them. And don’t forget to sign their guest book and tell them that DANNI sent you.


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