It was July 13, 1996, and incredibly hot (this is Columbia, SC, after all). The shelter was un-airconditioned (no surprise there, as it's barely funded), and really full. We were hoping for a puppy that would still be a small dog when fully grown, as we'd be living in apartments for a while, but trying to predict the future size of a mixed-breed pup is pretty impossible. Never-the-less, we checked out the puppies (all puppies are too cute) and, while some looked to be part terrier, there was no way to tell for sure. We went back inside, and talked to one of the shelter workers, and mentioned that we have a miniature schnauzer. "Would you like another one?" she asked. They'd just gotten in an adult schnauzer; her owner had just moved from Texas (just like Tim!) and couldn't keep the dog at her apartment. We went into the exam room (where all newcomers get checked out) and there was a smallish schnauzer, standing still around all the other dogs running crazy around her. She looked shy and scared. I couldn't resist; I picked her up, and she just looked at me and looked around quietly. "Look how sweet and quiet she is!" I told Tim. "She'll be perfect with Savannah!" Tim rolled his eyes, but he fell for her also, and we told them we'd adopt her. They kept her to give her shots, and we went out to fill out the paperwork. As I was signing everthing and writing checks, a dog was barking furiously behind us. Finally the shelter person said to the friend that was with us "Go shut that dog up!" I heard the friend's peal of laughter from the other room -- the barker was our new dog. She was quiet just until the ink was dry.
We learned her name was Baby ("that's GOT to go!" I thought), bought a collar and lead for her, and loaded her into the car, promising to take her to get spayed the next week. We were all incredibly hot and exhausted from the heat, and poor Baby had fleas (she must have arrived with them) so we went straight home instead of chosing someplace where Savannah could meet Baby before her territory was invaded. The puppies didn't have much to do with each other -- Baby was much more interested in getting our attention -- so they ignored each other. I was really nervous about Baby; I hadn't been around many dogs before I got Savannah, and I felt like I really knew her, having raised her from a pup. Baby puppy was an unknown. She did snap at me while I was flea-combing her (I think I hit the spot where she'd gotten her shots earlier) but other than that she was fine. She did some exploring around the house, and came back with a toy of Savannah's that was made of rawhide. Savannah didn't like rawhide; when given a chewey, she take it to one of her puppy places and place it safely there, to keep forever and forever. Baby, though, loved rawhide. She completely ate Savannah's toy (rawhide bits formed in the shape of a slice of pizza). The weekend passed pretty quietly.
I had to take Baby to get spayed the next week. The friend rode with us there (she had lived in Lexington), and I went to pick her up alone. As I paid, they brought out Baby and set her on the counter beside me; she was still pretty drugged, and swayed distinctly to the right. I carried her out to the car, put her in the passenger seat, and headed to Tim's work to show her to everyone there. On the way, I learned something very important about Baby -- she like human contact. I felt something touch my leg, and looked down; she's pulled herself over to rest her chin on my leg. That's the first time she did the "chin thing" with me.
Baby was a troubled puppy. She had severe separation anxiety, in spite of Savannah being home with her; the first day we left her we came home from work to find a shredded window blind; she'd climbed the loveseat to the window air conditioner and tore up the blind trying to look for us out the window. She was also something of an attention hot -- she was always trying to get between us and Savannah. But she did love Savannah. I noticed when we were visiting my parents that Baby seemed to lead Savannah around. Savannah was pretty blind by then (cataracts), so she couldn't follow us down the hall to the guest room at my parents' home. But when I went to the bedroom, I'd soon see Baby, closely followed by Savannah, coming down the hall. I mentioned it to Tim, but his reaction was "Yeah, right!" He became a believer a few months later, though, when Baby woke us scratching at the bedroom door. Tim opened the door while I went to the bathroom; when I came out, he had an odd look on his face. "Baby didn't want water" he said. "Savannah did. Baby just woke us to open the door for Savannah." Savannah had her guide dog and protector.
Baby had a few behavior problems. She barked constantly. All the time. Of course, that's a schnauzer trait, but Savannah (all we had to compare Baby to) is really quiet for a schnauzer, so we weren't used to it. We SO wanted to change her name to "noisy pushy broad" or even "PB" for short, but she would only answer to Baby or Savannah. She was bad about doing her business in the house; we could never break her of that (I think it went along with the separation anxiety). And she was afraid we'd hit her. We're pretty sure her previous owner had hit her for barking (NOTE: if you want a dog that doesn't bark, DON'T GET A MINIATURE SCHNAUZER!!!), and she never got over that fear. She also had HORRIBLE teeth; she was about three when we adopted her, and she already had many missing and rotting teeth. We can only guess that her previous owner had fed her only wet food. Poor little thing. She was always afraid we'd abandon her, that we'd take her to the kennel and leave her there forever. We'd never do that. And we never did.
Baby liked to play hide and seek. She'd crawl under the coffee table (all we could see was her little hindquarters) and stay there. I'd say "Where's Baby? Where's Baby puppy?" and Tim and I would look. After a couple of minutes she'd back out and trot over to us, tail stub wiggling, as we said "There she is! There's Baby puppy!" She was also big on burying her rawhide chewies. Often she'd "bury" one between the cushions of the sofa -- but then she'd stand over it and growl when anyone came near. She also buried them under our pillows on the bed, and in shoes. Silly girl!
When we bought the house in 2001, Baby seemed to deal well. We all settled in quickly, she lead Savannah around the house, and she was happy. In June of 2002, I noticed that she wasn't eating as much and there was black gunk around one side of her face, so I took her to the vet (she didn't like that at all, and was known for snapping at the vets and techs). So they knocked her out to have a look and found an abscessed tooth. We took her in the next day for a complete dental cleaning, and to have the abscess taken care of. The vet called that day; she'd had to remove a number of teeth, but she'd cleaned the rest and worked on the abscess. She also noticed a growth that didn't look right, and snipped off a bit to send to the lab.
We picked Baby up that night, and she was miserable; her poor little mouth hurt and she couldn't eat. She moved from me to Tim and back, whining from the pain, but in a couple of days she was her usual self. Then came the call from the vet; the lab results were back, and Baby had malignant oral melanoma. We went to see the vet the next day to talk, and she had to tell us there was no cure. The only treatment was debulking surgery performed over and over -- which prolonged the dog's life at a cost of pain and multiple surgeries. We talked to my inlaws, who talked to their vet and suggested an experimental drug. Our vet ordered it. Meanwhile, the tumor grew. And grew. I did some searching and got some Essiac Tea for Baby, and she began to drink it. I contacted a specialist in animal natural medicine, and she sent some herbs for us to use. By now Baby was often bleeding from the tumor; she couldn't eat without chewing on it. I'd sit down with her and hold her face in my hands, gently warming and massaging her jaw, and that did seem to help. She would sit there, totally still, just watching me. We began soaking her food in broth so it was easier for her to eat. She had one debulking surgery, during which the vet had to remove several more teeth because the tumor had grown so quickly. When she ate now, much of the food came out of her mouth on the side where she had no teeth. We got the experimental drug and the vet started treating her, but it did no good. I began giving Baby goat's milk and honey, which she did down as much as she could (lots just poured out of her mouth. We took her to the vet for another check, and the vet said "I told you I'd let you know when it's time, and it is time." We set an appointment to have Baby put out of her misery on Monday, July 15th.
The weekend before, we got baby food because Baby couldn't chew at all. Tim picked it out -- different kinds with carrots, Baby's favorite. We also gave her peanut butter cups because chocolate and peanut butter it doggie heaven. Monday we both took off, and brought Savannah with us to the vet's so Savannah could say goodbye too.
I have a picture of them from Christmas of 1996:
|This is Savannah; her birthday is June 4, 1989, so she's a grand old lady now. She's almost completely blind from cataracts, but she gets around amazingly well, especially with the help of her constant companion and seeing-eye dog, Baby.||This is Baby; her adoption day is July 13, 1996. She was still new to us when this picture was taken, and was afraid we'd leave her at the mall where the pictures were taken. We think she has a hearing problem now -- or at least a paying-attention problem! Note 19 August 2002: We lost Baby puppy on Monday, July 15, 2002; she'd developed malignant oral melanoma, an extremely aggressive tumor, and there was no treatment available. We tried an experimental drug and herbal medicines, but the tumor grew too fast.|
Baby's getting her foot soaked because she'd chewed a sore on it. She's NOT a happy puppy here.
This is Savannah in HER corner on HER bed. Don't even TRY to take a nap there.
This page last updated 14 July 2004.
Go back to Tim and Lisa's homepage.
Go back to Tim and Lisa's homepage.