My Life with Mabel Part I
When Trixie, our beloved bullmastiff, died we knew we would have another dog and were researching breeds to replace our 140-pound baby. English bulldogs were on our short list, but we knew we couldn't afford one from a reputable breeder. Our daughter in Texas is very involved in rescue organizations and was encouraging us to go with a rescue, but we had concerns about health and behavior problems that might have led a dog to be surrendered.
Then I saw Elvis. He was listed on a bulldog rescue site. We were disappointed when we found out that we lived outside of their adoption range and decided to look closer to home. We are 2 1/2 hours from Detroit and didn't know if that was outside the Detroit Bulldog Rescue (DBR) range, but we filled out an application anyway.
When I saw Mabel's photo on the site something in me clicked. I fell in love with her sweet little smooshy face. It took a couple of weeks, but when I got the call from DBR saying we had been approved and Mabel was a match to what we had requested, I was so excited. Poor little thing was used as a breeder. They believe she is about 4 years old and may have had as many as 5 litters of puppies. When she became dog-aggressive, the owner locked her outside. If I had been forced to have 5 litters of puppies I might have been a little aggressive too. I am so grateful that DBR was able to get the dog away from her owner.
We drove to the Detroit area to meet Mabel. It was love at first sight. I think the foster mom was a little surprised that I immediately sat on the floor to see this little stocky body up close. How else do you introduce yourself to a dog? I was covered in slobber and dog hair, but had a ball with her. She was so affectionate and had the cutest little body. During our visit, she became overexcited, which was when I first started to be concerned about her breathing. The foster said that this happens frequently in bulldogs.
We went back the following weekend to pick up our new baby. The trip home was interesting. She was so excited to see us. I think she knew we were taking her home. She climbed right into the back seat of the car. It took close to 100 miles for her to calm down enough to settle her breathing, but she still seemed to be struggling. As a nurse who has cared for many patients with COPD, I am still a bit alarmed at the effort she puts into breathing. We have noticed that any mild exercise really affects her breathing and have tried to keep her calm. However, watching her little bursts of energy has been pretty entertaining. For the first time (probably in all her life), she has started playing.
We have found a veterinarian about 40 minutes from us who specializes in bulldogs. Mabel has an appointment with him later this week. We're looking forward to his assessment of this sweet little dog to see if there is anything we can do to give her a little more energy and endurance. I'd also like to talk to him about a tummy tuck because of all the extra skin she has on her abdomen. I have to be very careful to clean and dry the very deep fold over the scar tissue on her belly or it gets red and stinky. I am also anxious to hear his take on the growth that she has on the outside of her rear foot. I'm worried it could be a malignancy or will get caught on something and tear.
She's such a sweet little thing. I want to make her healthier and keep her happy for the rest of her life. I have had so many people tell me that they're proud we rescued her. We didn't rescue her--she rescued us.