Today I said farewell to Itchy dog, whom Greg and I had adopted together in August 2013. Itchy was elderly and heartworm positive at the time of our adoption – but working with Middleburg Animal Hospital near our then-home in Virginia, we were able to cure him of that disease, and make his last few years happy and comfortable.
Dogs as a species inspire us with their capacity for resilience – their ability to love, to trust, and to remain positive and determined in the face of adversity. Itchy dog, especially, had this capacity.
For much and perhaps all of Itchy’s early life, his first owners in Suffolk, Virginia kept him outdoors, 365 days a year, in a garbage-strewn pen. Finally, in June 2013, those owners turned Itchy over to PETA fieldworkers.
And then one of our PETA contacts sent us this note:
“Do you have room for another sweet dog?
Itchy does not have much time left in this world. He is an elderly gentleman. He has heartworm disease, he is emaciated, his eyes are cloudy, his incisors are all gone from chewing on who knows what, and he is being treated for parasites. But he has mucho pep in his step, and loves, loves, loves going for walks, sniffing, marking, eating, and being told that he is a dashing, handsome boy.
We would very much like to find Itchy a short-term home where he could be afforded the opportunity he has never had, to simply be a dog, and to enjoy being one! If you or anyone you know within reasonable distance to our Norfolk office are in a position to give this special boy this environment, please let me know.”
Greg and I gave a tentative ‘yes’ – subject to confirming that Itchy would be able to coexist with Fox and Marina, the two dogs who were already part of our family. All four of us drove to Norfolk to meet Itchy – and the meeting was a success!
After coming to us, Itchy proceeded to charm everyone who met him – our friends and neighbors, his sitters, his groomer, even the vets who poked and prodded him in the process of curing his heartworm disease and assorted other afflictions.
Itchy also won hearts around the world as “Mr. March” in the 2016 PETA “Rescued” Calendar. He was the best poster boy ever for adopting rescued dogs – and especially for adopting rescued dogs in their senior years.
I like to think he is once again with Greg, going for walks on the grassy country trails they both loved.
More of Itchy’s story in this PETA blog post from the time we adopted him.