Category Archives: Poco

Long Beach Poco

Poco is our quiet, but incredibly beautiful male lhasa shih tzu cross. He’s one of those sad sorry cases of abuse and he has many issues. He’s not great with people or other dogs. We always thought he was happiest curled up in his orange heated dog bed, but it turns out Poco comes alive for two things: a mini-sized tennis ball and the waves on the beach.

If you should throw the miniature tennis ball into the lake you might as well make Poco the newest Prince of Long Beach and happiest puppy in the world.

The normally watchful and sedate Poco comes alive when he hits the water. Regardless of the ambient temperature he will dive in with careless abandon and snap up the white foam as it hits the shore. Sometimes he ends up with a snootful of water or sand, but he sneezes it off and snarls as he dives back into the water.

I can’t help but laugh out loud at his determination. He seems to have endless energy as he races up and down the beach trying to catch the wave.

Poco has done this in the ocean too and the salt water is only a slight deterrent. He simply sneezes extra hard.

We often over look our quiet boy that doesn’t like to be touched by strangers, but he’s a hidden treasure. I’m hoping to remember the video camera and offer a little glimpse of our gentleman puppy.

There’s only a few more days left to enjoy the beach and I’m so grateful to have the puppies to share my morning and sunset walks along the beach. It’s a lovely romance and it’s nice to spend time with a guy who really gets me. Thanks Poco! (no offense Brent).

Poco and the ides of March

Who is it in the press that calls on me?
I hear a tongue shriller than all the music
Cry “Caesar!” Speak, Caesar is turn’d to hear.
Beware the ides of March.
What man is that?
A soothsayer bids you beware the ides of March.

Ironically, it was on the ides of March that Poco came to the farm as a foster dog in 2009. We knew there was something damaged in Poco from the moment he wandered, shaking, into our lives. We didn’t know if the damage was permanent or malignant. 

We joke that Poco is an ex-navy seal because he’s seen things nobody should see. He’s survived five years of hell and came through the other side a mere shell of the dog he may have been. Poco was not only starved, but he was beaten and left to die. There is a difference between neglect and abuse. 

I can only speculate on the things Poco survived. I have gut wrenching visions of Poco tied to a tree outside, sitting stoically in the snow. At first I thought he’d be dreaming of food. A cookie or a kind word, but when I delve deeper I can feel his wish for death. If this is life, then his mind gave up three years ago, but his body didn’t died. 

I’m at the vet’s office and he tells me Poco is blind in his right eye. Why? Retinal detachment. How does that happen? Trauma. It was probably some kind of trauma that lead to his blindness. I’ve seen retinal detachment in massive trauma and I can only speculate that head trauma from a human has caused a young dog to be unnecessarily blind. I am enraged.

Poco is six years old and he has the crippled damaged body of a fifteen year old dog. 

I ask the vet about his back legs and Dr. M gently flexes and moves the atrophied limbs. The vet sighs and says, it doesn’t look like he’s in any pain. It’s just how his legs have healed. They broke his legs. He has a funny walk. 

the vet: How’s the rest of Poco? 
Poco’s Mom: he shakes. He shakes for hours several times a day. 
the vet: is it just when it rains or there are loud noises? Is there a trigger? 
Poco’s Mom: No. The rain makes it worse, but even when it’s not raining he shakes. He wakes up in the middle of the night having night terrors and cuddles, growling for comfort. We’ve tried L-theanine for the past year with limited positive results. 
the vet: lets try something new. 

Clomicalm or clomipramine hydrochloride is a tricyclid antidepressant. Tricyclids have been replaced in humans by the safer SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors). Tricyclids are more effective at keeping serotonin, the neurotransmitter that makes you feel good, available in your brain, but if a person overdosed on tricyclids it was fatal. SSRIs, like Prosac, are much safer. Even if taken in large quantities SSRIs are fairly benign unless mixed with other drugs. I control Poco’s consumption, so his dose is strictly regimented. 

I said I’d never put a dog on anti-depressants, but I don’t know what else to do? He’s been traumatized. He’s terrified for long periods every day and I don’t want him to continue to believe THIS is life. 

The vet explains: It gives the dog the opportunity to experience life happy. Once they learn joy then they can be weaned off the medication slowly and probably won’t need it anymore. 

I feel a little desperate as I agree. The vet tells me Poco will be a new dog, if it works. 

As I drive home from the vet’s office my hands grip the wheel and I choke back tears. Poco quietly crawls onto my lap and lays down. He’s afraid after the trip to the vet and is seeking comfort, while growling. I pet his head and cheek trying to organize my thoughts. I have so many. 

I’m angry, no furious, at what has become of this pup at the hands of people. I’m sad and dishearted as I look into his one good eye. I feel pity for a dog who did nothing, but be selected by the wrong people. Poco vibrates with residual fear, but he’s exhausted and eventually puts his head on my lap to rest. 

I realize there is only a shell of a dog left and I can see a fraction of the glorious, royal beast he might have been once. I loath these people.

We figured Poco has post-traumatic stress disorder and has relapses. It’s been two years, but he keeps going back. Night terrors, lashing out, shaking and the deep stench of fear surrounds this dog. His tail tucks as he moves trying to go unnoticed. He no longer has dreams of love. He’s given up and the only thing keeping him here is his beating heart, and even his cardiovascular system is damaged.

He went from 8 lbs to 12 lbs, but that isn’t going to solve his mental healthy issues.

I’ve tried love, good food and patience, but we haven’t had a breakthrough. He’s still a fearful dog with no confidence and unconcerned with living. We’d given him two years at the farm and now its time to try something new. Something wonderful and hopeful.

Poco had his first Clomicalm Tuesday, March 15, 2011 with dinner. I have such high hopes on the ides of March.

In the Shakespearean play Ceasar the ides of March is the day Ceasar will be assassinated by a group of conspirators, including Brutus and Cassius, his beloved friends. Despite numerous and improbable premonitions such as: the soothsayer’s warning, some fearsome thundering, his wife’s dreams, and so on—Caesar ventures on the ides to meet his doom.

Poco went forth that day to meet his death at the hands of the humane society, but was saved at the last minute by Pomeranian and Small Breed Rescue and our family. We were willing to take a chance and we’re still waiting for him to take a chance on us. Ironic, that his next step is taken this same day. 

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. I will continue to try and tell Poco’s tale and hope it brings a troubled dog peace. 

Poco to the Rescue

I haven’t be able to write since we lost Willow. I thought I needed to write about losing her and everytime I thought about writing it made me so sad. It was a vicious circle and I lost because I’ve really missed writing.

I missed writing about the holidays and how much I missed my parents. I missed writing about our quick trip to Florida and taking the risk to drive an unfamiliar 1986 mercedes the fifteen hundred MILES home. I missed writing about the horses.

I was having a lovely soak in the tub tonight with a glass of chilled white wine and a cheap paperback when I looked over the side of the tub and saw Poco sleeping on my pile of clothes. His face was calm and serene. His breathing deep and even. His soul was at peace.

I remember when Poco came to the farm a shell of a soul. His eyes were wary, empty and full of pain. His body emaciated, his fur matted and filled with filth, his skin infected and he shook. He shook all the time. That was two years ago.

Today, he sleeps with a fully belly, warm and loved on a pile of dirty clothes. His face is calm and his body is relaxed. He looks happy. Even without the knowledge of his trauma his face would bring me peace and love and joy. His eyes gently closed and his black nose wet with health. It bolstered me. It helped heal my sore spirit. Even in his sleep he gave me strength.

Now, I can write about Willow. I can write about loss knowing there is life that goes on: happy, healthy and full of love. It’s amazing how I think I’m helping them when really they’re helping me.

Poco Update

Our sweet Poco seems to be taking a bit of turn. It’s not so bad that we’re horribly worried, we’re starting to notice changes.

It seemed only a few weeks ago that Poco was a champion cookie catcher. It didn’t matter where you threw it, he’d manage to catch the cookie in his mouth. Now it could hit him in the nose and he wouldn’t catch it. He can’t seem to follow the ball when we throw it and he seems to go by sounds.

We’re worried that our little Poco is going blind.

He’s nervous and fearful. He tends to bite more and is easily startled.

When we got Poco we knew he was badly damaged physically from the years of abuse he sustained at the hands of his previous family. We knew his life expectancy would be shortened by malnutrition. The vet has a hard time getting blood from our little guy because his cardiovascular system is not the best.

When Brent and I decided to adopt Poco from our rescue group we talked at length about the medical attention he may need in the future. After much though and a few sleepless nights we decided we’d make Poco’s life as happy and wonderful as possible without putting him through the trauma of excessive medical tests or procedures. This is our choice.

Modern medicine can’t fix the damage done by five years of starvation and physical abuse. Nothing can and that’s the saddest thing.

Our little Poco is still spunky and I think he’ll adjust to his blindness. He’s relying on Gizmo and Taz to help guide him in the right direction. He’s still eating well and sleeping lots, even if he’s started to pee in the upstair hallway at night.

We make sure that Poco is safe. We’ll keep him warm and love him until the time when his life has more downs than ups. Poco hates the rain, we already know that today will not be a good day, but tomorrow is full of sunshine.