I received an e-mail "Dog in need of home" about 4 weeks ago now. The dog is a 5 year old male Rhodesian Ridgeback. I have always said if I saw a male Ridgeback in need of a home I'd try to adopt it if possible.

Tonight I met this dog. He's a 5 year old intact male Rhodesian Ridgeback that is housed outdoors 100% of the time and does not get walked. When you go back inside after playing with him he stands at the door and howls. He has been an outdoor dog for the past 4 years (ever since the couple's first baby was born). Prior to that time the dog was allowed indoors for 2-3 hours in the evening. It's a toss up as to what part is more worrying.. the medical or the behavioral issues.

I asked if the dog was on heartworm preventative... somehow I expected that because the dog was outdoors all the time and these people lived in a VERY nice home the answer would be yes. However the response I got was "No, No, he isn't on any of that stuff, I grew up on a farm. We don't do that kind of thing, but he did have the 3 rounds of shots they get when they are a puppy...". In fact, the last time that dog got shots was the last time it ever went to the vet at all. No deworming, no heartworm tests, no core vaccinations, no yearly checkup in the last 4 years. So at this point, before I can even risk introducing my dog to his dog I am asking him to at least do the following:

  • Get the dog Current on all core vaccinations It's illegal to bring a non-vaccinated dog (rabies specific) into Kansas.

  • 4-in-1 heartworm test - I want to know how big a bill I'm setting myself up for, I already have to neuter this dog.

  • Fecal (Dewormed if needed)

  • Flea preventative


I'm sending him an excerpt out of the Vaccinating Your Dog article. Along with the above list.

He's got a bloody spot on his front wrist which he licks a lot and he was obsessively licking his paws... both could be signs of fleas or some other form of itchiness, but I can't be sure if it's that or just obsessive behavior related to being out alone without a pack.

Now for the real behavioral issues. I know I CAN deal with most of these, the real question is do I want to... The first and biggest issue is that he masturbates all the time. In the 45 minutes we were there he had 3 or 4 orgasms. I want an inside dog, I can't have him spraying off all over my floors! I noticed his legs trembling a bit but I couldn't figure out if that's yet another medical issue or if it's just because he just got off...

Also, he started to eat a shirt while I was there (I took it away before he could finish the whole thing, while the owner made a joke about people paying lots of money for colonics). He barks and then howls when you leave. He's desperately lonely in the big back yard of nothingness. Since he's been an outside dog for 4 years he's going to have absolutely no bladder control... he's used to going whenever he feels like it... which is yet another problem that would have to be addressed, though by far the easiest. He hasn't had a true behavioral test though I was able to take things away from him, maul him and poke at him without him reacting negatively. He hasn't been cat tested either.

On a side note, both my guy and I got really itchy after being out with the dog for a short period of time. My guy ended up with little red spots clusterd on his arms... I think it's fleas or contact dermatitis from something in the yard... however, I'm worried it's the dog's saliva. My guy isn't allergic to my dog at all, but maybe it's an individual thing, I just don't know.

On an up note, he's not a fence jumper, he doesn't jump on people or use his size for bullying, he's reported to be good with kids and he is incredibly intelligent.

I'd love to be able to at least get him out of that environment and find him a home that does suit him if I can't keep him... however I don't think I'll even do that if this guy won't at least do the bare minimum yearly maintenance. I think at least some responsibility for his animal should be a requirement.

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dragonbait

June 2008

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