He's no longer the scrawny little dude I brought home. His hip bones are still too prominent, but you can't see his ribs anymore and his back end is filling out. There are still spots--especially on his sides (you can see that in the Week 5 picture) where he's mostly undercoat, but the top coat he does have isn't dull and coarse anymore. Some of it even has a shine and the longer parts are nice and soft.
He's terrified of his foster cat brother. My 13-pound cat strikes fear in Sal's heart. Many a times, we stand in the doorway for over 5 minutes because Soth is standing there looking at him. It takes a lot of coaxing to convince Sal to come back inside when Soth is visible. (Note: Soth has never even swatted at Sal and this fear--unlike his fear of Barley--is unwarranted.)
He likes to know where everyone is and keep an eye on things. In typical border collie fashion, he likes to keep an eye on the flock. Since he's scared of Barley and Soth, that flock is a flock of 1--me. He's not brave enough to go down the basement stairs (which is fine with me because I couldn't carry him back up if he decided he couldn't make it back up), but when I go down, he sits at the top and waits until I come back.
He enjoys slow, short walks. The day I had him, he couldn't even walk 1/10 of a mile and back. We had to start our walks by going one house down from ours and turning around, then the next day we'd go two houses down and turn around, until eventually we got to the end of the street and could make it back. The first time we walked a full mile, it took us 45 minutes (for perspective, Barley and I walk an 18 minute mile when we're talking our time and enjoying the scenery). Now, a couple times a week, we walk about a 1.3 miles. We still mostly stick to one or two 3/4-mile loops a day, but Sal does enjoy slightly longer walks, so we occasionally walk down to the lake .
For the first few weeks, Sal wasn't very alert on walks. But now he is noticing squirrels and paying attention to the world around him.
He has also gotten stronger--the first few weeks, he couldn't stand with his front feet on the curb and his back feet on the road--he'd wobble and lose his balance. Now, he's much more stable and I was so happy he could stand like this that I let him sniff far longer than I usually do.
He's cleaner. He came to me pretty stinky with that shelter scent on his fur--but he was so weak that I didn't want to put him in the tub, even with the the non-slip mat we use. When he wandered upstairs in the house one day, I figured he was strong enough for a bath. His first bath was disgusting--the water was so brown. But he got another bath yesterday with some Chewy.com recommended shampoo to help with itchy, dandruffy skin and the water was just normal bath water when we were done. He smells much nicer now!
He's learning what beds are for. The first couple weeks he was here, he was too weak to step on his bed--it was new and poofy and if he stepped on it, he fell over. He would rest his head on it, but that was it. Usually, I'd come into the room to see him just sleeping in a ball in the corner of the room. Now, most days, I walk in and he's sprawled on top of the bed.
|I accidentally ruined the cover in the wash--oops.|
He still has bad teeth, which makes it hard for him to tug on toys or to carry a ball for long, but the pumpkin seems to be something that doesn't give him any trouble at all. We don't have any updates on if/when his teeth will be extracted and cleaned. That may be something that happens after his adoption. He's still able to eat fine--kibble and wet food--so other than stinky breath and not being able to play tug, he doesn't seem bothered by his teeth right now.
He's cute and he knows it. Now that he's put on weight and has gotten clean, he knows that he's a cutie pie and he expects the world to acknowledge that, too. He's mastered the head tilt for photos and is also very effective at using it against me when he wants snacks or petting.
He's a really fun little dog with a lot of personality. If you or someone you know is interested in giving Sal a home, information about adopting him can be found here.