September 12, 2014, Tim brought home two dogs from Pawmetto Lifeline for us to foster. Adult Maltese boys, a bonded pair nicknamed Antonio (7lb) and Giorgio (4lb), in pretty bad shape. Shaved nearly bald to remove a ton of gross matted fur, each had open sores on their backs and hindquarters, swollen and injured paw pads, and infected toes with horrible claws grown so long that they curled back up around in an S shape. Giorgio has rings on one leg where he grew around a rubber band, and the sores were still healing. Antonio had ear infections which were untreated for so long he developed cauliflower ears; one ear canal & drum is calcified and will likely require surgery. Giorgio arrived with no upper front teeth and two remaining bottom front teeth which he lost the next day. The rest of his teeth were like nothing I've ever seen, except for a few of Antonio's, which looked the same. Their back legs make popping crunch sounds when held. Giorgio's left eye was injured, at some point, resulting in a healed but permanently dented lens.
We administered antibiotics and antihistamines round the clock, soaked their healing itchy feet and legs in oatmeal baths, doled out eardrops, rubbed ointment into paw pads, brushed, snuggled, and spoon-fed them. I discovered that swaddling relaxed both dogs and immediately interrupted their frantic scratching/chewing; they get swaddled at bedtime now to help them ready for sleep. We visited the Pawmetto Lifeline Spay/Neuter Clinic for ears and paws checkups along the way, dropped them off there again for their dental appointments (as you can probably tell, they do SO much more than "just" spay and neuter, including offering a variety of vaccinations and pest preventatives at major discounts) and then picked them up loopy from sedation and with only a handful of remaining - but healthy! - teeth and mouths full of stitches. We spoon-fed them again, baby food this time, and administered painkillers.
Over the course of their weeks in our care, we have come to love these little guys. They found the ability to trust us, which amazes me after what they've endured. Where once they were nervous and sad, in pain and scared, we started to see playful and even happy dogs. They hobbled to greet us with joy and wagging tails when Tim or I arrived home. We watched Giorgio cry and shake if he couldn't find Antonio, and knew they need to stay together in a forever home. Near the end of September I spent two nights out of town, and Tim reported a sad Sid, tail down most of the time, but he was right back to normal when I returned (later, he would try to follow me out the front door to work, because where I go, he wants to go). Oh, you guys, the feels.
A couple weeks into this round-the-clock care, Tim said, apropos of nothing, "I've come up with their S names."
So, on October 1, 2014, we made it official with Pawmetto Lifeline. Antonio and Giorgio Foster are now Sidney and Scout Bergen. We are happy "foster failures", we are the forever home where these abused and neglected little boys will spend the rest of their days loved and adored, and they're never going back again.