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This is a true story about a Rez Dog named Edgar. We have a fair amount of information about his early life but as with all Rez Dog Rescue Stories, we’ll need to make some assumptions if we want to finish with an accurate biography.
Let’s just say Edgar has the look of a Heeler/Beagle mix. If the Rez Law of Random Interbreeding holds, he also has the blood of other breeds running through his veins: from Corgi to Chihuahua, from Cattle Dog to Yorkshire Terrier. Each breed contributes unique characteristics that increase a Rez Dog’s ability to survive. Does Edgar have a Catahoula bent that will help him dig for bugs to eat? Is there any Lassie courage in Edgar’s heart that will give him the strength to battle a coyote? He most likely has those traits and more but we don’t know where they came from. The fact that Edgar is alive at all proves he has some kind of genetic and behavioral disposition for survival. Fortunately for him, cuteness is one of the traits he inherited from some long dead ancestor. Rescued Rez Dogs with his cuteness and charm are adopted quickly and these traits may be the most powerful survival-related characteristic Edgar has.
Not only is he adorable, but Edgar is small – another plus that tends to result in quicker adoptions. From a distance, Edgar looks like a run-of-the-mill super-cute Rez-Puppy. On closer inspection, you’ll notice his adult teeth have fully erupted. We believe Edgar is about eight months old but malnutrition throughout his short life has limited his growth and development. He will always be small, slightly less coordinated and less able to compete for resources than his peers. But Edgar is a product of the Rez and as such, there is more to this little guy than meets the eye.
Think of it this way: dumb Rez Dogs don’t survive so we can assume Edgar is intelligent. Actually, I can attest to the fact he is – he’s outsmarted me on several occasions. Whether a slow Rez Dog is hit by a car, infuriates the pack Alpha or fails to consistently find water, the High Desert has a way of clearing out the gene pool. Edgar is a bag of bones with patches of exposed skin who looks like he’s never enjoyed a full meal… but he is smart enough to distract bigger/stronger Rez Dogs long enough to steal their dinner. He’s a survivor.
This is also true of Rez Dogs: the weak ones don’t survive. Poor nutrition is a common problem for Rez Dogs and malnutrition leads to other, more severe problems – any of which can kill. Your dog wouldn’t think twice about the wounds they received while fighting that Pit mix for the mouse carcass behind the dumpster at Basha’s. Your dog gets to go to the vet. A cut on a starving Rez Dog will quickly become infected and infection is an efficient killer… as is Parvo or the Distemper virus. Weaker dogs die but some Rez Dogs fight off infection and survive with a stronger constitution than before. They pass that constitution on to future generations. Well, Edgar won’t because he’s already been neutered – but I digress.
Edgar also has the scratches and scars of a veteran Rez Dog and a gnarly case of mange that left only the thinnest whisps of hair to protect his skin against sunburn. All in all, that he made it this far stands as proof that he’s a prototypical Rez Dog. To look at him, you wouldn’t think he has much chance at a long and prosperous life but he’s one of the lucky ones. Not only did he survive eight difficult months on the Rez, he was rescued and delivered to a foster home where he could chill out and get healthy. Looks rarely tell the story about a Rez Dog and Edgar is no exception.
The thought occurs that stories such as Edgar’s are best heard directly from the source. Our next blog explores what rescue is all about… from his side of the conversation.
Please find Part 2 of Edgar’s story here.
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