– The Best Laid Plans –
“About 4 and a half years ago, I was working as a property manager in the East Village. My coworker at the time mentioned that she wanted to adopt a dog. And I said 'oh, I’ll go with you to look at dogs' which, no one should do unless you’re intent on also getting a dog. (laughs) So we went to a shelter that was on 6th and avenue B. There were just a bunch of cats in there and Rumham. And you could tell that something was wrong with him.”
"I was talking to the shelter owner about him and he said that Rum had been there for a few months and he was in really bad shape when they got him. He’s a breed called a Bully and they’re supposed to be 4 times larger than this. The vet thinks they were going to use him as a fighting dog because they clipped his ears. And because they cut his ears so short he contracted an ear infection that was never treated. We think that's why he’s always a little tilted to the right."
" The man at the shelter also said that his previous owner left him in a crate that was too small for him, and that’s when his back legs became atrophied. He was never able to grow. And parts of his body were really infected because he was in the crate for so long. The guy was telling me these terrible things and I could tell that Hammy was a sweet dog. And I just thought – 'I can’t leave him here.'"
"I’ve had Louie (my other dog) since I was 19, so he’s 11 or 12 years old now. He was not a shelter dog. He was a pampered dog. So when I got home with Rumham I thought, 'Oh my god this dog can barely walk on a leash.' When he poops you have to kind of hold him up. I had no idea what I was getting myself into. And I didn’t know at the time either that he was never socialized. But he was so malnourished that he was fine around Louie for the first couple of days. I think that he was in shock. He didn’t even know how to sleep on a bed. I would lay him on the bed and he would go to the floor. It was heartbreaking.”
– Best Buds –
"Once Rumham started getting stronger and everything, he started trying to attack Louie. I basically had to discipline him constantly. And in time he just stopped. Now they’re the best of friends – although I think that Louie gets annoyed with him (laughs). But they’ll sleep together and hang out together. Louie has really helped Rumham because Rum needs to be held and loves attention. So being next to Louie is really comforting for him."
"It has not been easy. Sometimes he can’t hold his bladder so I’ll be carrying him down the steps and he’ll pee on me. Literally there have been days when people have asked – is he okay? Is he suffering? Am I keeping him alive? People have even accused me of abusing him because they don't know the story. But Rumham is a survivor."
– Wants & Needs –
"I think people’s biggest concern with adopting a special needs dog is that it’s going to be so much more work. It is more effort but he’s not barking all day, he’s not running around, he’s not biting people. You don’t have to deal with a lot of the typical issues that you’d find in able - bodied dogs. So it’s a give and take. And obviously it’s all in how this type of situation fits into your life."
"I would definitely think about getting a special needs dog in the future. I’d never not consider getting a three-legged dog or even an older dog. There are so many older dogs in the shelter and they’re the best. I’m a big fan of old man dogs!"
– Thank You –
Rest peacefully, Rumham. And thank you so much for sharing your story Jen (Weinberg), Louie and Steven.