Shortly after we moved in, we found Skinny. Well, some say Skinny found us. While out walking the dogs, we noticed a canine who looked much like our former neighbors’ runaway, so we attempted to catch her. She showed her teeth at us when we approached, and not even an approach with the boys or treats helped. She’d have been homeless for several months, probably not long enough to go feral, so we wondered if this was maybe another dog. I followed her on foot, Jon did the same in the car, and we attempted to force her into our garage by blocking her exit. Unfortunately, this approach didn’t work, so I continued to follow her with treats and a leash around the block (and thankfully away from traffic). She stopped running away only once: to sniff another large dog who was lying on the ground.
I realized I could probably catch this other, extremely thin dog, if not my original target. Armed with my treats, I approached him. He slowly raised his head and sniffed the treats, then lay back down. I let him sniff my hands for a while before wrapping the leash in a slipknot around his neck. As I stood, he seemed to know the leash was on, because he stood as well, and attempted to walk the opposite direction. He fought me on going up the stairs, but finally arriving, he lay in the backyard mostly motionless. I brought him treats, though he didn’t eat them. He did eat the food and drink the water we put out every day, and we assumed based on his behavior and extreme emaciation that he was incredibly old and near death. We figured we’d give him a little comfort and food before he passed away.
Instead, he gained more energy, confidence, and personality as he ate properly. I took him to the veterinarian after several days, hoping he had a microchip and we could return him to his original owners. No such luck, but it turned out that the dog was in fact closer to 4 or 5, rather than our assumed 13 or 14! His malnourishment had simply caused his fatigue.
As his energy increased, so did our fondness for him, and with such a large yard, we had plenty of space for this new member of our family. His breed’s extra skin and his original physical appearance caused us to name him Skinny.
Skinny, we decided early on, would sleep outdoors. He’d been curling up near a bush initially, but soon moved on to the tarp I use for painting clothing and other items. We decided to get Skinny a house of his own, along with an outdoor run to make waste cleanup more localized (and to prevent damage to the exterior door as he tried to make his way into the home).
Thedog house we found that best matched our home is this one. It came in a large heavy box, but was quite easy to assemble with only a screwdriver. It really looks like a miniature Craftsman house or log cabin, with a pitched shingle roof and everything! The wood keeps his body heat in on cooler LA nights, though we also added a soft stuffed dog bed for comfort and warmth. The house looks professional and neat, and placing it and Skinny near the front entrance ensures a little extra protection in case any unsavory characters somehow get past the other security measures!
We ended up removing a section of wood fence and a strange iron gate from this front area, so now we have a view all the way to the back patio furniture, and Skinny can see us coming up the stairs when we get home. I can’t seem to grab a picture of Skinny actually using his house, since he’s too busy running around all day to stay there much!