Well, there was no better way to put it than to say the little dog looked like a mop.
Specifically, like a mop left in the harsh elements of New Mexico nowhere for a few years, which is even less nice but closer to the truth about what happened to this dog.
Not much was known about him, including his gender (hence the “it”), when someone found him wandering somewhere in the rural stretches of NM 6, picked him up, and drove him away. dropped off at the Valencia County Animal Shelter in Los Lunas last week.
Due to his condition, an emergency alert for care was sent Thursday to animal rescue groups and foster families.
Allie Sikorski of Pawsitive Life Rescue of New Mexico answered the call.
If his name and his nonprofit group sound familiar, it’s because they were featured in this column last October with the story of another stray mop-like dog that roamed neighborhoods and streets. mesas around 98th Street on the west side of Albuquerque, eluding capture for six months. until the group finally catches him.
Dash, as Sikorski named him, turned out to be a dashing schnoodle once he was freed from his matted hair. Today, thanks to Pawsitive Life, Dash is living his best life, adopted and loved, and still dashing.
Last Thursday, Sikorski’s first thought when she saw this latest tangled dog was that he looked a lot like Dash, maybe even more horrible.
“You could tell this dog was very scared and uncomfortable and needed somewhere other than a safe haven,” she said.
It took some maneuvering with a catch pole to get the snarling, snapping little dog into a crate. Once in Sikorski’s car, the dog continued to growl but still allowed him to gently feel his abdominal area to determine his gender – which turned out to be female.
“Almost as a joke, I had called the dog Mop,” Sikorski said. “When I found out it was a girl, I changed it to Mopsy.”
Sikorski could also feel a soft lump on the dog’s abdomen and thought Mopsy might be going to be a mom.
Groomer Sherry Clark got to work, shaving off 22 ounces of matted hair, including a thick dreadlock that hung down her front and looked like a fifth leg.
But she had to stop cutting around Mopsy’s face after the dog got too restless.
Once shorn, Sikorski could see that what she had thought was a pregnant belly was a round tumor-like mass the size of a softball.
Dr. Adena Robertson of 4 Paws Pet Hospital assessed the mass as a hernia, a tear in Mopsy’s abdominal wall, likely caused by trauma such as being hit by a car. What Sikorski initially thought were puppies were actually lengths of intestine protruding from the abdominal wall.
It meant major surgery.
That meant a few thousand dollars on top of the grooming and vet bills Mopsy had already received.
And that means you can help, if you want. I have included ways to help in an accompanying information box.
Mopsy was given sedatives to complete her facial grooming. Sikorki said she thinks part of the dog’s restlessness was due to irritation from the prickly foxtail grasses burrowing into his eyes.
“She’s cute,” Sikorski said. “But she looks so terrified.”
Those who have worked with Mopsy believe she is a Shih Tzu mix, around 7 or 8 years old, likely spending the past two years surviving on her own.
Mopsy’s story is another reminder of the importance of microchipping pets, Sikorski said. It’s possible she’s someone’s long-lost dog, but it’s been too long to know now.
It’s also important to alert someone — a rescue group, an animal shelter — when you spot a dog somewhere it shouldn’t be, Sikorski said.
Let me add that if you can’t save an animal in distress yourself, it’s worth supporting rescue groups that can.
For now, Mopsy is learning to live among humans, indoors. She likes to sit next to her adoptive mother and watch television, which suggests that when the time comes, probably this fall, she will be a good companion for someone who likes to lead a calm and quiet life.
She’s a survivor. She deserves at least that.
UpFront is a front-page news and opinion column. Contact Joline at 730-2793, [email protected], Facebook or @jolinegkg on Twitter.