Y'all might remember, we had a stray show up in our yard 2 weeks after our beloved English Bully passed away. After a weekend of seeing no missing dog fliers, we took him to our vet. He had heartworms, whipworms and hookworms, along with nails that were so long only the major footpad touched the ground, none of the toepads, a really badly bleeding open sore on his tail that sprayed/slung blood everywhere when he wagged his tail and he was completely emaciated for his dog type (pit bull/rottweiler mix) weighing in at 40 lbs.
After we took him to the vet, we did a lot of soul searching. Did we want to take on this dog, knowing his medical issues. In reasoning it out, this dog has the temperament of a Golden Retriever (would rather be loved on than eat) and quite honestly came to the conclusion that maybe the reason he had come into our lives 2 weeks to the day that we'd lost our baby Tinky (short for Tinkerbell - I know, weird name for an English Bulldog!) was that she'd had cancer and was beginning to suffer and God decided that instead of making her suffer, he would provide us with someone else who really needed love and a chance for a good home. So, with that in our minds/hearts, we made the decision to make the commitment and keep Rocky for our own.
The next day, while my DD was walking him, one of the neighborhood kids came up to her and told her that was so and so's dog from 2 streets over. She called and told us about it, filling us in on how the kid said they never paid the dog any attention and that he'd been kept in a 4 x 6 foot kennel for the past three years, no matter what the weather was like. Given that information and his other health problems (our vet said that without treatment, he was about a week away from death from the worms), we decided there was no way in Hades they were getting that dog back to continue to mistreat him. I called Animal Control and he told me to take him to the pound and put down the adoption fee right when we turned him in. That way, the only people who could come and get him would be the owners, and since he had no current shots, heartworms, whipworms, hookworms, no license, had been running loose and many other various and sundry fines, they would be unlikely to even try to get him. He was correct and we adopted our baby boy from the pound. They also neutered him, offered us heartworm treatment at cost and microchipped him to us. He is wholly and legally ours.
Which leads me to our current situation. Rocky is not trustworthy off-leash. He LOVES nothing more than to run. So, for potty times, we take him out and leash walk him in our yard. I was walking Precious (yet another of our adoptions
) and DH was walking Rocky. I heard a group of about 4 boys walking across the street and staring in amazement, saying, Hey, that's Rocky! After listening to them for a few minutes, I confirmed that yes, that was Rocky. One of the kids said, that's HIS dog! I calmly answered them, no, he is our dog, we adopted him from the pound. The boy who used to have him asked how we could have adopted his dog and I told him that we'd legally adopted him from the pound and got him medical attention for his heartworms, whipworms and hookworms. I told him that the vet had said he was about a week away from dying when we brought him in and got him started on treatment. He then remarked on how big he was. I told him yes, when we found him he was only 40 pounds. He's now the ideal weight for his bone size and weighs about 65 pounds now. He then asked if he could come and pet him. I told him he was welcome to come and see him anytime he wanted, as long as either me or my husband was home.
My etiquette question - how do I handle it when his parents (and I'm sure he's going to tell them all about this rendezvous) come over and question us. What I totally want to say is neither etiquette approved nor is it in any realm acceptable - because I'll be honest, I'm still mad that anyone would treat an animal that way. I also don't want to start a feud with my neighbor (or any more of a feud than there has to be). I need some politically and etiquettely (is that even a word?) answers that will hopefully prevent or diffuse a possibly tense situation. Particularly when I know what we've spent on getting him back to a healthy state (let's just say it is well beyond hundreds and into thousands) and there is now way I am giving him up to those people who mistreated him so badly and didn't bother even looking at the pound when he had "run away" like the boy said. Had they bothered to look, they would have seen him because they had him there for over a week with all of the medical treatments they were giving him on top of what we'd sent in from our vet.