Jimmy came to the Farnival with a name, so unfortunately I won’t be picking one from The Sopranos. I call all my nameless foster dogs after Soprano characters to pay tribute to the greatest cast in the universe. If I had a choice I’d name our newest foster dog Vito because he favors male dogs, caring less about Meadow, Sara, or Dessie, but obsessively shadowing Benny, pushing his nose as far up his butt as he can before Big Ben growls in warning.
Until recently, Jimmy had lived near the Kentucky-Tennessee state border. Apparently he’s a hunter that never hunted, so he’s useless to the people that fed and sheltered him for six years. Donna, ICHBA’s founder and administrator, had picked Jimmy up at his former home and said he had lived in a generously sized kennel. But after a few hours around him, it was pretty easy for Mason and I to determine that he probably hadn’t been allowed outside his pen for anything besides tracking game. He’s not socialized at all. Just a middle-aged hunting dog that doesn’t know how to hunt.
Jimmy is a white purebred English setter with small brown polka dots on his body and snout that are shaped and patterned like constellations. His eyes are rimmed in a pale pink, like a white rabbit’s, giving him a feminine appearance, even though he walks with a pigeon-toed waddle that is completely male. Jimmy runs hunkered to the ground, as though afraid or unaware of what running for fun means. He seems to have three similar expressions: fear, surprise, and wariness.
He’s incredibly thin, too thin, with protruding hips and ribs. His former family said his appearance is in his DNA because they had fed him a quart of dog chow a day. Unless he has worms, there’s really no other reason for his sticklike appearance. His shots are up-to-date, his heartworm test was negative, and his energy level negates any chance of Parvo or Giardia.
The saddest part is the way Jimmy bolts around the fence line in anxious laps, clacking his teeth and drooling like a faucet when Mace and I try to get near him. He’s slowly starting to trust us, but anything from a staircase to the vacuum cleaner terrifies him, causing him to crouch in the darkest corner or yelp in distress. After a couple days of hanging with Jimmy, I called Donna and suggested taking down his adoption advertisement from Petfinder and Craigslist, and she agreed when I explained his behavior. We decided Jimmy should stay at the Farnival for a few weeks of doggie boot camp, which includes exercise, structure, and love before we try to rehome him.
I’ll keep you updated about his progress.