Just so we’re clear, I pretty much still hate you.

But I thought you might like to know how your boy is doing.

Let’s start with the eyes. Incredibly goopy, chronic dry eye, probably going to go blind some day. But it turns out that one dose a day of cyclosporine does a great job of keeping them clear. I’ve done the math and it costs me about twenty-five cents a day–and you know, I can live with that.

Now the joints. That limp? Or maybe I should say those limps? The poor guy has three legs with patellar luxation. Frankly, that just sucks for him. I’m thinking you bought him from a puppy mill and that whoever puts that puppy mill out of business is doing God’s work because no dog should have to live with knees that dislocate so easily. That said, on the days when he doesn’t want to walk, he doesn’t. The rest of the time, he comes out with us and walks a mile or more and is perfectly happy to smell all the smells and bark at the other dogs. It’s sort of obvious that you never walked him–he didn’t have the leash concept down at all–but he trots along next to me now like a trooper most days. I’m fairly sure he likes it, based on how excited he gets when he sees his leash come out.

Then the allergies. Oh, my gosh. You know, I’m totally sympathetic to you on this one. The poor dog is allergic to everything. He has an intimate familiarity with the cone of shame–I’m quite sure you put it on him more than once and it did no good, he still scratched himself bloody. The good news is that a healthy diet of only good, limited-ingredient dog food, with salmon for treats and a little additional omega-oils on his kibble, has done wonders. His skin is much healthier, not so many dry flakes, and most of his fur has grown back in. He can’t eat anything with flour without paying for it for weeks, and I’m pretty sure chicken is also on his no-no list, but as long as he gets only dog food and salmon, he’s pretty comfortable.

I say pretty comfortable–the reality is, though, he still chews on himself. What, did you never give him toys? I’ve figured out that he chews himself like the other dogs chew on treats, stuffed animals, rawhide, bones… when he’s bored, when he’s lonely, instead of looking for a toy, he chews his tail or his paw. I suspect you crated him for eight hours a day. Maybe more. Maybe when you figured out that you couldn’t keep him healthy, you spent more and more time with him locked in a box because you felt guilty and couldn’t bring yourself to deal with the guilt. At any rate, we’re working on that. I can’t say that I’ve figured it out yet, but given that he no longer spends his time hiding, I think I’ll get there.

Oh, right, about the hiding: when he first showed up here, his default position was to find a place to disappear. My closet, underneath furniture, in dark corners. He made himself invisible on a regular basis. I kept thinking he was gone as completely as he’d arrived. Now? Not so much. At any given moment, he’s most likely in physical contact with me. Usually snoring, I admit. Often upside-down, belly exposed. Frequently tucked into my elbow while I try to type above him.

I hope that image is clear enough that you get the most important part of this picture: your dog is being well taken care of. You suck. Really, truly, no matter what, you ought to feel like crap that you left your dog, your sweet, lovable, goofy dog, out on the street, trusting to luck and hope that he would find a home.

But… that said… he did find a home.

I can’t understand why you did what you did. I don’t know where you were coming from. But I do know that he is so sweet that no matter how neglectful you were, no matter how overwhelmed, no matter how out of your depth, you did love him. He is a dog that has been loved. And I feel so sorry for you that you gave that up. So sorry that for whatever reason you couldn’t manage to accept the responsibility that love brings with it. Mostly, though, I’m sorry for your loss. You made a horrible decision. I don’t know how you can live with yourself.

But you got lucky. Or maybe I got lucky. Because he isn’t your dog any more. He’s my dog. And I want you to know that I love him, that I am taking care of him, that he gets eye-drops every morning and omega oil every evening, and that he is loved, loved, loved.