|We were first alerted about Norton on December 3rd by our California contact and friend, Trace. Robin from Westside GSD Rescue had just seen him at the shelter and took the above photo with her cell phone. According to Robin, "...he's big and was licking my hand through the cage." |
In order to ensure that Norton would be safe through the weekend, Tiffany from Coastal GSD Rescue gave the shelter a commitment on Norton, but was very worried about Norton still being alive when the shelter opened on Tuesday. And so we waited out the weekend.
Much to our delight, when the San Bernardino shelter opened on Tuesday morning, Norton was still there. If we could take him, arrangements could be made to get him to boarding in Rialto until we could arrange for transport...and so we said yes. What's one more?
UPDATE 12/8: Norton was transported to boarding in Rialto today; he is safe. We will arrange for transport some time after Christmas and are hopeful that a foster home can be found for him.
Cindy will be going to Rialto on Saturday to meet Norton and take some photos of him for his web page.
UPDATE 12/10: Cindy went to Crossroads this afternoon to meet Norton. Even though he wasn't feeling well (kennel cough), he humored Cindy and posed for some "holiday" pictures.
UPDATE 12/21: One of our California friends, Trace, went by Crossroads and met Norton this week. "The San Bernardino male you got (at Crossroads) is MAGNIFiCENT. Big, beautiful and sweet." We are SO looking forward to meeting Norton.
UPDATE 12/24 3pm: Christmas Eve was not a happy day for our Norton. While awaiting transport to our rescue (which had just been scheduled for December 27th), Norton suffered a suspected intestinal obstruction and was rushed to the vet for examination and possible xrays. Please check back for an update.
UPDATE 12/24 5pm: After examination and xrays, the vet recommended surgery. Poor Norton. How could we say no? We can only take comfort in the fact that he is in capable hands with Cathleen of Crossroads (who immediately noticed Norton's discomfort and got him to the vet). We are awaiting a post-surgical update. In the meantime, Norton's vet bills are mounting -- can you imagine emergency vet services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?
UPDATE 12/25: Norton's surgery was performed around 4am this morning. The vet waited to see if Norton was going to pass whatever it was that was stuck (part of a beach towel*), but no luck. We are awaiting a post-surgical update. It goes without saying that Norton's transport to Arizona has been postponed.
*Note: Cathleen is at a loss to explain why, after 2 weeks of having a towel in his crate, Norton chose to shred the towel and ingest parts of it. Best guess is that Norton wasn't feeling well, and was stressed. Since he was kenneled and didn't have access to the outdoors and/or grass to eat and make himself feel better, he chose to shred and ingest parts of the beach towel that was being used as bedding in his crate.
UPDATE 12/26: Norton was released from the hospital this morning and is in the capable, loving hands of Cathleen. He is on a bland diet for this week, to make sure that everything is functioning properly post surgery. The good news is that Norton will make a full recovery. The bad news is that his vet/hospital/surgical bill was slightly under $3,000.00! (This of course does not cover medication and special diet for the next couple of weeks.)Norton really needs your help. Even the smallest donation (when combined with those of other Norton supporters) can make a difference!
UPDATE 12/30: Norton continues to improve. He is still on an expensive prescription diet, 4 times a day, but things seem to be moving along nicely and we're hoping the vet will release Norton to a regular diet this coming week. As you can see from the thermometer, we're still far short of our goal of paying for Norton's surgery. People are being kind and waiting for payment, but with this kind of a bill, they're not going to be kind forever. Please help and give what you can. It all adds up. If everyone who visits Norton's page and reads his story gave even a small donation, we could have Norton's vet bill covered in no time. We should have post-surgery photos of Norton soon.
According to Cathleen at Crossroads: "Norton is a GREAT dog. He will make someone the PERFECT companion and family member. Take a look at this SWEET BEAUTIFUL boy , he has been through a lot and needs a LOVING home. He could so use some donations for his surgery if you can find it in your heart and pocket."
UPDATE 12/31: Cindy went to see Norton today and check on his progress. Norton was very happy to see her and delighted to show off his nicely healing scar:
UPDATE 1/2 FROM CATHLEEN @ CROSSROADS : "Our boy is doing well. SPOILED ROTTEN!!! He will probably have to stay on Metro(nidazole) for a while to make sure his stools are good. ...I will take his staples out Friday or Saturday, then he can get a bath and should be good to go whenever you are ready. I JUST LOVE THIS DOG. I just started him on regular food ...have been cooking Minute rice and mixing that in. I would keep him a little quiet, but he hasn't been a real active guy anyway. That's why I said he would make a GREAT therapy dog. He's very obedient and loves to be loved on."
UPDATE 1/7: Norton had his surgical staples removed today and everything looks perfect! He has healed beautifully. He's now back on twice a day feedings and regular food and should be ready for transport to Phoenix in no time.
We are now beginning our search for a foster home in Phoenix for Norton. He will need limited activity for a short period of time, but he's such a low key kinda guy that we don't anticipate any problems in that area. He's a sweet, affectionate boy who just wants a human to love. Once we have a foster home lined up, we'll be able to bring Norton to Phoenix in seach of his forever home...could that home be yours?
UPDATE 1/10: Since a foster home has not appeared for Norton, we decided to let him convalesce in California with his number one fan, Cathleen, until he is 100% fit and ready to travel.
UPDATE 1/17: Norton made the trip to Phoenix today!!
We're going to let Norton settle in and get comfortable. He seems none the worse for wear after his Christmas ordeal, but he still faces a visit to the vet and neuter surgery in the near future.
If you are interested in fostering Norton, please read about OUR FOSTER PROGRAM and submit a Foster Application (found on the Foster Program page).
UPDATE 1/20: Two of our favorite transporters, Amanda and Emily, have been talking about fostering a dog for us for some time. Their obstacles? Three cats and a "queen bee" German shepherd by the name of Wednesday. First task was to get some one-on-one training for Wednesday, which was accomplished over the Christmas holiday by Leah of Dog House Training Academy. Amanda and Em could see a definite improvement in Wednesday, so it was just a matter of waiting for the right boy to come along.
Enter Norton...could he be the foster that Em, Amanda and Wednesday have been waiting for? We were willing to give it a try.
We initially met at a park nearby. Wednesday was initially cautious, but the more the 2 walked together, the better it got, until they were standing side by side, and Wednesday sneaked a little kiss.
At the house, the 2 dogs walked in together and Norton faced his next major hurdle -- the cats.
UPDATE 1/21: "Last night I witnessed a miracle...Wednesday playing. I turned the two of them loose in the back yard after you left and at first Norton just explored while Wednesday did her normal patrol, and then they buddied up again and honestly for a minute or two I really wasn't sure what I was seeing. Seriously, Wednesday has lived with us for just over two years and we've taken her to dog parks, to beaches, to all sorts of places to meet and mix with other dogs and not once has she engaged in any sort of play. I was pretty sure she didn't know how. When other dogs tried, she would turn her shoulder to them. I was even treated to a repeat performance this morning in the light of day, so I know it wasn't a hallucination.
It took him a while to settle down to sleep last night, but he had a busy day and this is a new place so that didn't surprise me. The stairs are still a challenge, but we're working on it.
And Wednesday clearly wondered what his problem this morning was. She sleeps in her open crate in my room and the routine goes: Mommy gets up, makes the bed, Wednesday leaves her crate for better real-estate (the bed) and watches me get ready for the day from there. Then I pick up the food bowl, Wednesday demonstrates how excited she is by this and then she has to sit and wait while I open the door and give her permission to charge out into the rest of the house. Well let me tell you how unimpressed she was that Norton wouldn't settle anywhere, and didn't seem to understand that the more he bothered me the longer she had to wait and that he not only wouldn't sit and wait at the door but wouldn't get out of her way so she could sit and wait.
Norton cares not at all for playing ball. I had Wednesday chasing hers all over this morning and Norton just stayed with me. He jumped up on me a few times during playtime this morning, but took it well when I shoved him off so I think that's an easy fix.
Wherever he was before he turned up at the shelter, he was very definitely an indoor dog. Not only does he know how to handle cats but he has incredibly tender feet. As you know we have those unfortunate burrs in our backyard. Of course no one wants to step on one but when Wednesday gets one she either shakes it free or walks to the porch and asks me to pull it out for her and then goes about her business. As she has horrid hip dysplasia and arthritis, I wouldn't say she's what one would call a rugged dog. She has walks on sidewalks and is coddled like a princess inside. She's looking like Chuck Norris next to Norton. He steps on a burr and he cries and hops around on three feet even if it doesn't even stick to him. I don't know how his last family could bare to let him go."
FOSTER UPDATE 1/22: "Good morning. So this morning Em and I went through 'The normal morning routine,' which ended in Wednesday closed in my room with her breakfast and Norton in his crate and then we left the house. We figured we'd give things a short test run, buy some groceries and come home.
Well, we got a surprise when we came through the door. Wednesday was waiting to greet us as usual... and so was Norton! We are officially renaming him Andy. I mean before it was just that we had seen that first photo of him behind bars but now he's escaped 'prison.' (Think Shawshank Redemption)
Anyway, everything in the house is fine, except Schu's (the cat) temper, the crate is still standing but the bottom latch was undone. It's possible I forgot to latch it, but it's also very possible that since Norton and the crate were in Wednesday's room, she set herself to the task of helping him out. She's escaped those crates from the inside before, so solving it from the outside wouldn't be hard for her. Also she looked *really* proud when I was inspecting the crate. It was her 'I solved the puzzle, right Mom?!' face.
Given how things seem to be going, we're going to try another short trip out later and leave him loose in the house after we go through and 'baby proof' it some.
Oh, and he has mastered the staircase. No photos yet. The camera is misbehaving but we're working on it."
UPDATE 1/25: It's been an easy few days for Norton with his two moms only working half days to try and give him time to adjust to them being gone, but it's proven to be too much for Norton. The girls have a full 10 hour day ahead of them tomorrow, and we cannot imagine trying to leave Norton alone in an unfamiliar household (with 3 cats he's afraid of) for that much time, and so he is being returned to our staff member this evening. We will be scheduling his neuter surgery next week and looking for a foster or forever home for him.
UPDATE 2/17: Norton had his neuter surgery today and came through like a real trooper. He was friendly and sweet to everyone at the vet's office and any one of them would gladly have taken him home!
UPDATE 2/22: Norton continues to do well after his surgery. He's a clown at heart and it's anyone's guess whether the e-collar will last out the full 10-14 days until his sutures are removed. Norton's idea of living with an e-collar is to push it through any doorway or opening until it gives way to his bulk. Most of his foster family's shins are quite bruised...
UPDATE 2/23: Norton won...the e-collar came off today.
UPDATE 3/16: Norton was placed with foster mom Sue this afternoon. We already have received an update: "Doesn't he eat quickly, didn't even touch the sides going down! At least he is a good eater.
"He is fine, I opened the cat room door and bedroom doors and he has been having a good look round on his own. He went to see the cats and has not shown any fear of them, then again they are behind bars! He goes look and then comes out. He came in when I fed them, think he liked the smell of cat food!
"He has gone outside and in again. He only surprised himself once when he tried to walk out with the screen door closed. I laughed, he jumped back startled. He has had a good chew on the big bone. I also had a large dog bed, one that stands off the ground, white plastic tube and blue stretchy thing to lay on. He loves it and has gone on and off it, ate his bone on it and gone to sleep. He has stayed outside on his own laying on the grass but not for long. He follows me quite a lot of the time, even to the bathroom so I have made sure I have reassured him all the time. I have put him in his crate and gone in different rooms, out to the garage, opened and closed the garage door for varying amounts of time, no more than 10 minutes and then come in and let him out. He does not seem to mind but it has not been for long. Will stretch out the time a bit more tomorrow. I went out to water my pot plants but he came in and laid in the doorway looking out, I don't think he liked the hose but he will get used to it. Just taking it very gently and quietly. Have TV on and at the moment he is fast asleep by the patio door with the door open. I brushed him with a very gentle brush and he seemed to like it. I let him smell the brush first and went gently and not for long but he came back for more. He is a lovely dog and I am so pleased he is here."
FOSTER UPDATE 3/25: "He is fine, absolutely wonderful. He does not eat his food so quickly anymore. He takes his time and eats like a normal dog! Sorry for not writing before, I have been busy at work and had a dreadful headache for the past few days. I know it is the weather so it will pass soon.
"He still comes for lots of love and pats and we have been playing outside a lot. He still does not know what to do with the ball but we will get there. He is a lot calmer and sleeps where he wants to sleep rather than right by me although he still follows me everywhere. I have taught him "down" which he got in not time using a very small piece of cheese which he loves. He loves the cats, he will go visit them and when I let them out they can go right up to him and he just sniffs them and a couple of times he tried to lick one of them. They are oldish and move slowly which I think has enabled him to get to know them without getting startled. They are all used to dogs so they do not see him as a problem or something to run away from. One of them slept alongside him on his bed the other day. I think he likes them and does not see them as a threat just part of the family.
"I'll keep you up to date with how things are going but up to now no problems at all."
FOSTER UPDATE 3/27: "Norton is doing so well. I'm trying to teach him to play, we are not making much headway, it is me who runs after the ball and he follows me, then I throw the ball again and have to run after it with him running behind. Good exercise for me but I so want him to have fun as well. He is so pleased when I come home and is good when I am at work. The sofa seems to be a favorite place. No crate at all so if you need it back let me know and I will bring it back for you. He is still eating more slowly and is so much calmer now. He is such a lovely boy and I think both of us are so happy to have each other."
UPDATE 4/1: Norton and foster mom Sue came out to Boot Camp this afternoon. Doesn't he look beautiful (and happy)?
FOSTER UPDATE 4/11: "Norton is doing brilliantly. He is such a good dog and is learning fast. I know what makes him tick – in the main food – what a surprise. We play together a lot although I am still running for the ball and throwing it again. He gets to the ball first but still does not know to pick it up. He plays tug with the rope and we run a lot round the garden just having fun. He is a very happy dog and I am so pleased to watch him grow in confidence."
We're slightly more than two-thirds of the way there in meeting Norton's holiday medical bills (not including his neuter surgery) and his extra board bill, so if you're interested in helping this boy, whose long road to a forever home still stretches before him, please see the donation information below. Norton would sure appreciate it.
FOSTER UPDATE 4/24: "Norton is doing beautifully and is such a good dog. He is happy and in a good routine and he loves the cats. He plays with them now which is wonderful."
Adoption fee: NOT CURRENTLY AVAILABLE FOR ADOPTION