According to Raven’s second set of surrender forms he is a 14 year old Lab mix. According to Raven, he is a seven month old Chihuahua puppy!!! On the outside he is covered with an alarming number of unsightly fatty deposits and tumors in various sizes all over his torso and legs, has a decidedly graying muzzle, unusually long legs with pronounced muscle wasting, cataracts in both eyes and is hard of hearing even when his treat bags are being loudly crumpled right next to his ears. He is a very tall 75 pound dog. On the inside, he has the spirit of a toy breed lap dog puppy and the same body sense. He seems to have no idea where his lanky legs are going and consequently seems amazed to find them stuck in cat water bowls, laptop cords, watering cans, and between the bed and its foot board. He clears tables and bookshelves with a very gentle swipe of his tail. (Raven’s new foster mother trusts the insight of young children and kids in several neighborhoods all tell her he looks like Marmaduke, a Great Dane). Ancestry is important to Raven so he has been dubbed a Lab/Dane cross.

The admiration of strangers is also important to Raven. He is so lumpy and one ear is gnarly and those legs look dangerously ready to give out so he used to be approached by people feeling sorry for him or concerned he is suffering or contagious or both. Instead of offering compliments and pats they recoiled so Raven currently sports a bright purple harness complete with a big violet tulle bow and shiny purple heart name tag. Now admirers ask to pet him and say what a pretty boy he is. It’s amazing what a wardrobe change will do!

Raven was found alive in the company of his longtime human companion who had passed away. Raven hadn’t eaten in a very long time. A well meaning friend of the family offered to take him in when they heard he was in a shelter but he had been starving and was abandoned and the new family did not have the skills to help him through that so he was surrendered again when he acted out in a not to be unexpected way. Big, old, black, male, dogs have the hardest time being adopted and Raven was no exception. He remained in the shelter for a long time waiting for his forever home with a human companion who understood Raven’s special needs. His new foster mother was still grieving for her lost lab. They could grieve and move on together and be patient with each other’s baggage. She is sure they each consider the other the luckier one.

Raven has IBD, Cushings, all the signs of Larengeal Paralysis, and failing hips. When he was first adopted he was incontinent and had diarrhea from Giardia so badly he was hospitalized. Now he runs after ALL the balls in the dog park-not just the ones that are thrown for him, takes up most of the human bed which was necessarily denied him when he was so sick, and is on a constant search for a tasty tidbit even in the pockets of passersby and under the rug. To help with the hunt he has learned to open doors with his nose.

Raven is sure all the stuffed animals in the world belong to him and divides them into two groups. There are the ones for being carried around and the ones scheduled for a quick unstuffing. He has a constant pipeline to thrift stores stuffies because his foster mother can tell Raven is so glad to be alive she cannot deny him anything. She calls him Baby. When he is able to hear his new name, he wags his tail and clears another bookshelf.

Update:  Finally dear Raven’s medical issues could not be overcome and it was time for his foster mom to say goodbye.  He struggled so hard to with so many challenges and had the full support of his loving mom and ODH.  Now he is at peace and will always be remembered as a brave, loving boy.