It was in early September that I
received the first news of a very young Norfolk puppy which had been surrendered
from a breeding kennel to a place called Flawdogs, run by Sally Ives, in
St. Louis, MO.* He was surrendered because, at 10 weeks, he was unable to
walk because he had been confined to a small, cramped crate.
Sally got him up and going, after a fashion; but his hind legs were locked at the patellas so he walked like Charlie Chaplin. What struck Sally, and everyone else who has met this puppy, was his spirit. He just didn't quit. A photo of him went out on Petfinder; it was picked up by a lot of folks, and my email was flooded with messages. Everyone recognized him as a purebred, and hoped I would find him a home quickly.
Rescue to the Rescue
Pat Canning, a member of the Norfolk
Terrier Club Rescue Committee, made the first move; she bought him from
Sally. Now it was my job to get him from St. Louis. I began calling folks
in that area, but all of them were away for the weekend. In the wonderful
way rescue works when there is a dog in need, however, a plan to get him
materialized as I was talking with Toni Harrold in SC. She has a breeder
friend, Carol Walsh, who lives in Lexington, KY. Carol volunteered to drive
to St. Louis to meet with Sally Ives, and pick up Norton and bring him to
her house. That done, Toni drove to Lexington and brought Norton to her
home, one of the best foster homes I know.
The biggest question at this point was could we do anything about Norton's back legs to reactivate the joints? After x-rays and careful examinations, Toni's vets said that was not possible, so Toni began to raise him as she would any puppy, first letting him out to play with an older bitch, and then putting him out with a couple of normal pups about his age, under careful supervision.
By then, Toni told me that Norton could do pretty much everything a normal puppy could do. He had no idea he was handicapped. He was happy, playful, and social; she could not speak of him without a laugh at the mischief he could get into as he rollicked around her house.
This is Norton playing with a normal puppy. Despite the fact that he can't properly bend his back legs, he can still play bow toward a pretty girl.
Norton Moves to His Forever Home
I know it was difficult for Toni
to give up Norton to a forever home but, undeniably, the perfect home was
found with help from Tina Faircloth who, some years ago, adopted a Norfolk
puppy with one 'frozen' hind leg. Tina lives on the Eastern Shore of MD,
and when I told her about Norton, she suggested that Toni and I consider
placing him with a couple she knows well who often care for her Norfolk
when she has to be away from home.
Tina has recently been competing in Earthdog trials with her dog, Trudy, so both Toni and I liked the fact that she would be near Norton, able to mentor his new owners, and help him develop his full potential as Trudy has by earning a JE title this summer.
Once again, Norton was on the road. This time, Toni drove him north, to MD, where he met Tina's friends, and went home with them to meet his two new Irish Setter siblings. As ever, he was an instant success.
In no time he was walking on the beach, snoozing by the fire, and cuddling on their laps whenever possible.
His purchase and travels have been paid for by NTC and ANTA (a shared effort I hope will be repeated). I am sure his photo will appear in club publications in the future, but not as Norton the Norfolk ... rather as a Norfolk named Riley, living the life of ...
*For an introduction to puppy mills,
Flawdogs, and Sally Ives, look at
ANTIC, March, 2010
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