A Rude Dog In The Country

October 28, 2015  •  Leave a Comment
I have been anxiously awaiting sharing this Tattoos & Rescues story with you since it was shot in late September.  I recently got the chance to meet and photograph a true city dog, a dog named Rudie (aka Rude).  I first learned of Rude through his own Facebook page named Rude Dog's Trashcapades and was instantly intrigued by this Sheep Dog.   Rudie, his mom Heather, his beagle mix buddy Munch and his mom Megan were Traveling to the Nashville area on their way to a camping adventure in the Smokey Mountains from the humongous city of Chicago, Illinois.  While passing through Nashville, we thought it would be a good idea to stop at Gravel Road Traditions in Mount Juliet, TN for some cool photos.  Being from the city there probably aren't too many cows and old Chevy trucks to be found so this would be a good chance to grab some shots of Rudie in the country.  Of course this would not be a Tattoos & Rescues story without letting everyone know where Rude's journey began so let's dive right in!  This is Rudie's story, A Rude Dog In The Country (Tattoos & Rescues Style).
   
Supplemental photos courtesy of Heather & Rudie's Facebook Page.
In late October 2009 this fluffy Sheep Dog who now goes by the name Rudie was dropped off at Chicago Municipal Animal Control with his Pit Bull sister.  Unfortunately, Rudie's sister died in the kennel next to him, supposedly of the canine parvovirus.  Parvo is an extremely serious health issue in dogs and will make them sick much like a stomach flu.  Parvo is also fatal to puppies and adults if not diagnosed and treated very quickly.  The concern about parvo in shelters is that it is very contagious and precautions are not always in time to prevent spread of the disease.
It should be no surprise that Rudie had no interest in anyone and even growled, however he would then be aloof with the shelter staff.  After being given up, Rudie was now in a shelter where his sister died soon after arriving but also not knowing anyone and no routine.  Trust was something Rudie didn't have and for good reason.  Luckily the shelter staff saw something in him that he would be a great companion for a family but he needed to rest and recuperate with a rescue and be evaluated before that could happen.  The shelter staff set out to find Rudie a rescue that was willing to take him in, and this is where the story gets interesting.
Enter Heather Owen, the Executive Director for the Chicago based rescue One Tail at a Time.  At the time after speaking with the shelter staff about Rudie she initally thought he would be a bad fit for OTAT's help.  Owen of course did not want to give up on this dog so she found an alternate rescue that would take Rudie and help him with his recovery and learn to trust again.  Owen was only supposed to be his driver to his new foster home for Midwest Old English Sheepdog Rescue.  As is most cases with rescue we don't pick our companions, they pick us.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.
Owen recalls "I'll never forget seeing him for the first time as he came around the corner at the shelter.  His big blue eyes, dopey strut and hairless tail were an instant attention grabber for me.  I can't say the feeling was mutual though.  Rudie was an absolute mess and he wanted ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with me.  It was absolutely love at first sight, albeit one sided."  After their initial meeting, Owen accomplished her task and delivered Rudie to his new foster home.  Of course that's not where this story ended, of course.  Owen said "I checked on him daily for about two months until all parties finally agreed that Rudie was indeed my dog.  I never doubted for a second, I just needed Rudie to catch up to me."
Their time together certainly wasn't without challenges though.  Owen says "For the first few months Rudie wanted nothing to do with me.  He was very dejected mentally and still in rough shape physically."  Of course dogs coming from Rudie's situation may take a while for their true personality to come out but his just wasn't coming through.  There was definitely something else affecting his moods and Heather sought the answers diligently.  "After a few visits to the veterinarian we determined that Rudie had hypothyroidism, which was somewhat of a relief to know that his personality may have been hidden behind this illness this whole time" Owen recalls.
Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland in the neck doesn't produce enough of the hormone thyroxine.  This hormone regulates the process of turning food into fuel.  This disease is very common in dogs and affects all breeds.  Hypothyroidism is most common in Golden Retrievers, Doberman Pinchers, Irish Setters, Dachshunds, Boxers, and Cocker Spaniels.  It usually happens in middle-aged dogs (ages 4 to 10) of medium to large breeds.  Neutered males and spayed females also have a higher risk, but vets are unsure why.  The good news is this disease isn’t life-threatening.  Plus, it’s fairly easy and inexpensive to treat.  The drug is a man made hormone called levothyroxine or L-thyroxine.  Doses are specific to each dog but all must be administered daily for the remainder of the dogs life.  Left untreated, the disease will affect your dog’s quality of life.
After receiving treatment medications Rudie's personality slowly came back and he was acting more like a normal dog.  You should also be aware that there is an old saying "Beware what you wish for."  In Rudie's case the trade off is totally acceptable as long as he is happy and healthy but with his true personality also came a mischievous side.  Owen recalls "We've been through everything from opened fridges to tipped stoves to more trashcapades than I can count.  He's a handful that's for sure."  As you probably noticed at the beginning of this blog Rudie's Facebook page is aptly called Rude Dog's Trashcapades which his mom thought was more than fitting for this funny troublemaker.  Among his interests are "eating trash, doing stretchies when I get my belly rubbed, barking at the neighbors, causing trouble and staring at my mom when she eats."
"Throughout our time together Rudie and I have bonded and I'm happy to say that we are now inseparable.  He is absolutely the strangest dog I've ever met and shows affection in the funniest ways, but I wouldn't have it any other way. He's my best friend, protector, and big fluffy pillow."
Upon meeting Heather and Rudie for their Tattoos & Rescues photo shoot I found him to be a very goofy dude with a slight streak of cat like attitude in his demeanor which for a Sheep Dog isn't that uncommon.  Rudie is obviously completely enamored of his mom, however he does enjoy the company of other dogs as well.  His buddy Munch drove down from Chicago to Gatlinburg, TN to go on a week long camping trip and why not grab a few shots of them hanging out between shots at Gravel Road Traditions.  Of course not to be outdone Munch had to have his photo taken with his mom Megan as well.  Can't you tell how happy he is?
I have never been to Chicago but I have seen Rudie's yard and it is nowhere near the size of the fields he is running around in our shoot so I'm sure he was happy to be on a week long camping adventure as well.  In fact, if you want to see just how many adventures Rudie has, head over to his Facebook page and give him a like.  He is very active for his fans and there's always something he does that will make you laugh.  There is even a doggie treat truck called 6 Mutts Chicago that delivers ice cream and doggie tacos.  I mean, what's not to love about that?  I LOVE TACOS so Rudie you and I have something in common.  Two dudes who love tacos.  Awesome!
Heather and Rudie also support other animal advocacy groups and projects like the FIGHT ME MIKE VICK campaign founded by my bro Gordon Shell.
Even though the weather was not that great during our shoot I'm glad we got to hang out and that I can now share Rudie's story with you.  Love you buddy and I hope to see you soon!  Congratulations to Heather, Rudie, Munch & Megan on finding their forever happiness!

 


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