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Sasha's Mom

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  1. Sasha destroyed a coffee table and an area rug in 1 day as a terrible teen. I also replaced most of my bras, as she loved to dig them out of the laundry and chew up the plastic rings holding the shoulder straps on. It took me awhile to learn. Ah. Those were the days. Thank doG they're over! It also only takes about a mile and a half to tucker her out these days. Zoe, not so much. Ha!
  2. The vet behaviorist visit was fascinating indeed. It was a 2 hour long session, and I really liked her. I brought both dogs so we could watch them interact, and she basically confirmed my suspicions, and agreed that the upheaval has really been hard on Zoe, who feels like she should be the captain of the ship, but isn't sure enough of herself to do it well. That, and she has basically no impulse control. We got a lot of things to work on, mostly involving calming signals and reassurrance, and she put Zoe on Prozac, and a couple of herbal supplements for anxiety and impulsive behavior. Anyone familiar with treiball? It's something else she thought might be something to explore. What was almost more fascinating, was watching Sasha react to Zoe and try to calm her down. It's been awhile since I read the calming signals book, but am rereading it, as well as The Other End of the Leash. Sasha does seem to defer now, and she suggested that Sasha was probably just fed up with Zoe's anxiety. (Which has really magnified as Nik got sick, now that I reflect on it.) It's going to be an interesting road. We have a followup email scheduled for 2 weeks. The milk protein calming supplement Lactium should be here in a couple days, and I'm going to try to keep her tired. So far, gradually better. But it's going to be awhile before we're back to normal. Whatever the new normal is...
  3. Thanks guys. We just came in from a tiring game of fetch, so Zoe is calmly relaxing in her corner in the bathroom. Sasha acts like nothing is wrong. We are all calm and back to baseline this morning, but I'm going to be watching them like a hawk. Structure is probably right on target, so any more advice in that regard (especially in that it's just me, and my work schedule is like throwing darts at a calendar) would be great. Thanks.
  4. Hi guys, As most of you know, I had to put my old GSD down earlier this month. His CCD was causing significant stress in the house, but now that he's gone, I may have an even bigger problem on my hands. Hence another long post. Sorry. Here's the short version: Zoe is 6. Sasha is 10. And Zoe has attacked Sasha twice this week. Sasha never seemed to be interested in pack hierarchy while Nik was around, but she certainly didn't take the other days' assault lying down. Basically, my cleaning ladies rang the doorbell, both dogs ran over, and in an instant, Zoe was on top of Sasha. We managed to get them apart after a few minutes, but not after a few puncture wounds each. I was shocked as I hadn't seen them fight in nearly a year. (And there was a foster that provoked that fight. Foster gone, no more fighting.) I gradually and carefully reintroduced, and they seemed fine. Fast forward to today. We went for a short run (just 1.5 miles, which isn't far for them), and coming back in, Zoe goes for the water first. Sasha usually waits until she's done - they've had this routine over several thousand running miles. Today, I missed the provocation hanging up the leashes, but they were back fighting, Zoe on top, Sasha fighting back nose to nose. It took a fire extinguisher to break them apart. After quick rinses (and keeping them apart), Zoe has been intermittently crated and Sasha has been isolated in the bedroom. I called my vet and got a referral to one of the two vet behaviorists in the state. (I can't believe there are only 2 in this whole huge state, but whatever.) After a lengthy talk, I got an appointment for next week, as I feel like the whole situation is deteriorating. I really don't feel like I missed a warning look or growl or stink-eye... just BAM they were on top of each other, and neither looks like she's going to defer. We've had rare fights in the past, but never 2 big ones in this short a time. Also, the one day I took Zoe over to introduce her to boyfriend's standard poodle about 2 months ago, Zoe grabbed her snout and shook it in a very scary episode of what I presume was resource guarding of me, as I went to pet his dog after they'd played together and spent an hour or two hanging out together. Needless to say, we haven't tried to reintroduce, but that weighs on me too.) I know that the upheaval in our lives is a huge part of this. (We moved 6 months ago, I took a promotion and have been working a ton, and I'm seriously seeing someone now, not to mention Nik's passing.) I spent several hours filling out the behaviorist's paperwork and feel so guilty... I've kept the girls apart tonight (either crated or in the bedroom), but am not quite sure how I'm going to make it through a week like this. Sasha is actively looking for Zoe, and Zoe just looks absolutely lost. I'm trying to spend time with them individually at this point, which just feels so weird, and I know that they can feel my stress about this. I am mostly just shocked at this - Zoe gracefully coordinated the fostering of dozens of foster dogs over the last 6 years - in fact, she was referred to as my "cruise director" - play bowing and initiating play with the fosters, and she singlepawedly pulled two very unsocialised brother fosters out of their shells allowing them to be adopted. This is just such a radical change... (and yes, she's had bloodwork recently, after her TBD spell.) When she's just with me, she's just a doll. But then without much warning, BAM. Any advise would be gratefully appreciated. We see the behaviorist on the 1st. Danielle, Zoe, Sasha, and 2 cats who can't figure out what the hell is going on.
  5. So... I have been agonizing about this as you know, and a couple of thing have turned the tide, and I think I've made the right decision. Nik crossed the bridge this afternoon in my arms. We'd gone for one last short walk, and at one point, his legs went out from underneath him. And I knew. Thank you for your support. I've been bawling my eyes out all day, but I think it was time. D
  6. Perhaps not. Writing it out has helped, I think. We just got back from a walk. Nik tuckered out around .2 miles and it was a very slow amble the rest of the block. And he's lying in the shade in the backyard now. Perhaps it is coming sooner than I'd thought. And perhaps that's ok.
  7. I really appreciate all the kind words, all. I never really foresaw this, although thinking back, my own family dog was PTS at age 18 for really severe symptoms (I was away at college). I think what really made me start asking was that yesterday was the first time in awhile I've spent a really good chunk of time at home with them and it was the first time I'd realized that he really does look for me and assume I'm behind a closed door. Reminding him that I'm not really didn't help. He destroyed the door to the guest room last year (I think it was during a thunderstorm while I was at work). I asked my petsitter what she thought as she sees them intermittently, and she gently commented that she felt like the lights were on, but no one was home. The selegeline costs me about $250 a month, and that was comparing 3 pharmacies (I don't have a local pet pharmacy) - the highest priced was over $500. He's about 60 lbs, so it's a big dose, and the vet loaded him the first week, so I really think I'd be seeing results at this point if it was going to work. I thought it might be a little bit at first, but it might have been wishful thinking. OR he did get a little better, was more active, and then I did noticed that his hips seemed stiffer than I remembered. Since I'm out today, I think I'll see if I notice any changes without it. As I ponder all these things, I really do feel like things are gradually peaking, and I will have to make the call in the next few weeks. I really think that if it was just him, this wouldn't be nearly the issue that it is becoming. Thanks again, Danielle
  8. Ah, title should be Canine Cognitive Dysfunction... maybe I'm more sleep deprived than I think I am.
  9. Hi all, I need to bounce this off some fellow dog people (and maybe find a shoulder to cry on...), and this might be a little long. Sometimes it helps to just put it all out there, so here goes. So my big old guy Nikolai, who is a Shepard mix and has been with me over 11 years, and was 3-5 when I adopted him, has CCD. We tried some herbals, which helped for several months, and he's now been on Selegeline/Anipryl for about 6 weeks and using a DAP collar. The vet tried some B-12 and acupunture as well, now that I think of it. Anyway, he's been trending down for over a year. He has become pretty much deaf in that year, and his vision is going as well. The arthritis in his hips is also becoming more pronounced, but the vet recognizes that his body isn't the biggest problem. His symptoms are mostly getting lost in rooms, randomly barking, and getting stuck behind glass doors. He gets frustrated easily, and when he thinks I'm behind a closed door - even if I remind him that I'm not - he barks and barks and claws at the door. He sleeps a lot, and doesn't interact as much... will sometimes "play" for a minute or two when Zoe gets her pre-dinner zoomies, but mostly sleeps. He's been grumpy for years, which is why I had to stop fostering, and my girls avoid him like the plague. He chases the cats. I work a lot of night shifts, and when he wants to be in the bedroom, he won't take "go lie down" for an answer. Then, when I let him in, he roots around the curtains and sometimes doesn't settle down, and I end up throwing him out again and the cycle repeats. So far, I've been managing the sleep fairly well, but it's gradually getting worse. I guess I'm trying to decide at which point the good of the pack outweighs the good of the one. He does seem to enjoy life, and loves going for walks, albeit they are very short these days. He has a good appetite, although doesn't hear the food clinking in the bowl anymore. He is very possessive with space and food, and I've fed him separately for years now. He still loves neck scritches, and actually laid down for a belly rub yesterday for the first time in ages. The cats avoid him, and I know they are stressed. The BCs (Sasha and Zoe) avoid him, and he has attacked Sasha a couple of times - usually when she finds an old bone or something in the yard that he decides he wants. We are having occasional accidents in the house. (although it's always tricky to know who is the culprit). I have looked for any sort of research or literature into how this affects a pack, and can't find anything. My vet is concerned that once Zoe topples him as the dominant dog, the emotional stress might be considerable. We've had "the talk" already, and I'm not really sure that the selegeline is helping. Maybe some, but it's not a profound change. We were going to reassess in a month, and it's been 6 weeks. Yes, I'm stalling. I feel guilty for even considering putting him down as he still seems to enjoy life, but the wear and tear on the pack (and myself) is starting to show. He's lived a darn good life, considering he was lucky enough to end up in a no-kill shelter, and still spent 8 months waiting for me to find him. I think my life would be easier, no - I KNOW my life would be easier, and I am pretty sure the other critters would also benefit. I just don't want to make a rash decision and regret it, nor do I want to wait until he seriously injures one of the others. They're all faster than he is, but he's a lot bigger. The selegeline is expensive, and although I can afford it, it's still a chunk of change, and I can't really tell if it's helping. I suppose I could stop it when I run out again and see what happens. Thoughts? Anyone else out there dealt with anything like this? I know people say that "you know when it's time" but I always figured that applied to injuries, cancer or something else. I just wish I'd find a lump and it would be a hemangiosarcoma, or he'd start limping, or really anything to tip the scales. I feel horrible for admitting that, but it would make this whole situation a lot easier. I also think I'm painting it as worse than it is - I mean, it's not like he keeps me up every day, or chases the cats every day, but it's a progression. Thanks for any advice, Danielle, Nik, Sasha and Zoe
  10. My Zoe came down with a TBD last fall. The onset was dramatic - one day we were going on 5 mile runs, and the next she wanted to turn back after less than 1/4 mile, didn't want to eat, and starting hiding. I knew something was wrong but didn't know what. On the second trip to the vet, we talked about TBD and decided to try empirically treating with doxy as I live in a wooded area and had spotted a tick walking across the couch the week before. (ew. I hate ticks!) The vet said that she'd turn around about day 3 if it were a TBD, and her recovery was nearly as dramatic as the onset. The treatment for TBD is indeed much longer than a standard course of antibiotics. In humans, doxy is the drug of choice, but we use amoxil in children and those who can't take doxy.
  11. Sasha destroyed a lot of things as a puppy, but Nikolai, my 14 year old German Shepard mix is my counter surfer. He's trained me pretty well, actually... but... I ran my first full marathon in January, and had an assortment of energy gels in the MIDDLE of the kitchen table for some time. They'd get moved around, but I had quite a collection as I was sorting out what sort of nutrition I was going to need. I don't remember if it was the week of the race or the week after, but suddenly, the whole box went missing. We're talking 8 GUs, 4-5 Roctane gels, 3 packs of GU Chomps, some Cliff Blocks, several packets of electrolyte tabs, some rehydration packets, and some sport beans. He apparently doesn't like the blueberry pomegranate flavor, and finding that gel on the floor in front of the door in the sneaky-spot tipped me off (when he steals a loaf of bread or bagels or anything else, he always leaves the wrapper there). But he ate just about everything else. I added up the caffeine, which would be most dangerous in excess and decided to just watch him as it wasn't a toxic level. The next few days, he was more energetic than ever, but had no ill effects. Just thinking about consuming that much sugar at once gives me palpitations! I did search the yard for a pile of brightly colored foil, but Mr. Sneaky-Pooper hid it well. (I have 5 wooded acres, so I didn't think I'd find them)
  12. Well, it's 2 months to the day since that fateful morning, and I'm pleased to report that Sasha has continued to improve. Much of is has been in baby steps, but I'll take it. The wound finally healed over, but it took a full 6 weeks. She's walking better, and just starting to use the FHO hip. The vet was sure she'd baby the knee, but the knee has healed up really well. She started swim and massage therapy last week, and will be going 2-3x/week for at least the next month. and... we went for our first walk today! It was only 0.2 miles on the map, but it's something! I took Zoe for a run, and Sasha trotted over to the door. It was the first time she's given me inkling of wanting to walk, although she's moving much, much better these days. It's still awkward, though and she stopped for a couple rest breaks. So as I slipped her harness on her, that was a sobering reminder. She started at about 52 lbs, and was down to 39 at her last weigh-in. It's ALL muscle mass - the harness still fits like before. Her back end is just so atrophied. But she'll get it back - it's just going to take a long time. She IS a lot easier to lift, though! (She's barrel-chested like a chow. And hell, she might not even BE border collie. God only knows. But she's ornery like one!) My vet offers an all-the-physical-therapy-you-can-do-for-a-month package, and we are availing ourselves on it.
  13. Jo, Lying in the sun, soaking up the warmth... may my dogs be so lucky when they are called home. Godspeed, good boy. My heart aches for you, Danielle
  14. Hi, Rehab at this point is mostly passive range of motion stretches and very short, supported walks. Once the formerly-gaping wound has healed, my vet wants to do swim therapy. I downloaded some excellent rehab guides, but they aren't applying well in her situation due to the severity of the injuries, and we're barely to week 2 in the guides. She really doesn't like the range-of-motion stretches, that's for sure. One day at a time...
  15. Well, it's been a hair under 4 weeks since the Crash, and tonight was our first outing - Dog's Night Out at the local frozen custard shop, hosted by my vet's practice. She loved the custard, ate up the attention, although was ready to go before I was. Sasha is very slowly improving, although she is still not using the FHO leg much at all. She will bear a little weight on the knee, but really isn't moving more than about 10 feet under her own power at any time. She does this funny handstand to drink water, just barely touching her toe down. I'm still using my tote-bag sling to help her, although sometimes she'll walk and sometimes she won't. Tricky wee beastie, she is. Still, the wound is healing very well, and only about a nickle-sized defect remains. She's eating better, but had lost 8 lbs at her vet check last week. (She was 52 to start with.) Her back end is atrophying rapidly, but she is starting to move more. Now, I come home and have to look for her if she isn't on the primo bed. I built her a set of stairs to get up onto my bed - my old Shepard will hopefully use them too, as his hips aren't what they used to be either. She needs a lot of help, but at least I don't have to carry her any longer. Here's to another 2 months of therapy (at least). Sigh. But I've still got my girlie, and she's proving to be a tough cookie.
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