Dog Abuse Nightmare

My Dog Abuse Nightmare

Hope's Story:  A few weeks ago, I read about a terrible case of animal cruelty and torture involving a dog whose tongue was pulled outside of her mouth and her mouth was secured with electrical tape.  The poor dog also had a bunch of gashes inflicted over her body.  A woman saw her but the dog was so terrified that it took a crew of rescuers hours to catch her and take her to an animal hospital.  It was a horrendous case of animal abuse where a little dog was tortured and left to suffer and die.  I remember reading that the dog had been named Hope and that it looked like she might be OK, but that most of her tongue would have to be amputated.  A loving adoptive mother was waiting for Hope to recover enough take her home. 

Hope's story really bothers me and I keep thinking about her needless suffering at the hands of a psycho.  I think about her a lot.  But I didn't realize that I was thinking about her in my sleep and that the images of the little dog and her swollen tongue were intruding into my dreams.  Then I had the dog abuse nightmare that woke me up in the middle of the night.  In the nightmare, my dogs, Plato and GG ran off after a rabbit or squirrel (that is reality based and it scares me and we're getting a fence soon).  My family and I ran after the dogs, up the hill and into the woods somewhere that I didn't recognize.  We came across a crowd of people and I caught up with Plato but GG was way ahead.  Plato's body, including his mouth, had been wrapped in duct tape and I tried to get him lose but I didn't have any scissors, the sticky tape wouldn't come off and I had to get GG.  I saw an angry looking man staring at us and I asked him "Did you do this to him?" and he replied "Yep, that'll stop the barking".  And I woke up.  I was distraught and tried so hard to go back to sleep so I could resolve the nightmare with a happy ending.  But I don't fall back to sleep easily even when I haven't had a bad dream and couldn't fall asleep that day either.

Submissive Urination in Dogs (an update on GG, our precious Bassador)

GG's Peeing Issue (is it submissive urination?)

First a little background on GG for SeniorDog readers who don't already know her.  GG is the adorable little Basset hound/Lab mix (a Bassador!) that we adopted last January.  She's had her issues.  She was and sometimes still is, fearful of new people.  She cowered and growled at my husband and teenage son at the beginning.  She had to be rehouse trained.  She didn't know how to walk on a leash.  She has had tapeworms and lung worms.  And she sometimes pees when she greets my husband.  She'll rush up to him all excited, let loose with a spray of pee and roll over on her back.  We've ruled out medical causes and done a little research and have pretty much figured out that GG has a submissive urination thing going on.  So, what to do and what not to do?

What To Do About GG's Submissive Urination

The most helpful suggestions that I've found about submissive urination keep it simple.  Like the obvious don'ts:  don't punish a dog for submissive urination (it'll only make the problem worse), don't look the dog in the eye, touch or greet him if he starts to submissively pee, don't get your dog all worked up when you first come in the door.  When GG submissively pees, we just clean it up.  No comments or scowling.  I've also tried letting GG outside when my husband comes home so he can greet her outside.  Or, if they're inside, my husband ignores GG until she's calmer.  GG's issue seems to be most problematic when she first gets up in the morning so I try to get the dogs up and outside to pee in the morning before GG greets my husband.  If that doesn't work, he doesn't interact with her until after she's been out and has calmed down.   It's going really well.  I'll keep you posted!

Following Atticus

A New, for me, Inspirational/Feel Good Dog Book

I am reading Following Atticus, by Tom Ryan.  I picked it up at the library even though it's large print and I feel a little guilty about borrowing large print books when I can read just fine if I am wearing glasses.  And maybe also because it makes me remember that I'm getting older.  Anyway, Following Atticus is a wonderful book that I am enjoying.  Long story short, it's about a guy who's alone until he opens up his home and heart to a rescue dog named Max and then to another miniature schnauzer, a puppy named Atticus M. Finch.  The M is in honor of Max and the rest you know.  Tom and Atticus are inseparable.  The unlikely pair have become world class hikers, bagging peaks in the White Mountains of New Hampshire like few others, even in winter.  They have raised money for cancer and for animal causes.  There's way more to it than that but that's OK, you should read the book.

And Now:  Atticus and Tom Adopted Will, a 15-year-old Dog!!!

I was curious to see what Atticus and Tom are up to today so I googled them and peeked at their blog.  They have adopted a frail, frightened senior who ended up in a New Jersey kill shelter when the man that he'd lived his whole life with could no longer take care of himself or Will.  Will is a wreck, physically and emotionally, but he's come a long way from the nippy frightened dog that Tom met to the affectionate and playful dog that he is now.  But, he's had a stroke or some other vascular incident and it's unclear as of last post what exactly happened and if Will is going to be OK.  It made me think of Bailey, the amazing senior that we adopted when he was 10 which many people didn't understand.  Bailey changed our lives and brought such a warm presence into our home.  Just having him in the house made us all feel better.  Bailey had a few vascular incidents and thankfully, he got better within a day or less.  Until the last one.  But anyway, Tom and Atticus adopting Will makes me think a lot about Bailey.  They want to make the rest of Will's life full of love and security instead of fear and abandonment.  Just like with us and Bailey.

Little White Things on my Dog's Butt? And Crawling in Her Poop! Tapeworms!

White Wormy Critters on GG's Butt

I'd thought I saw something, but I figured it was something GG brushed against when she was peeing.  But there it was again and I didn't see anything she might have hit.  So I looked closer and the little white things, the size of a grain or rice or smaller, were there.  And when I picked up GG's poop, there were tiny white worms wriggling around.  This poop was clearly a saver, not something to chuck in the trash barrell.  I took it home, put the bag in a zip plastic bag, put the bags into a tupperware and put the lot into the fridge to stay fresh until the vet's office opened and I could run it over to the vet's with GG.

GG and I went to the vet's with her poop later that morning.  Oddly, the vet didn't find little white critters in the poop even though she said she dug around pretty thoroughly.  She diagnosed GG with tapeworms based on my description.  Then she took a quick look at GG's butt and there they were, little white buggers, officially tapeworms. 

The vet explained that GG probably got tapeworms from fleas at some point, or from eating a rodent or poop containing the eggs.  We were told that she probably had them since she was a puppy and based upon the life cycle of the tapeworm, certainly since before we adopted her in January.  Yes, we use flea and tick medication (Advantix) and no we've never seen fleas on GG or Plato.  We learned that tapeworms live in the small intestines of dogs where they fasten their heads and develop.  The tapeworm body has segments with egg packets which were what I saw in GG's poop and on her butt. 

GG and I were sent home with a deworming medication called Drontal Plus which we were assured would be an easy fix and which was pretty inexpensive.  Our other dog Plato was treated "just in case".  GG's poop was sent to an outside lab for analysis, just to make sure that she didn't have other parasites.  I was told to do a good vacuuming job anywhere where the dogs might have been laying down and to wash their bedding.  That wasn't so bad.   But I wasn't happy to find dried white things (like sesame seeds) in GG's bed.  Yuck.  I was pleased to learn that it's rare for the worms to be transmitted to humans but that to be safe, good hand washing would be in order.  The next day, I got a call.  "Did you find anything?", I asked cheerfully.  The vet's answer was not what I expected.  GG also has lungworm!  Not as easy a fix as tapeworms.  And much pricier.  Stay tuned for the next post of SeniorDogCentral.com.  Attack of the lungworms.

News from SeniorDogCentral After a Too Long Absence: We Adopted GG from Arkansas

The New Addition to Our Family:  GG the Bassador

SeniorDogCentral has been silent for too long.  Plato has been stable and doing better all the time (until recently).  I too often write about problems, get too busy or figure I'll get to it later and then don't.  But adopting GG is big news for us!  GG (we changed it from GiGi) is a bassador, a Basset Hound/ Labrador mix.  She was picked up as a stray in Arkansas, so who really knows exactly what she is, but when you look at her, it's clear.  GG is a young dog.  She's silly, happy and energetic.  She wants attention all the time.  And she is adorable!  This announcement is long overdue.  We adopted GG in January!

Integrating a Second Dog into the Household:  Week 1

I found GG on Petfinder.com.  She was listed as a local dog but it turned out that she was still in Arkansas.  I personally cannot commit to adopting a dog that we've never met, especially with children and another dog in the household.  So, after lengthy conversations with her her foster mom, GG was transported to Connecticut for us and Plato to meet.  If GG didn't seem to be a fit, she would be fostered in our area until she was adopted.  Long story short.  We met, Plato and I took to her right away and GG came home with us. 

The first week went great.  Mostly.  GG quietly growled at men (there are two in our household), didn't know how to walk on a leash and was used to eliminating in her foster mom's fenced in yard.  We don't have a fenced in yard, Plato is rarely off leash because he sometimes bolts and the growling thing was unexpected and unsettling to say the least.  I took Plato and GG for long walks, on leash, and was amazed that GG wouldn't pee or poop.  At least not until we got back into the house.  After repeating this scenario several times, our garden became the dog toilet.  I did my best to secure the deer netting and it's mostly worked.  We're getting a proper fence soon and that'll be much better for the dogs.  Freedom to run and play in a safe and secure setting, and no dogs peeing and pooping in the garden!

So, fast forward to now.  Rehousetraining was a challenge, GG took to the leash pretty well and the growling is mostly finished.  My son and husband were very patient and good with GG and she came around.  She still growls a bit at some strangers, but she's settled in and become less fearful over time and it's not happening so much anymore. 

Week 2:  When the First Dog gets Terrorized by the New Adoptee

Plato and GG got on well for about a week.  Then GG started to try to dominate Plato and he didn't like it.  GG tried to take over Plato's bed.  She would rush at him and nip when Plato was getting attention even though she surely got her share of petting and pampering.  Plato started to withdraw which was a real problem, since Plato has taken a very long time to come out of his shell and engage with people.  We couldn't allow that to happen.  We corrected GG's pushy behavior so the two dogs wouldn't come to blows and Plato wouldn't withdraw.  I know many people feel that the dogs should work these issues out but I figured that we don't let our kids come to blows and neither should the dogs.  It worked.  GG and Plato get along fine now.  They're not exactly inseparable, but they get along. 

Coming Soon to SeniorDogCentral:  GG's Recent Health Issues

Dogs and Hurricane Irene

Our Dog Plato Did Well in Hurricane Irene

We were all worried about what Hurricane Irene would do here in Connecticut.  We fared well at our house.  Our emergency preparations were in place, including adequate food and water for all of our family, including Plato.  Plato and I took a long walk before the winds and rain started.  Plato started to get edgy as the evening wore on and was very nervous by 2am when he woke me up during the thunder and lightening phase of the storm.

By morning we were awaiting the arrival of Hurricane Irene and it was raining buckets.  Plato was panting and didn't eat.  He went out for a brief bathroom break but had no interest in taking a walk.  We were glued to the news on TV until the Irene actually went over and we lost power and we switched over to our battery powered/crank emergency radio. It wasn't comforting to learn that the power company predicted it would be up to a week before power was restored in some areas.  We kept in touch with family and friends who were also likely to be hit by the storm or who were concerned about those of us who were in the storm's path.  The temperature was cool enough to be comfortable so losing AC wasn't a problem at all. We had lanterns, craft supplies and board games so we were fine but concerned that the power would remain off for too long.  Our little portable generator was enough to run our big freezer and we loaded our refridgerator with ice from the freezer and didn't open it much.  Plato was edgy but OK.  No dinner or snacks for him.  He was too nervous.  Irene passed by and our household did well with just minimal issues.  We slowed down on our texting so we wouldn't run our cell phone batteries down after we lost power.  We have a plug in phone so we could always use the land line.  It was comforting to exchange texts to find out that everyone was safe, even those who had downed trees, flooding and power outages.  We were lucky and our power was restored in about 12 hours.

It took Plato awhile to settle down after the storm passed.  He seemed tentative when we went out for a short walk.  There were some downed trees and power lines so we stayed clear of those areas and make it a very brief outing.  Plato started eating and looking happy again the next day!

Jennifer Aniston's Beloved Dog Norman Died at Age 15

Jennifer Aniston's Constant Companion Died a Few Weeks Ago

I can't believe it when I write a "celebrity piece" but here goes.  No, it's not about a celebrity who does or doesn't pick up dog poop.  It's about the death of Jennifer Aniston's terrier-corgi mix, Norman, who it seems was constantly by her side.  Jennifer Aniston was great in "Friends" and she always looks good, but what really brought her to my attention was the undeniable bond between the actress and her adorable rescue dog, who she called "my baby boy". 

Aniston's representative confirmed Norman's death stating "He was an old dog and it was just his time."  Norman's old age certainly doesn't make it any easier for Jennifer and I find myself wondering how she's doing.  So many of the paparazzi photos of Jennifer that have been published are of her walking or running on the beach with Norman and her other dog, Dolly, a white German Shepherd.  Norman was always there for her and with her.  Dolly and Jennifer must miss Norman terribly