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Little Gifts

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Everything posted by Little Gifts

  1. It's incredibly hard! I've gone from having this tough nut who hated personal space and loved everything and every one to one that still wants to be who she is but who feels frail and vulnerable within herself and doesn't know where to turn. Things that never caused her angst are now real fears and she doesn't know how to calm them. So many things she used to take for granted now frighten her. But having said that her good times far outweigh the bad stuff still. She spends her days chasing birds from the yard and following Jonah everywhere (she doesn't want to miss out). She still loves her walks but is getting bowled over at the dog park now with her back legs so weak and having lost weight (she has to be in the thick of the scrum) and gets sensory overload after about half an hour and tilts towards crazy (off home we go!). She prefers my sister over me when she is distressed but still sleeps with me again part of the night. Loves her food, still trying to get to the compost for a snack! I know things will continue to change and possibly deteriorate but she's been such a great dog for me and all the fosters who have come through here that I want her life to be as pleasant and rich as it can be despite the changes. So I just want to do what I can to be there for her now when she has been there for all of us. One the hardest aspects for me is she did love verbal praise and being touched/manhandled/kissed. And she got praised a lot because she was still deep down a very naughty and easily distracted dog. So she can't hear any of that at the moment and she is still not liking much touching so I feel that is an important chunk of comforting and joy she is missing. Hopefully I can find a way to turn that around.
  2. Thank you to you both. It feels like this time around with an oldie was so different to last time. Then I just responded as things changed but this is a different dog with different strengths, needs and weaknesses so I want to keep a few steps ahead and make transitioning a bit easier for her. She loves life and everything about it but has definately lost some confidence and developed a sort of vulnerability over the past couple of months. Safe and happy is what I'm aiming to maintain for as long as possible.
  3. I've changed my touch to be very gentle now and that has worked. I'm also restricting to shoulder area. She was actually avoiding me and I had no idea why but I think my old way of interacting with her was just too rough for her old lady body. She'll sit on the lounge or sleep on the bed again with me now and I try to just leave her be. Just gentle rubs on her inner thighs (her sweet spot) when I can't help myself. With her outside barking this afternoon (twice) I just walked out like I was doing something else and she saw me and came running. Once she came running over to me and once she got close I acknowledged and rewarded her then she followed me straight back inside. And that fridge analogy is a great one. Luckily we don't use any personal perfumes or air fresheners but I am going to start kind of assessing our environment for odours that might be distracting. I brought flowers in tonight and now I'm thinking that could be confusing. I'll just keep working my way through it and keep doing what we can to make things easier for her. Thank you for your advice and expertise!
  4. Interesting and useful info Dogsfevr. Never thought about it like that before. To be honest I was never much of a talker to my dogs and just gave hand and verbal commands. But then fostering shar pei who were often quite fearful I found myself talking calmly to them more as I couldn't always get close and often they lacked training to even know basic commands. But then when we foster failed Tempeh and an animal communicator said she would benefit from being talked to more (she was anxious about loads of stuff). The communicator was correct and I turned into one of those people who told my dogs everything! Now of course Stussy has no clue what I'm saying when I talk to her and she seems to find it very confusing - in her mind I just seem to be staring at her or going mad at her or something. I'm sure her hearing was diminishing but whatever she still had just went suddenly. We saw the vet straight away and had it confirmed that it can happen like that. Luckily there is someone home most of the time but the good thing is if she sees us go out the front door she stays inside waiting for us to come home- no wandering outside that I am aware of (our good neighbours would let us know). And we always check the weather before leaving so they have options. She's not yet wandering aimlessly but since we got the workshop/shed built (a year ago) she seems to have developed some confusion on which 'house' we are in, so she stands in the yard between the two and concern barks until someone turns up and waves at her (we do have a big empty L shaped yard). Then she comes running all smiles. I don't want to be seen as rewarding her new strategy but I'm also not sure what else to do. Unfortunately I think I've been trying to make a game of it to reduce her anxiety, like we've been playing hide and seek. Do I just go out casually so she can see me rather than go out and beckon her to come to me? So I guess I'm not rewarding what she's doing if I let her know where I am without actually engaging? It's so hard because I want to comfort her because she seems so confused, but I also don't understand why she has suddenly become unsure about which part of the 'house' we are in. She can literally be laying in the same room as me, get up and go outside to her new spot and I hear her barking. That to me is like her nose not working either? Poor bugger. One good thing though if I go down the hand signals route is that Jonah is now 10 and we can teach him too so he might be better prepared. He already has one problematic eye that I make allowances for. Thank you everyone for all the useful information. I really appreciate it and am gathering it all to work out the best approach.
  5. One of my vets is holistic and has worked with me before in that way so they don't push the harsher meds unless they see them as the best option. They are very supportive of trying a range of treatment options.
  6. Thank you Deeds! We tried the Hills BD for 3 months and there was no noticeable difference so she is back on Canidae or Black Hawk now. Haven't seen the Bright Mind one so will go searching and give it a shot. Happy to try anything for her.
  7. Thank you for all that info PK! She is getting close to needing medication for the dementia. Still manageable with supplements and diversion but only just. At the moment she only has Antinol Rapid for her arthritis and a tranquility supplement that I think Boronia put me on to to assist with the Sundowners. I'm pretty sure she has cataracts (they started a few years back). She still does well in minimal lighting and she can definately see bits of grated cheese on the cream tile floors! She is still very active but prone to a few accidents if her legs don't keep up. She has always been naturally inquisitive which leans towards naughty so leave and no/naughty commands are still necessary! I think my two main areas I'd like to communicate clearly is when I'm going out (and she is not coming with me) and when she is in the middle of the yard barking for someone to come and get her. She is no longer enjoying much touching unfortunately and when she is asleep she gets a fright from it but if I don't tell her I'm leaving the house she just runs into the back yard and barks for me (neighbours not loving that concept). She also gets confused about where we are in the house (or the shed) and stands in the yard and barks for us. It sets off another neighbour's dog and the neighbour between us has already had a grump about it. Apparently she has an irritating bark. I think it is time for a full vet assessment so I know how to move forward and maintain what she has but after it was suggested I can see that sign language could be a great solution for her. She has a lot of FOMO (like her mum) and always wants to know what's going on and where everyone is. She's got to be in the loop! Not being able to suddenly hear seems to have resulted in other behavioural changes and a lack of confidence that I'd like to turn around as much as possible. I never started any scent work with her but it is probably a good time to start. She is wanting like 4 meals a day now and I figure at least 2 of those could be be snuffle mat sessions! That would keep her busy for a bit! Again, thank you for all the advice so I can start researching.
  8. Stussy is now 14. About 4 - 5 months ago she lost her hearing suddenly. She was checked by our vet who said this can happen in some old dogs. Her eyesight is fair still but to get her attention from a distance you have to go large with your gestures! She is still very active and still capable of learning new things (like how to open the baby gate so she can get to the bin!), using a doggy door for the first time, stairs and ramps to get up and down from furniture. She is really struggling without her hearing and of course she has Sundowners and aspects of CCD (doggy dementia) although she has not been diagnosed with that. Without her hearing she is barking a lot more for attention and to find where her peeps are. With the dementia she often leaves our side and goes looking for us, which results in her just standing in the yard and barking till someone comes. And it doesn't matter what I try to get her attention when she's sleeping I always frighten her. So I'm wondering if anyone else has a similar experience and has any info they can offer me regarding sign language options for a deaf dog with less than perfect eyesight but who is still trainable? In particular I'd like to find ways to sign come, leave, good dog/ok, no/naughty dog, walks/car/outings, treats/food and maybe even something to indicate when I'm going out without her as she finds that very confusing. All in a larger than life way so she can see without being super close. She knows hand signals for everything else but these ones were always more verbal commands. I really think she misses knowing what's going on and is living in an unpredictable world at present. Here is my Silly Sausage.
  9. I heard that Boronia and have some to try but I still wonder why her brain has all of a sudden told her to do it, particularly when we have increased her diet quite a bit already.
  10. Stussy (recently turned 14) has started eating poo - hers (avoids Jonah's even though they eat the same thing). It's like she doesn't remember she already got fed (we are now at 2 meals a day and 2 snacks a day because of weight loss). I actually caught her tonight eating only 15 minutes after she'd had a big dinner! Doggy dementia sucks! I also had a big wake up call with her only about a month or so. She's always been a tough nut and liked rough house kind of cuddles, kisses and scratches but a couple of months ago when she started to deteriorate mentally I noticed she was avoiding me on the lounge and bed in particular. If I touched her she'd get up and move. I suddenly realised how gentle I am with Jonah compared to her so I lightened all my physical interactions with her and we are back in love again! I think she was starting to feel vulnerable around me because I was being too rough on her old body without realising. There is just so much to be mindful of as they age and you have to constantly be looking for clues. I hate that their minds fail them before their bodies too. I'm glad Sooty finds comfort in your care. X
  11. I would love to see the RSPCA more accountable for what they do and don't do but most of all I'd love for them to actually be doing all the work to protect all creatures great and small that their donors think they are with their millions. And if they are going to farm out a lot of animals to independant, unfunded rescues to foster, rehabilitate, vet and rehome (while patting themselves on the back in their stats) then they should also be sending some money with the animal. I don't think they do anything well anymore and haven't done for a long time.
  12. I was always very security conscious at work (because of violent clients) but at home I was very cruisy (living on farms and acreage over the years didn't help!). But after the home invasion I had security screens put on everything, even solid glass panels because I felt they could be easily broken. And once you have people in your house you feel they know what you own and might come back. They had been working systematically through my entire upstairs house - looking under mattresses even. My computer was all unplugged and sitting on the front verandah, jewellery boxes were sitting on the front lawn. How did I not know they were there? I had to leave the whole lot like that until the police came the next day for finger printing so all night I was worried they would come back for it all or someone else would steal it (I had a security guard friend doing regular drive bys). So the fact I couldn't clean up and reclaim my life that same night and that the police didn't even have time to come to me when I was in need also made getting over it difficult. I'm still overly security conscious but Jonah is very responsive to stranger danger and has a scary bark!
  13. I saw this on FB. Amazing story! I had a mother and son stafford rescues. The mother came to me just on a year old with a phantom pregnancy that didn't end up being so phantom! She started to whelp the same day in my care and ended up needing a cesar. The chonk of the litter was quickly adopted when he was old enough but at 6 months developed severe epilepsy. I still had his mum as she had post cesar complications and a hard time of it health wise and we bonded through it. The son was going to be pts so I said I'd take him back too. He was heavily medicated for those first few years but kept safe and loved while we worked on a better way of dealing with the situation (which my amazing vet did). At the time I lived on a small acreage property and my parents also lived on a small acreage property next door. I'd been unwell for a few days but finally felt well enough to sit out in the sun to at my lunch (cup of soup and a bread roll)/ I started walking down my front stairs and my leg went through the gap and I flipped, cracking my head on the brick wall on my way down and landing on the pavers unconscious. Apparently my scared, medicated boy ran next door and was making high pitched barking noises and running to and fro my parents house towards our shared fenceline. They sensed something was wrong and drove over and found me. His mum was sitting by my head watching and sniffing me. Apparently it wasn't until I was moved that she went in and ate the bread roll and licked up the soup! I'd injured all four limbs and needed medical attention for a while to recover. I still have a big dint in my leg from the fall. Fast forward a couple of years and both dogs and I were living in the suburbs. We'd had a big day and were all half asleep on the downstairs lounge (split level house). Suddenly the dogs went from 0 to 100 going beserk and flying upstairs. Three men were upstairs ransacking my house for valuables and had been working their way through all the rooms. The dogs chased them out of the house - one from a window (he was later caught with a broken ankle from it) and two from the front door. But instead of chasing them up the street, once they were all off our property the dogs ran back inside to me. By then I'd grabbed the phone and run and hidden in my back yard petrified. Even worse the police could not attend (it was hours before they arrived) and the Triple O operator had me walk with the dogs for protection back through the house to make sure they had gone and lock up the house again. It was terrifying. Changed my entire life. So those two little rescue dogs with their issues saved me twice. You often hope your dogs would be there for you in a moment of need and mine were.
  14. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2021/oct/05/reuniting-the-pack-it-took-16-months-and-a-journey-through-six-cities-to-bring-our-dog-luna-home?fbclid=IwAR2ZVWnlAvn_NttZoYnK9SEji7xVDtsYks1vsn80CWzsJSow1KzlAsqtL9g
  15. I always used to bury my dogs but knowing I was having a house move my last girl was cremated. I'm surprised how comforting having her there is. No regrets with switching to cremation for me.
  16. When I was a toddler we had some kind of black furry terrier. I would be left sitting in the sun on the back steps nomming on my vegemite bread. Chimmy would often sit on the step beside me at eye level and steal the bread from my hands causing me to cry. Apparently I would sometimes bite Chimmy on the ear after he stole my food and make him cry too. My mother (always watching this from inside the house) thought it was all quite funny and never intervened. It's like dumb luck that some of us weren't mauled by family pets!
  17. Just saw on FB and wondered whether you would post in here. She was a DOL Dog after all! I just went looking for her original thread and couldn't find it but I did find some puppy photos of her when one of her siblings (Persia) got adopted. I suddenly had a desire for story time with pictures so I could reminisce. Your threads of your foster pups were always the highlight of my day and there was a lot of Pickles action! Thank you for taking her on and loving her and allowing her to be herself. She was a wobbly fur ball of love and she will be sadly missed. XXX
  18. I don't know you would ever get over something like this if it happened to you. Steve from K9 Pro posted about it and wishes there was an opportunity to discover why this happens before the offending dog is pts and the evidence is lost. I get where he is coming from. This one is just all tragedy and no learnings. https://www.news.com.au/national/nsw-act/baby-killed-mauled-to-death-by-family-dog/news-story/3ccdf75df6016e0e004030105447d64f
  19. I saw the dogs and they looked more lab mixes to me - definately just a large cross breed if anything. I noticed none of the news reports I heard or saw mentioned breed so I was interested to see what they were. One of them had saggy boobies like she'd not long finished feeding a litter. I wondered while watching the report if it was some kind of protective attack if the pups were still there? Very sad.
  20. I wonder if Indi might also benefit from some mental stimulation to tire her out too? You can use things like snuffle mats and other food puzzles you can purchase (Nina Ottosson makes a few good ones) to give your dog all their kibble based meals (as well as just treats). I used this approach for one of my dogs and she was quite disappointed if her food ever came in a regular dog bowl. I googled DIY ideas I could make and bought some puzzles second hand so didn't spend a lot of money to set my collection up.
  21. He is gorgeous!!!!!! Need lots more photos as he grows please!
  22. Pers I am so sorry. Some animals just fill holes inside us that we never knew we even had so of course when they leave us those holes become glaringly obvious. But she is still there in your heart doing what she does best. Take time to listen out for her - she wont be far away. X
  23. I am so sorry you have lost another of your beautiful oldies LMO (just saw the news so apologies for lateness). You have dedicated yourself to your doggos in every way so I know the hole in your life that losing even one must leave. What an impossibly hard 12 months to lose 4 you have shared your life with. Take care of yourself and do what you need to do to get through this.
  24. @Dogsfevr I am pretty sure something not very good happened practice wise. I'd never used them before - they were part of a large pet supplies store and I shopped while it was happening. They were really angry at her when I picked her up and my very happy and complaint dog was a mess. I asked what happened and they were really sketchy with any details. I don't like to blame people without really knowing (my dog is not an angel all the time!) but had to trust my intuition on this one. I just really feel something happened and was not handled well and because there had never been an issue for the years before I never even considered I needed to be more discerning in what groomer I used (nail cutting is not my thing so I've always paid someone as needed). After that I'd get them done by lovely vet nurses who know her until I found a great groomer. That groomer closed last year but I have found another. With all of them they let me hold and comfort her and we have a process of which foot gets done in what order and that helps reduce the level of anxiety she gets to. And unfortunately as she has gotten older her nails have become fast growing (she skip walks) so sometimes she needs them done once a month. Finding the right groomer who worked around her needs was important - that experience has not put me off groomers - there are some amazing ones out there! But Stussy has a foot touching fear for life from that one incident. I can't even lightly stroke her paws and I certainly can't hold any scissor like items in my hand and go near her. She goes straight to panting and panicking. We did try to desensitise her with some exercises from our behaviouralist but we made no progress. There is no other part of her body that I can't poke and prod either. Just feet and nails. I guess it is around 10 years of the fear now.
  25. Stussy is 13 (a stafford) so lumps and bumps are appearing. She had a large MCT removed in 2019 but my vet aspirates any new ones and we haven't had any more scary ones. There will come a time when I stop bothering getting them checked unless they are affecting her as I've been through this before with another oldie and it comes a time when there is no point doing all the poking and prodding because your treatment plan just becomes more conservative anyway.
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