When I think “Everything is going well, now I can finally blog about everything that’s on my mind”, something happens. In this case our Sam.
It began last week when his vasculitis started to act up, although we had treated it as usual with the prescribed ointment. Sam’s left ear bled a lot. The only way to get this under control (according to the vet) is to tie the ear to the head with a bandage for a few days so Sam doesn’t scratch it and the wound can heal. Sounds simple, but of course he tries (and often succeeds) to get the bandage off and everything has to be re-done again and again 🙄.
On Sunday morning, I let the dogs in the garden when the neighbor’s dog jumped over the fence and attacked Sam. Sam was at a disadvantage, because I had him on the leash. I wasn’t able to stop the two dogs from biting another, yelling and kicking didn’t help. It was pure chaos. It only took the neighbor’s daughter a few seconds to come over and help us by pulling away her dog, but it surely seemed longer to me. But the two of us somehow were able to end the fight. I was surprised about myself, though. While this drama was unfolding, I was calm and wasn’t afraid for myself. I just wanted to protect Sam, because it was very clear the other dog wouldn’t let him go. Dropping the leash and running away never crossed my mind. Luckily Janet wasn’t bitten, she wasn’t on a leash and just ran away into the house.
After that we noticed Sam had two bite wounds on both his upper hind legs. So we brought him to the veterinary emergency service. The lesions are not very deep and not very big, but they had to be stapled and Sam is on pain meds and antibiotics for a week. The first days he was very quiet and tired. Things have been better since yesterday evening, so I think the meds are doing their job. If everything goes according to plan, the staples will be removed on Monday. Until then we will stay in care-for-furbaby-mode. We try to let him go without the cone as much as possible, so he can eat, drink and groom. But of course this also gives him the oppotunity to lick his wounds, and we don’t want that. We have to keep a close eye on him when he is without the cone.
We talked to the neighbors, and everyone agreed that may not happen again. The neighbor’s pet liability insurance will cover our vet bills (which will be about € 400 in total). Now we hope the wounds will continue to heal and that this was the last time something like this happened.
Or to be exact: Two dogs lives in our house.
Sam (right) ist the youngest furbaby here, but he has to battle the most health issues. One, he has vasculitis at the ears. Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels, which results in bad itching in his case. Back in the shelter, the diagnosis was confirmed, but Sam’s head shaking and scratching were explained with nervousness and stress. When it got worse, we mentioned this to our vet. He gave us a lotion to put on the ears twice a day, and head shaking and scratching stopped… I am so sorry he had to live with that for two and a half years. But we trusted the vet from the shelter.
Second, he suffers from hypothyroidism. This condition is also chronic and has to be treated as long as he lives. But like the vasculitis, we got it under control. I would say, he can live well with his health issues right now.
Janet (left) is twelve years old, but in very good health. Sometimes her teeth cause trouble. When she came to live with us, her teeth were in a very bad condition, and four of them had to be removed. Last week we had her teeth cleaned properly, and one tooth had to be extracted, but she can live with this and recovered well from surgery.
In my opinion we are responsible for the health of our pets. They rely on us to look after them. In the future I will ask for another opinion and listen to my heart if I think something is wrong.
It was very interesting what the dog trainer found out about Sam in a few minutes. She didn’t ask us about information before the meeting, she just wanted to meet Sam “in person”.
She confirmed what we already knew. Sam is a very sensitive soul, he would do everything to protect and please us. It’s now up to us to make him realize that the humans are in charge and that he can trust us. We have to mind our body language very closely, there’s a food supplement we can try, and we should change his diet to venison.
Minding my body language will be a challenge. The dog trainer told me to call Sam, and he came to my side, but the dog trainer told me my posture wasn’t very welcoming, and she was right.
She also said, there is definitely a bond between Sam and me. I really liked to hear that, because we didn’t have an easy start.
Last Thursday a friend texted me. She had to send off her dog to Rainbow Bridge a few hours ago, could I come over and help?
Her dog was old and ill, but it’s always hard when a furbaby leaves us. So I asked myself if I had enough energy left to help her. The answer was yes, and I went to her straight away.
Our friend was crying a lot, of course. During the next days I helped her to create a nice final resting place for her beloved furbaby. I was very mindful to do everything like she wanted it to be done. I am sure she would have been able to to all this without my help, she just needed somebody by her side.
Now everything is done, and I hope she will be able to calm down eventually. I am glad I could be there for her. So many people are helping me, I am glad I could give something back.
Yes, there are moments like these on the picture: Lots of snuggling and love. And the love goes both ways.
But there are also the moments where Sam makes a ruckus at the door, pulls on the leash, or barks loudly at everything on the street. This is when love alone doesn’t help.
We have been looking for a good dog trainer for quite some time. It’s not easy, because it has to be a match for Sam AND for us. I don’t approve some methods. I don’t want any violence. I need somebody who understands Sam and tells me how I can help him. One thing is sure: Sam doesn’t like these situations either, he is full of fear. I want to change my attitude, so Sam can change his behavior as well.
The big problem is, my energy level needs to be high enough to work with Sam. And I don’t know how long the good times will last. But this is something nobody knows, so I might as well start now. Maybe it’s no coincidence that our friend introduced me to a very nice dog trainer on Sunday. I can imagine working with her. Maybe the time is just right to tackle this problem 😀.
…are strolling around the neighborhood every day. Since I returned from my last inpatient stay last summer/fall I really stayed on the ball, not walking the dogs is a rare exception from the rule. My form of the day decides how long our walk is.
Dealing with Sam still can be difficult. But my biggest fear, not being able to handle him, didn’t come true. I deal with the tricky situations the best way I can and am able to calm down quickly afterwards. And the daily excercise is good for all of us.
During the last months, I attended seminars about handling difficult dogs. My goal is to understand Sam better, because this will help me to react in the best possible way. Sam has two faces: At home, when everything is quiet, he is very cuddly and listens to commands very well. Outside, or if somebody comes near our house, he is tense and anxious and tries to scare away every human (especailly the mail man, cyclists and joggers) or dog by barking loudly. We try to show him that these situations are not dangerous, but his fears run deep.
It’s a good thing Janet is the complete opposite. Her good spirits and zest of life make us all very happy. Two problematic dogs would be too much for me to handle, but so everything is balanced out.
Since I was a little girl, animals had a positive effect on me. It doesn’t matter if it were budgies, hamsters, horses, cats or dogs. I don’t care what happens to me some days, but our furbabies always are important. On the other hand, some pets from the shelter found a new home and live with us now. Win-win!
It is very hot today, and walking the dogs was very exhausting. We were rescued by an ice cream parlor 😁.
While waiting for our treats, I learned that my favorite soccer team had won its first game of the season (Cologne, of course). An older Gentleman next to us was also a fan, and so we sung a colognian song together.
Because of the heat I will not cook today. The permanent heat is not funny anymore.
Janet is the one in our pack who sometimes is a little bit neglected. Jackie is a Diva, and Sam gets lots of attention due to his behavior.
She is not young anymore, approximately ten years old, and she likes a quiet environment. She looks for a place where she is out of the trouble, but can hear anything what’s going on.
When I check on her, I am met with a soulful gaze, and when I talk to her, she wags her tail. Of course it makes things easier for us that she is so easy to handle. We take care that she has quality time with us, when everything is about her.
She seems to be happy here, and we hope we will have many more happy hours with her.
I may not talk much about our cat Jackie, but she is still with us. We cuddle every day, and this is very good for my mood.
Today was her yearly check-up at the vet. I tried not to think about the fact that my heart cat Jackie was with us the last time, otherwise a few tears would have been shed.
But everything is alright, Jackie is healthy, even though she is fourteen years old now.
We drove home in a good mood, and I became aware of the fact that the bond between me and our furbabies is very strong.
And one thing is sure: We walk this way together until the very end, in good and bad times.
It has been a while that I mentioned Sam. This is because making progress takes lots of time for him. But progress DOES happen, and this is what matters.
For a long time, it was a real challenge to take Sam on a walk with other dogs. We had to use a muzzle, and he nearly panicked when other dogs came near him – or even worse – wanted contact with him: Then he yowled, growled or bit.
Every Sunday the shelter organizes a walk. My husband participates with Sam an Janet. Janet is very easy going with other dogs. She is not dominant, but she is always friendly and very clear about what she wants or doesn’t want. What makes her a good teacher for Sam, who grew up without contact to other dogs in a killing station.
On these Sunday walks mostly the same dogs and humans are there. So Sam noticed finally, that nobody wanted to harm him. He calmed down, and we didn’t need the muzzle any longer. Last week all humans agreed to let the dogs play together without a leash on a meadow. And the miracle happened: Sam behaved as if he had done this all the time. He very kindly asked other dogs to play with him, and ran around absolutely carefree. One dog tried to make eye contact with him, he just ignored it.
We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.
There is still a lot to do, so it is nice when progress is made, and this was a big step!
And when he looks at me like on the picture above, I think we will reach a lot more with him in the future.