Tag Archives: anxiety

5/21/15 Mom Writes an Update

Hello, Friends:

Maggie did reasonably well yesterday. First, I gave her some motion sickness medication in the morning. Then I took her with me to pick Jamie up from school. As Maggie said, she “put 2 + 2 together” and was not crying, whining, yawning, licking lips or salivating in the car. A big change from the day before. She is so smart, she knew we were going to the school, and she rode along nicely.

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You will notice that she is wearing all her “jewelry” – prong, collar, reinforced leash, everything. I wasn’t going to use them and try her with the harness instead, but a little voice told me, “You’re going to be around a lot of kids and dogs – she may get stressed” so I went with the prong (which I do not like) but it’s what she was trained on, and my thought was, if we got into a situation, I needed to be able to control it.

I’m glad I did as you will soon see.

We went to the Vet and I explained that Maggie was not holding her urine in the night and I was afraid she had an infection. I also explained to the doctor that her separation anxiety, and anxiety in general, is getting worse (which is kind of hard for me to figure out, since I’ve now had three bigger operations and one small one, so I’ve been home a lot) to the point that she is getting unmanageable, and I fear she will harm herself in one of her Hairy Bullet frenzies. Also, honestly, it is hard for me to leave when she is shaking, cowering, vocalizing, and slobbering all over the place. I hate to see her like that and I feel very guilty.

Doctor Craig did his usual, wonderful magic, and gave Maggie an ultrasound on the tummy to see if there were any stones or unusual growths that could be causing the peeing at night. Negative. He took a urine sample and that test result will be back Friday. He clipped her nails. And, he found an ear infection in her right ear. So he treated that with some antibiotics via syringe, and she was much more comfortable almost immediately.

Dr. Craig then prescribed me an anti-anxiety medication for Maggie. He said that the urination problem could be stress related, too. I explained that we’ve tried the Thundershirt, extensive training, diet modification, a reward system, a dog sitter, everything we could think of, to make Maggie more comfortable and less anxious. This medication was a “last resort” for me and I really had mixed feelings about giving it to her.

However, my mind was made up when we were exiting the Exam Room. A beautiful white Cocker Spaniel puppy was waiting to be seen, and when Maggie saw him, she bared her teeth, made such a growling and snarling noise as I have NEVER heard her do, reared up on both legs, and tried to attack him.

Jamie’s basketball and hockey “defense” kicked in and he jumped in front of Maggie, so she landed with her front paws on his thighs. I grabbed the leash and popped it but Maggie was putting up a valiant struggle to tear the snot out of this poor, cowering, puppy. Finally I prisoner-marched her to the door and Jamie took her without further incident to the car, where they waited for me. I apologized profusely to the man and his dog, and paid my bill, and left. I was so grateful I hadn’t used the harness, which she might have slipped out from. Lesson: always listen to that inner voice.

I know that it is not because of Maggie’s breed that she is like this. It is because she was not properly socialized and more than likely kept in a cage and abused when she was just a puppy. Then, as you know, shut up in a kennel for 6 months with not as much human interaction as she craved. Poor Maggie. I wish I could have gotten her as a puppy. 😦 She’d be a therapy dog by now, and we’d be visiting kids and seniors every week.

(I tried a little experiment. When people asked me what kind of dog I had, I’d say, “A Pitbull” and they would frown and shake their heads. When I answered, “An American Staffordshire Terrier”, they would smile and say, “Those are good dogs.” What’s in a name? Plenty.)

So, Maggie, who is the most loving and loyal dog I have ever had the pleasure of sharing a home with, is high as a kite right now. She is very, very, mellow and relaxed. In this picture, I am petting her belly while she rests on the couch, blissful. Her eyes were actually closed until she heard the click of the camera/phone:

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I will work closely with Dr. Craig to make sure the medication is at the right dosage. For now, Maggie is relaxed, cuddly, and sleepy.

She’s taken such good care of me during the past few months. Now it is my turn to take care of her.

Your friend,

Elizabeth

5/19/15 (Terrible) Tuesdays

Tuesdays are usually terrible around here. Dad has a meeting every week, and that means Mom has to drive Jamie to school. Which means that, right after breakfast, I’m popped into the crate. In what seems like a long time, Mom comes home, but before I know it, I’m back in the crate for her to go pick him up. Then, they’re back, but before I know it AGAIN, I’m back in the crate so she can drive him to tutoring. (sigh) It’s a ruff life.

I have a lot, I mean a LOT, of anxiety, so Mom can’t leave me out of the crate, or I might hurt myself. However, I also get severely car sick, so she doesn’t have much choice in locking me up since the medicine takes about an hour to work.

Today, however, when Mom put me in the crate to drive Jamie to school, things were worse than usual. I crouched on the ground and started to shiver. Mom knew I was having an anxiety attack, and she messaged Dad, “could he get Jamie from school since there is early dismissal” but Dad said, “Not today.” Mom knew that meant less time out of the crate in between trips. She was so upset about my anxiety attack, that when she came back, she hustled me upstairs and under the blankets on the human bed. Then she brought me some car-sick medicine slathered in peanut butter, and stayed with me for over an hour.

Once I was nice and relaxed and rested up, Mom put my “jewelry” (collars) on, and I jumped for joy. I knew she was going to take me out in the little car.

Then, my anxiety got the better of me. Where were we going? Was she dropping me off somewhere? Were we going to the Vet? Where was everybody? I yawned, and licked my lips, and whined, and cried, but I did not throw up. The whole time, Mom kept talking to me in a soothing voice. She kept saying, “Jamie” and “school”, but I didn’t make the connection until we pulled up to the building and Jamie appeared out of thin air.

I quieted down right away, having put two and two together. I gave a big sigh, and stretched out on the blanket on the back seat of the car. I could relax. We were just getting my young human, and bringing him home.

Woof! Love, Maggie

dutchoven

2/17/15 A Day In The Crate Part 2

I think today was a rotten day for everyone here. Never mind that it is Fat Tuesday and I got a nice treat. I was in the crate for so long, it wasn’t even funny!

Mom had to drive Jamie to school this morning, because Dad had his meeting at work. So that was a little over an hour in the crate. Jamie’s school is about 30 minutes away when traffic is good. Mom says that today the traffic wasn’t good (probably because of the holiday yesterday – everyone’s back to work today).

Mom came back, but had to leave in the afternoon to get groceries, pick Jamie up from school, and take him to Algebra tutoring. Fortunately, Laurel dropped by for about an hour, took me outside, and played ball with me. Then I had to go back to the crate til Mom and Jamie came home.

When they finally arrived, tired, hungry, and frazzled, we had a joyous reunion. Mom promised that, no matter what, no more crate today.

Mom really hates to put me in the crate. She tells me she’s sorry. I know Mom doesn’t like to crate me, and I understand that if I am left alone loose in the house, my anxiety rises to the point that I might hurt myself. But I still don’t like it, and never go in willingly, even though the crate is large enough that I can move around in it and it does have a soft fleece liner. Maybe I don’t like it because I know that my people are leaving. When I was first adopted, I’d go in the crate to sleep, but now I like my chair.

awake

The other day, when Mom took a shower, I hid under the blankets of her bed. She didn’t see me and flipped off the light and closed the door. She went looking for me, and was afraid I’d gotten out. Meanwhile, even though she was only gone a little while, it seemed like an eternity to me and I let loose on the floor. I couldn’t help it. I was so frightened. Mom knew it, too, because she called me, “poor little girl” and didn’t even fuss about the mess.

(sigh) I’m so glad everyone is finally home. I’m ready to call it a night!

Woof! Love, Maggie

9/2/13 Guest Blogger: Mom Speaks Again, “Reflections”

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My fur baby, Maggie

It sounds cliche to say that having my first child changed my life, but it did.  I had hoped for a strapping baby boy, and I definitely got my wish!  Much later, and better prepared for parenthood (I thought), I welcomed my second son.  However, I was sick with anxiety and post-partum depression, and had horrible nightmares of dropping the new baby down the stairs, over the railing, or some other unimaginable tragedy, always with the same, inevitable result.  I spent a lot of time in a cold sweat, nerves jumping up and down as if on a psychological trampoline.

One of the ways I found some relief was to rest with my infant son.  With my hand on his chest, listening to him breathe, a feeling of relaxation would sweep over me, soothing my anxious brain like a lullaby.

Time has passed and my children have grown.  No longer can I lie with my hand over their hearts, marveling at their capacity to soothe and heal.

In May of this year, I adopted my fur baby, an American Staffordshire Terrier named Maggie.  True to her two-legged brothers, she has the wonderful power to settle down and heal her human mother.  Time after time, when Life has chewed me up, I call to my dog and lie with her, stroking her chest or back as the demons work their way out of my brain.  Patiently she stays by my side while my nerves un-frazzle.  It is a continual source of consternation and amazement to me that others would fight these nurturing creatures, or limit people’s ability to have one as a companion.   Am I going to win any Better Homes & Gardens awards for my sparkly-clean house?  No.  In the earlier years, my home had a wealth of toy trains, cars, airplanes, robots, Disney movies, and Cheerios dotting the carpet and furniture.  Now, my house is littered with shreds of “guaranteed indestructible” dog toys, dog accessories, dog-hair dust bunnies and the like,  but, I don’t care, because in my fractured daily existence, my dog helps keep me whole.  And that is far more important than a perfect house.  It makes the kids growing up a little easier, too.  Thank you, Maggie.

9/1/13 A Day of Firsts

The first was a day of “firsts” for me.  I think I’m making great progress!

Dad, Mom, and Jamie had to go to the store.  That usually means it’s crate time for me.  When Dad approached me to put me in the crate, I gave him my most sorrowful eyes and rolled onto my belly, paws up, pleading.  Dad stood there for a minute and announced, “We are leaving her out of the crate and we’ll see how she does.”  So, off to the store they went.  Dad ended up making his Gourmet Spaghetti for the first (and last) time.  He left a monumental mess, and Mom spent most of the night and the next morning in the bathroom.  But, I digress!

I am proud to announce that I didn’t chew anything up and I didn’t pee or worse on the floor.  All I did was a little…stress eating.  The half opened can of dog food I found was tasty, and the home made banana bread that was foolishly left on the counter was absolutely delicious.  I did test out the furniture a bit.  Springy!  When my people came home, they found paw prints on the chair, ottoman, and couch.  Finally, I jumped on the back door and threw the deadbolt, so that my people couldn’t get back into the house without their key.  Mostly, I behaved though, and despite a little garbage strewn around, Mom said she considered it to be a successful outing.  More successful than the spaghetti dinner!

It was also the first time I allowed Mom to vacuum undisturbed.  Part of the credit goes to Dad, who distracted me with my toy when Mom first plugged in my Old Nemesis.  By the time I realized that Vacuum was sucking up all my fine shreds of toys and dog hair, I was slightly worn out and decided he wasn’t worth chasing.  I got a lot of praise for this!

Not chasing Vacuum?  I guess there is a first time for everything!

Woof!  Love, Maggie