Monday, November 1, 2010

A Sudden Behavior Change in Your Dog Often Indicates Pain or Illness - Meet some terrific owners!

Dear Misha May Volunteers,

Thank you, in advance, for all you do for animals and for being here when my family needs you. I don't know where to turn!

Years ago, my daughter felt that a dog was being mistreated in her apartment complex. One night, she heard screeching and screaming that sounded like a person. She called the manager who helped her investigate. The dog’s family had moved out and left the dog behind. The dog was in bad shape and was snapping at everyone. My daughter knew that if she took her to a shelter she would have likely been put down.

We have had her for almost 3 years. We have worked hard to rehabilitate her. We have been through 3 rounds of obedience training and she is a little star at it. We had felt like she had come around. Unfortunately, out of nowhere, she bit my 10 year old son today. He was just walking by her on the stairs. I was following right behind him, so I saw that this came completely out of the blue and unprovoked. What do I do????

My son is distraught and crying because he thinks he is going to lose the family dog and it will be all his fault. My husband will not even think of keeping her here (as sad as it makes him feel) because he feels like it is choosing a dog over our son. I have to be honest with any future owners, but any future owner from Craig's List etc. doesn't have to be honest with me about themselves or aware of their limitations in dealing with a dog like this. If I take her to a shelter, info about her bite history will be the first question they will ask.

Please, please, please call me or reply back with advice.
Bless you and thank you!!!
Worried Parent

Response to Worried Parent from Lorraine May, Executive Director and Head Trainer:

First, let me say how wonderful it was that you took in this poor abandoned dog. She is probably traumatized from that experience and not completely over it.

ALL dogs will bite under the right circumstances. I'm not condoning, just saying that something triggered this bite. Most bites happen in this age group. In general kids scare dogs.

If it is truly out of the blue, you need a vet evaluation for possible pain or illness issues.

Please write back and describe the bite: where on the child, bruise, broke skin, stitches required?

You are correct about taking her to shelter - she would most likely be put down. You are correct about Craig's List - creeps follow that list for free animals to resell for experiments and fighting.

We have no foster homes open at this time. We have no facility unfortunately.

Here is what we can offer:
1) We do in-home behavior evaluations if you are in our service area. We can assess the situation and help you avoid a repeat.
2) We can post her on our website where potential homes are screened through application and home visit. You would have to keep her in the home or pay to board her.

Also I am letting someone know about this from her Breed Rescue group. Perhaps they will have an idea but I know they just took in many dogs from a puppy mill situation. I will let them know I would help with her rehabilitation.

Dear Lorraine,

Thank you very much for getting back to me and for supporting us through this. Saturday, after I emailed you, I took our dog into the vet to have her checked out for perhaps some physical cause to her aggression. Unfortunately, we found that she has advanced liver disease.

We have decided to keep her and treat her as best we can for as long as she is with us. Perhaps with treatment she will improve in temperament, but the vet we saw was not optimistic. Even if she doesn't improve, we are committed to giving her every chance possible and loving her through this next challenge in her life.

Thank you, and the Breed Rescue folks, for being there for people and animals like us. Your understanding support kept me from making a snap decision that we would have regretted forever.
Best regards

Lorraine’s response:

Thank you so much for updating us. Bless you. I know how scary it can be when the dog we know and love suddenly doesn't act like the dog we know and love! I'll forward your note to the Breed Rescue people as well. All the best to your family and pup - she's lucky to have you!

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