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.
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:
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.