Tuesday, January 19, 2016

A Long Time Ago, We Used To Be Friends

If you have been following this blog for any length of time, you may already know that I have three dogs.  I LOVE my dogs. To my husband and I, they are family.  We adopted Meatball in 2008, and Petunia and Harriet in 2010.  We have all lived together happily since then.

OK, it hasn't been all roses and sunshine, but for the most part, everyone got along. Then we moved to Georgia.  Nothing has been the same since.
My three fur babies hanging out in our hotel room on our cross-country drive
It happened almost immediately, the first night we lived in our new house.  Petunia saw Taco the cat, and all hell broke loose.  It was a downhill spiral from there.  Petunia and Harriet were always frenemies. They weren't the best of friends, like Petunia was with Meatball, but they tolerated each other.

In the new house, everything was different.  They couldn't stand each other.  There were fights. Blood was drawn.  Then there was the worst night.  The night everything changed for good.
Staying with family, a few days before we moved into out new home
My husband had gone out of town for work.  My mom was up for a visit with a friend and had gone to pick up dinner.  It was getting dark, and I had run into the foyer to turn on the outside lights so she could see when she returned.  All three dogs followed.

My mom put the key in the door.  Meatball barked.  I saw Harriet and Petunia glare at each other. Then they started to fight.  I scooped up Petunia into my arms in an effort to stop it from getting worse.

I had a solitary moment where I thought that the crisis had been averted.  Suddenly, Harriet jumped up after Petunia, and caught her tail in her mouth.  That is when she bit the tip off.  It happened so fast that I wasn't even aware of what took place until the damage was done.

Harriet and Petunia, the first few weeks in our new home
The rest of the night was a blur.  There was blood and panic and a trip to the emergency vet that ended in surgery.  Petunia was a trooper (and much calmer about the whole thing than the rest of us). In the end she was OK (and again, doing much better than the rest of us).  It was a horrific evening that lasted until I brought her home at about 2 am.
The last picture of everyone together, before our "new normal"
I asked the vet for answers.  Why was this happening?  How can our doglife have changed so drastically in just a few weeks?  Were they fighting for dominance in this new home territory? Would this issue go away on its own?  Could we go back to our old sense of "normal"?
We had Harriet tested for thyroid issues (which can lead to a drastic change in behavior), and everything checked out ok.  We went to a dog behaviorist, and that only served to provide a band-aid for a problem that obviously wasn't going to go away.  Things didn't get better.  We just learned how to work around them.  Stress levels were at an all time high.  I read as much as I could on the subject to try to figure out our next steps.

One of our neighbors recommended a consultation with a new behavioral specialist that specifically deals with aggression. They had experienced some of the same types of issues with their dogs, and this seemed to make it better.  I made an appointment, which is coming up soon.  I still have that nagging question in the back of my mind, "If this doesn't work, then what?".  I don't know how this story is going to end, but I am hanging on to hope.

I'm Erin

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Hi, I'm Erin. I am living back on the east coast after 15 years out west. Currently readjusting to humidity and mosquitos. I love to take pictures and read fashion magazines.... and to talk about nothing in particular (ok, and my dogs).

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