Sometimes the fact that a dog can’t talk is a blessing. Those times when you just want someone to listen but not give advice. When you want to take a walk or a drive without having to chat. When you just want a snuggle.
But when your dog is sick or afraid, everything becomes a guessing game, and it’s not always easy to know if you’ve guessed right.
Late one afternoon last week, I opened the front door and walked into a wall of smell — gaggy and disgusting. It had to be Tooey. Fortunately for us, Tooey was in her crate, so she’d had no opportunity to spread whatever it was around the house.
When I got to Tooey’s crate, I could see that she must have gotten into something that made everything come out both ends. Poor Tooey — stuck in a crate with all that. We’d coincidentally had a vet appointment that afternoon anyway, so I swooped her up in my arms, put her in the car, and drove to the vet.
She’d gotten into something, all right. We don’t know what, but something that introduced way too many actively reproducing bacteria into her gut. The vet prescribed antibiotics, and then away we rushed to the dog wash. That night, after washing and drying the dog, cleaning up the car, washing my clothes, cleaning her crate, and then washing all the various towels I’d used, I flopped into bed and slept.
That was easy.
Harder is the fear. For some reason, Tooey is afraid of people. When anyone comes up to her, she backs away. Fortunately, she’s not aggressive or defensive — she just steps away.
This is such a change from the day we met her. That day, she was thrilled to see us, two strangers. She ran with us, wanted us to pet her, jumped up on us for hugs, chased a ball for us, and hung around us as much as she could.
And with the two of us, she still does all this. After 3-1/2 weeks, we’re not strangers anymore. But with strangers, she steps back.
It’s a puzzle. I’m hoping it’s merely a combination of being in her 4th home for only 3-1/2 weeks and being 9 months old. I’m hoping that as she gets used to us, our house, and our neighborhood, she’ll become less afraid. That as she matures, she’ll become less afraid. That getting her some training and not forcing her into anything will help her become more confident.
So, just as I did with Cooper and all his various and completely different behavior issues, I’m talking to as many people as I can, reading as much as I can find, trying to figure out what Tooey can’t tell me, and how to help her.
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