Saturday, August 28, 2010

Can Dogs Have PTSD?

If you didn't already know, I guess you could call me a "mental health professional." I was at a conference today regarding PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder) and lots of other related stuff. At one point in the talk, the idea that shelter dogs have PTSD (or some doggy equivalent) was laughed at and waved off as an insignificant "muddy" topic. I was not a part of this verbal back-and-forth, because I have a strong opinion about animals, especially dogs, who are abused, neglected, etc., and how it can effect them, and frankly I guess I didn't have the guts to disrupt the conference because it was not an animal-related conference and this was really a more conversational comment that turned into a brief "debate." (I'm disappointed in myself, lol). I'm sure everyone who reads my blog knows which way I lean in regards to this. I'm not going to spend the next 2 hours looking up data to support that dogs are really more than just objects (GASP!), and I won't waste time defining PTSD on here unless you all want a more detailed post about this. My question simply is, what are your thoughts? What have you read out there to support our furry friends who have been affected by traumatic events in their lives? I'd love to see what you've got and what you think!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

What Is It With Beagles?

Once dad was driving down the road and this gem was wandering down the middle of it.

It was about a month ago. Once again, he out signs up everywhere. By the end of the night the owners called. They said they had a "small hole" in their fence that she must have gotten out of. My dad took her back to her owners. When he pulls up, he sees their fence, which has about a 10 foot wide opening, and the house is right on the street. They said they had a female dog who had a litter. They sold all of them except this one, and they were "starting to get really attached." They also talked to my dad about how this puppy's mom got hit by a car when the puppy was 3 weeks old!!!!! and she was now 12 weeks at this time. (So yes, these, err... "irresponsible dog owners" (I'm trying to be nice) let the mom wander into the street and get killed, didn't learn their lesson and let this little girl end up in the street!!) Accidents happen, but geeze, when do people learn!? Luckily, the puppy hadn't been hit. I'm sensitive about this topic because I worked for a few years teaching a mental health program in schools- one of the topics we talked about was grief, so many kids talked about their dogs who had died. I only remember a handful of kids who's dogs hadn't died from being hit by a car. It's just sad and so prevalent. I know accidents happen, but you'd think it would only take one of your dogs getting killed this way in order to put more effort towards preventing it from happening again!
So my dad leaves the house and the next day him, me, and my step mom were all talking about how we were scared this puppy would end up being used for breeding or end up dead in the street... so I said "Do you think they would be willing to get rid of her if they sold all the other puppies?" My dad quickly replies, "Call them and see!" We just didn't feel right about not trying everything we could to get her in a safe environment. So I called and told them about how much we liked her, and asked if they were thinking of getting rid of her. The owner didn't even hesitate, she said they were trying to find her a different home... Real attached, huh? Soo, my step mom and I drove back over to their house and picked this little girl up. My dad decided we should call her Peanut, because she's just cute, petite, and spunky!
Who, me? I'm a perfect angel, not spunky or crazy or anything! ...

Luckily, we knew my step mom's brother had been wanting another dog, so my step mom set up a meet-and-greet. It went great, so her brother officially adopted her! (They renamed her Zoe, which is fitting!). We only had her at the house for about a week, but she was really fun. Puppies are so entertaining, I love watching them learn and be curious about this world so new to them :)
This is Peanut trying to act normal lol.

Even though it wasn't what we would think of as a typical rescue situation, I still feel like we rescued her from a bad situation. I just hope the previous owners don't get anymore dogs if they can't take proper measures to prevent another dog from being ran over and killed on their watch...
In other news, Spuds smiles! Lol. Do any of your dogs smile? Spuds does it on his own, but will also sometimes do it if we scratch his face (I think it's more of a reaction type thing when we are scratching his face) This is the best picture we could get of it, but when he does it on his own he sometimes just does one side of his face, and sometime does both sides, ha! It's usually when we first get to the house after a long day of work. You can usually see his teeth when he smiles too, so this picture isn't a good representation, but it's still cute.

And here's Spuds in early spring. He was in his model mood when i took this picture of him next to the pretty blossoming tree. I love Spuds! -any attention is good attention for him, even if it is posing for pictures.

Hope you enjoyed the random mix type of post...more to come soon!
The Pooches

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pictures Come With Stories

Hey blog fam! I have managed to get some pics uploaded onto here, just had to make them a little smaller. I have been busy this summer, going to grad classes, doing my internship, and trying to work part time too. I'm also trying to do my first half marathon, so excited about that one!

Do you remember Brutus from http://This post... ? He is doing well at my grandparents, he seems really happy. They have cats, but no dogs, so Brutus just has a bunch of feline friends. He sleeps with them (the cats and the grandparents, ha!). I can't remember everything I wrote about Brutus in that other post, so sorry if I repeat anything here, but he's just such an interesting case. My dad and step mom were driving down a small back road around town and just happened to see Brutus walking along and he seemed lost (no houses around, no collar,etc). So my dad pulls over, opens the car door...and Brutus just jumps in the car like he had been expecting them or something, ha.
My parents put up so many signs in our area and surrounding towns. They got so many calls, and it hurt a little more every time my dad had to tell someone it wasn't their dog he had found. I think I wrote before that they even called vets, and I told the story about how we found out his name, so I won't repeat that. Brutus wasn't micro chipped either. Weeks passed and his owners never surfaced. We think he must have been dumped, but can't understand why. While he was at our house he never once had an accident inside, never chewed anything up, never had one behavior that err.."uneducated dog owners" may typically give a dog up for. He does show timid behavior a lot though, always seems to be a little hyperaroused (not hyper, not at all, but just really aware and wary of surroundings), so the only conclusion that makes sense is that he was a wonderful soul who was mistreated. But, he's in a great place now.

This is Brutus with his kitty friend Tigger. Tigger is about 11 or 12 years old. I remember when my grandparents rescued her. She was outside with a probable litter mate. They were small little kittens, and for weeks when they were first brought them into the house they would barely come out from under furniture. I, the adolescent animal lover that I was, spent what seemed like hours just tossing a string under the couch or bed she was hiding under, and eventually was able to show her that us two-leggers aren't so bad. By playing with the string each day she got more and more comfortable getting close to coming out from under the furniture, and just made progress from there as we played with the string! For years she would never have thought of getting on anyones lap, but with all the love she gets she has come around! My family is full of "animal lovers," and I don't know what science says about this, but I think I was passed the gene :)

Here is Brutus with Midnight. Midnight is probably around 13-14 years old. When I look at Midnight, I am nostalgic for childhood. I always see the same scene when I look at her: I remember being younger, and I see me and my grandparents preparing for the new year. It was New Year's Eve, I was cutting up construction paper into confetti, my grandma was getting pans to bang together, and Midnight sat at the glass front door just looking out, as she always seemed to do. (All of my grandma's cats were rescued from outside near her home, either injured, pregnant, or some other bad situation they were in). When Midnight was turned into an inside kitty, it seemed like she always kept a little love for the outside. I just remember thinking how pretty she looked while she looked out the window, and although she doesn't do it anymore, that's still how I see her.

I know this is a dog blog, but I have been wanting to blog for a while and I just like those pictures. So they seemed like the ones I should use!

Shadow says she misses being in the spotlight, so she made me take this picture!:

Hopefully we'll be logging on again soon!