...and pixies, and ghosts.
I believe Bruce has a guardian angel,
Nothing short of divine intervention,
so I am giving thanks.
Not long after Bruce returned from doggy boot camp,
he got into a fight.
Dog owners will nod at this:
You've been there.
Your dog gets into a fight in a park and it's a disaster.
Owner screaming, hitting,
people watching and your dog is in big trouble.
Little chewed dog was not hurt at all,
but owner was after blood.
Local council gets a dog attack report
and Bruce gets a visit from the rangers.
I'd missed all his signs trying to tell me he was anxious
I realised Bruce was having panic attacks.
Suddenly his reactive behaviour fell into place.
He isn't aggressive with other dogs - he is terrified!
Living with panic attacks myself for over ten years,
I felt awful that I was pushing Bruce beyond his comfort zone
and not making his environment safe.
It was like saying to a person who is afraid of spiders
to touch one and be cured. As if!
When I called the doggy specialitsts
I expected to wait weeks.
The lady could fit me in that day
due to a cancellation.
Off Mr Bruce went to a doggy shrink.
And the best dog shrink in town: Sydney Animal Behaviourists.
Human shrinks are a third of the price,
but Bruce had the full deal.
We ruled out medical things with a blood test and physical.
We learned how to help him feel safer and
calm until his medication kicks in.
Yes. Doggy Prozac.
I want Bruce to enjoy being outside,
not be terrified of what's about to come round
the corner at any minute.
Thank you to great blogs like fearfuldogs blog
for helping me understand.
Back to the big scrape and our embarrassing incident.
Now here's where good stuff begins:
When the rangers arrived, one was Chilean.
Two good friends have just
returned a three month stay there.
Even though my charm button was turned on all the way,
I wasn't going to say,
"Hey I have two friends from Chile, you might know them."
It felt lame, so I shut up.
The other ranger's name was 'Denise'.
She petted and played with Bruce the entire interview.
So far so good.
yep - missed these signs as well.
If I'd have read them, he'd never have been pushed
into too close quarters with another dog.
Australia takes dog attacks seriously.
All a dog has to do is look scary
and it can be interpreted as a "dog attack" here.
Knowing Bruce already had a his rap sheet
we took pre-emptive action.
Maybe this was where I was finally listening to Bruce.
We got help.
Dog shrink recommended the best trainers
for anxious dogs in Sydney, again up to six weeks wait.
"I'll give them a call in any case," she says.
When the lovely Dr Caroline calls,
they ask what type of dog Bruce was.
"Oh, she said, I have a special place in my heart for Am Staffs.
We can fit him in this Saturday."
So Bruce got help fast.
our trainers gave us a series of gentle exercises
to boost Bruce's confidence and keep him calm
till the doggy prozac allows the white noise in his head
to settle down enough
to learn some new ways of dealing with stress.
Now every night I roll up special doggy canapes
with his meds - cream cheese balls rolled in chicken jerky crumbs. Yummy.
All this pre emptive work was in place BEFORE the rangers arrived.
We could demonstrate how we were handling Bruce
and that was a major relief. There was a fine - $550.
That would have been the end,
had it not been for our Chilean friends.
A picnic in the park the next week with lots of friends
and dogs running about brought a ranger van
rolling across the park towards us.
Who should pop out, but the same ranger.
On goes the charm button chemically enhanced by two glasses of bubbly,
but my friend had already spotted him.
Not only did they know each other from Chile,
they grew up in the same neighbourhood
and knew each other's families well.
Chilean ranger stayed and chatted in Spanish,
and let me know Bruce's $550 fine may not come for a while.
I have a feeling Bruce's fairies will be helping on that one too.