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7 Mo. Home And What Am I Doing Wrong? Please Help


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Guest Moonie12

I have spent endless hours reading the great advice on this forum. I have tried just about all of it. I should start from the beginning. I have had Moonie since the end of Oct. 2014. Before that he had been off the track for 6 months. One month of that was with a foster. He will be 3 in July. He never raced.

 

The foster said he was fine all day in the kennel while she and her husband worked. He was fine all night in the kennel and didn't make a sound. However they had 5 other dogs and many animals in their house.

 

As the first month went on I noticed a lot of anxiety. I tried melatonin, a suggestion from the rescue. I couldn't even take a shower with out him barking the entire time or peeing/pooping on the floor. So I started the alone training right away. I couldn't go 5 minutes with out him getting into a frantic mode. My job was very helpful and understanding and let me take him with me to work. I work in an car dealership and kept him next to my desk. He had a nice bed set up and everyone loved having him there. I thought this would be perfect since he could see me come and go through out the day, and he would get some attention from my coworkers. I rarely spend more than an hour my desk, and am constantly passing him by. I could pick up my keys 50 times a day, stand and sit back down, put on my coat and sit back down just to get him used to all of that. A month in I took him to the vet to make sure he didn't have a UTI or anyother medical condition that would cause him to go to the bathroom in the house. No UTI but he did/does have hookworms. That also has been a constant battle from day 1, but that is another topic. The vet and I decided to start prozac at 20mg. He is now up to 40mg since last month.

 

I put him in the kennel when I had plans and he was frantic, I recorded him barking and panting, chewing up his bed, and biting the kennel bars so hard he chipped a tooth. He didn't care about the peanut butter kong or marrow bone. With more alone tranning he seemd to do better. So, I left him out while I left for short periods of time. He tore down cutrains, chewed door trim and door knobs. So I still left him out but just added the basket muzzle. Then he started peeing and pooping in the house.

 

April I started taking him home half way through my shift because he started to regress being with me. Sounds weird right? He would stand and pant ALL day. Once he looked right at me and started to pee right on his bed!! And he started barking again when I left. That's when I upped the meds.

 

So the past 2 weeks he has been peeing in the kennel. I know he doesn't have to go. He can hold it all night, and he does let me know if he has to go out. We are on a good potty schedule. The only thing I can think to do is feed him (again) in his kennel, I did this in the beginning to get him to like being in it, he is fine going in with out hessiation. We take a quick walk in the morning and a longer one when I get home. I could also try different meds, or add xanax??? I don't want to make him lethargic. I am currently waiting to hear form the vet. He is back to standing, panting, whining, chewing what ever blanket or bed I put in there for him. The barking has stopped becasue ( I know) I resorted to a correction collar, ( the sonic machines, and collars didn't work, the citronella spray collar or plug in didn't work, and the 3 dog DC's didn't work). The neighboors and my roomate can't take the barking, everyone has kids and it keeps my roomates kid up if I have evening plans.

 

I DO NOT want to give him back. I understand I need a lot of patience. I am wondering if he will always be like this. I was hoping I could have him medicated so the training would be easier, so we could have good days of training. I am hoping he will not have to be medicated his whole life. I am just up in arms with why he is so nervous again and peeing. It seems like things are getting worse again.

 

I am not sure what my next step is to over come this. I do feel sorry for him that he is so anxious, but I can't be by his side 24/7. And another dog???? What if they also have anxiety, I can't have both dogs like that. Do I give up and tell the rescue that he need to be in a home where someone is with him all day? Sorry this is so long. I am at a loss and any advice would be greatly apreciated.

 

Thanks in advance!

 

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First of all, I want to say that I'm sorry you're going through this. I know how it is. My beloved Mandy had horrible SA. It is so sad and hard to deal with. With a LOT of effort and much trial and error, I got it to where she was okay (JUST okay) with my being gone. She never was thrilled about it. I did a multi-pronged approach, including multiple medications, diffusers, exercise, peanut butter, a behaviorist, and crating.

 

You say you've started Prozac. It can take several months to really work. You may talk to your vet about adding Xanax on top of the Prozac. Xanax is quick acting and has a short half life. You may also need to consider changing to another medication. We started Mandy on Clomicalm, which went poorly. We switched to Elavil, which was much better. Most behavior modification is difficult enough, and if the dog is panicked, they are not likely to be able to "get it".

 

I tried leaving her out of the crate, with similar results as you -- she trashed my house, including eating several inches off the bottom of a door and chewed holes in several walls. In the crate, she would rock it until it moved across the room. I did move her crate, which helped a tiny bit. I had to muzzle her in the crate with peanut butter inside her muzzle, so she had something to work on.

 

Mandy was the lowest of low energy dogs and I would walk her to a point where she was almost comatose before I would go out.

 

I also had a DAP diffuser plugged in beside her crate.

 

I changed foods, at the suggestion of one practitioner, to a home cooked diet -- don't know if that really helped.

 

Does he do well with other dogs, could you try doing doggie daycare? We tried that, but Mandy didn't like it at all. The person in charge said she acted like she was annoyed with the other dogs (yes, she was a diva).

 

I learned how to do T-touch (Tellington Touch), again, I'm not sure how much it helped, but it seemed like I was doing something proactive.

 

I pup-sat and fostered a couple of dogs to see if a companion would help, it didn't help at all. Mandy wanted me. If you could "borrow" a dog, maybe you could see if it helps.

 

The behaviorist worked on alone training with us, it helped a tiny bit, but not that much.

 

Honestly, it just took a long time, probably about 18 months. I know that's not what you want to hear, but it's how it was with us. By the way, Mandy was fine in the foster home as well, and they didn't have any other pets. For a long, long time, I felt like I broke her. I remember crying on the phone with one of the senior volunteers, saying that I loved her so much, but she was so miserable, I felt guilty putting her in such a situation.

Edited by MandysMom

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Beverly. Missing my happy toy-flinging boy Sammy (Where's Mandrill), (8/12/2009-9/30-2021) Desperately missing my angel Mandy (BB's Luv) [7/1/2000 - 9/18/2012]. Always missing Meg the Dalmatian and Ralph Malph the Pekeapoo.

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I wonder if it would be worth rechecking for q UTI. Sometimes they don't show up on testing. There are people here who can tell you exactly what to ask for.

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Xavi the galgo and Allen the cat. Missing Iker the galgo ?-Feb.9/19, Treasure (USS Treasure) April 12/01-May 6/13, Phoenix (Hallo Top Son) Dec.14/99-June 4/11 and Loca (Reko Swahili) Oct.9/95 - June 1/09.

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First, how much exercise is he getting a day, particularly before you need to leave the house? Are people home during the day? Can he hear them or interact with them? Did you do alone training consistently until he was good when you left? Did he ever do well when left alone?

 

If he has been on Prozac this long without any change for the better, I would talk with my vet about trying a different class of anti-anxiety medication. It can take trying several different ones before you find *the* one that works for your dog's brain chemistry.

 

Many people have recently had success with the drug Trazadone. It is an off-label (meaning not FDA approved) use for canine use, like many anti-anxiety meds.

 

Separation Anxiety is probably one of the most frustrating experiences that a dog owner has to deal with. Some people have the means and the opportunity to do so, but some don't. If you decide to return the dog, it doens't mean that there isn't a greyhound out there that is appropriate for you. Most adopted greyhounds do not have this level of SA. Returning him will allow him to be placed in a home where he can be happy and healthy, and allow you to adopt a dog better suited for your lifestyle.

Chris - Mom to: Lilly, Felicity (DeLand), and Andi (Braska Pandora)

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Angels: Libby (Everlast), Dorie (Dog Gone Holly), Dude (TNJ VooDoo), Copper (Kid's Copper), Cash (GSI Payncash), Toni (LPH Cry Baby), Whiskey (KT's Phys Ed), Atom

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First, how much exercise is he getting a day, particularly before you need to leave the house?

 

Yes. Another behviour post with no mention of exercise. That has to be the starting point. Without waiting for the answer, keep in mind this is a dog that is not yet 3. It is not inconceivable that serveral hours of activity are needed over the course of a day. That said, this dog may be one of those that requires the presence of another greyhound. The OP seems to have tried most things, and enough time has passed that improvement should be seen at this point.

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Guest Moonie12

Thank you MandysMom. 18 months seems like a long time, but if there is hope I will keep trying. The rescue thanked me last time I talked to her for sticking with it, she said most owners would have brought him back by now. She did say it SA is a nasty thing to deal with. He is picky who he likes to interact with as far a the doggy day care. He turns his head at my friends pit boxer mix. He seems to like to play with smaller dogs at the dog park. Last Sunday we did meet our first greyhound! It was so strange that he seemed to be really into her!! He actually mounted her LOL! That was the only dominance action he has shown with another dog. My roommate used to have a cat, he just died. But he wanted nothing to do with it. He seemed annoyed with him. I would be open to bringing in another dog to see how it goes.

 

Robin, I am still waiting to hear from the vet about medications. So I will ask about retesting for the UTI. The kennel was dry today! But since he doesn't pee in it everyday I would think he's ok. He can hold it from 10PM to 8AM. So again I would think that's not it.

 

Greysmom, I take him jogging for 1 mile in the AM. No one is home during the day. He is alone for 7 hours. My roommate gets home before I do and lets him out. He hangs out with them until I get home. If I go out and kennel him when they are home he does tend to whine. She has covered the kennel with a sheet and she said that quite him down. I know I have heard many people say to let them see out since they are sight hounds, but this does seem to work. But the last week he has been pulling the sheet off and into the kennel. Yes, I have done months of alone training. Once I could leave for more than 20-25 minutes I would sit in my car (because I live in MN and the winters are cold) for up to 45 minutes. Then I would leave for an hour and so on. He seemed to do fine. I would leave me phone recording him and there would be a bit of panic for 5-10 minutes, but he would relax and quite down. He was also doing fine at work with me for the first few months. He was able to lay down, relax, and actually sleep a bit! I have not brought him up to work with me for the last month since he seemed to regress. It would be fine if I decided to start bringing him back and trying again. I don't know what triggered his anxiety there. I do have a friend who has a dog walking business. I was on the fence about it because I didn't know if he would "start all over" with being alone again. I thought I would call her tonight though. Thank you for the understanding if I feel like he should be replaced. I really don't want to do that and will keep trying. Maybe new meds would help. It is a crazy disorder! He is so sweet. I can take him with me to friends or family's houses and he does great.... as long as we are together.

 

Thanks for the advice!

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Guest Moonie12

KickReturn, I just saw your post. And there is exercise, perhaps just not enough. 1 mile in the AM and 1 mile when I get home from work. All winter except when it got to 20 degrees and less did we get out for walks. He's small and has no hair on his thighs, neck and belly and no fat he came to me weighing 63 pounds. The coat I bought him was not enough for the really cold MN winters. At this point I am considering another greyhound. That is what the rescue suggested may help too. I just didn't realize how difficult this was going to be. The first 2 weeks were glorious! I actually told the rescue I was surprised how easy of a transition it was. I spoke to soon.

Edited by Moonie12
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Re bringing in another greyhound, perhaps you can foster for your group.

Old Dogs are the Best Dogs. :heartThank you, campers. Current enrollees:  Punkin. Annie Oooh M. 

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:paw Upon reflection, our lives are often referenced in parts defined by the all-too-short lives of our dogs.

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I don't like SSRI's (Prozac) for humans so maybe it's not the best for dogs either. If it were me I'd ask to try trazodone as suggested earlier. it's is much more of an anti-anxiety medication. There's a wide range of dosing to try. And, very inexpensive.

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Welcome to GreyTalk.

 

The high end dose of Prozac (just increased in April) might not have had enough time to build in his system. I'd give it a little more time. (Prozac worked well for our SA hound while she was being medicated.) If your vet decides to try Xanax as a short-term medication, initially please administer it when you are able to stay home to supervise Moonie. (Xanax has the potential to have the opposite of the desired effect on some hounds.)

 

Several reasons Moonie could be struggling to hold his urine/bowel:

 

- Hookworms can make bowel control very difficult.

 

- Marrow often causes loose stools (difficult to control bowel).

(BTW, Kongs are okay to leave with hounds, but bones should not be left with unsupervised dogs. Bones can get stuck in mouth, splinter, etc. Many SA dogs are not interested in treats when stressed/left alone. Medications can affect their appetite too.)

 

- Separation anxiety is fear-based. When dogs (or people) are feeling extremely anxious, they often need to eliminate much more frequently than when they're feeling calm/relaxed, and perfectly healthy (no worms, etc.). Moonie is likely holding it overnight because he can finally relax knowing that you aren't leaving the house while you're sleeping.

 

Our SA hound needs at least 3 morning outings before human's departure: upon awakening, after breakfast/before human shower, and within 5-10 minutes of departure. Anxious dogs can almost always eliminate, at least urinate when given the opportunity, particularly when already stressed while watching humans' pre-departure signals.

 

If in another new environment all day (workplace) standing, panting, watching their human in action while hound is fearful of being left behind, a hound could need outings every 1 or 2 hours.

To answer your question. Anxious dog standing, panting all day in your workplace doesn't surprise me, nor does the urgent need to eliminate on his bed when he wasn't able to communicate any other way.

 

Our severe SA hound (11 years old) lives with multiple Greyhounds. They help her feel a little more canine confidence; however, they do not help eliminate her laser focus attachment to her targeted human. Long walks help tire her; however, excessive exercise does not eliminate the stress/anxiety functioning signals within her brain.

 

It's clear that you've been doing as much as you can to help Moonie. I understand the barking issue with your housemates/neighbors. I assume you already tried placing a "Bark Off" ultrasonic unit near him. I am extremely concerned about a correction collar on any Greyhound (emotionally sensitive breed, lack of neck/body fat or fur, etc.), especially a hound who is already struggling with separation anxiety. SA hounds are sensitive to the extreme. Research has shown that SA dogs (any breed) can be so sensitive that raised voices of displeasure are enough to set them back tenfold plus, magnifying their fear/anxiety behavior for a long, long time, and potentially creating new problems.

 

Hopefully the temporary medication will begin to help relax Moonie enough for him to feel more receptive to learning. If he continues to regress, I agree with others that your adoption group may be able to provide you a more appropriate dog for your life situation. Moonie may live more comfortably with people who are home all day. Good luck.

 

ETA: If needed, links below provide reputable professional animal behaviorists. Positive, reward-based training methods are recommended (supported by science). Please beware of outdated negative, punishment-based methods found on the Internet/TV.

www.certifiedanimalbehaviorist.com

http://www.dacvb.org/resources/for-the-public/

Edited by 3greytjoys
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No offense intended, but a mile is really not much exercise. I mean jogging for a mile would KILL me, but I'm 53 and I have two fake hips! But to a dog, a mile isn't a lot, and unless you're a really fast jogger, he's probably barely trotting.

I am so sorry for what you're going through. My first Greyhound had SA too.

Since your dog never raced, he may not be used to being crated. That might be part of the problem. I was told by my vet that Prozac can actually backfire and cause a dog who is inclined to vocalize to do it more. Not sure if that's true, but clearly Prozac isn't working. Rather than increasing the dose, I'd try a different medication.

Sadly, this may be one of those dogs who just doesn't do well as an only dog.

Things that helped my SA boy were: DAP diffusers, LOTS of exercise (45 minute power walk in the AM), NO crate (he hated his crate!), and a very strict routine. I mean I did everything at the same time every day. Exercise, walks, meals, bedtime. Any change threw him for a loop.

I got him to be quiet by ditching the crate, but I never did 100% lick the peeing issues and I spent thousands of dollars on meds and vet care and tests.

Rest assured, if you do consider a second dog, you can find a group who will make sure the dog isn't a second anxious dog. For my second grey I gave a short list that included: 1) must be OK alone, 2) must be cat safe, and 3) must have a bladder the size of Texas. I didn't care what the dog looked like or anything else, and I put my trust in the group, and they found me the perfect boy.

Whimpered for a few minutes a day for the first week, and after that--he's a "I live alone" rock star!

Edited by GeorgeofNE


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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I am sorry that you have had to go through all of this. It sounds like you have really gone above and beyond what a lot of adopters would. It must be frustrating to see such a lack of improvement. I also know how stressful it can be to have a barking dog when you have close neighbours/roommates, etc.

 

I do agree about the exercise, young greyhounds (from what I hear) are extremely energetic and crazy. In many cases they need quite a bit of exercise and off leash running if you can find a safe spot (as well as mental stimulation such as clicker training, trick work, nose work, etc.). I used to jog mine about 3 miles (plus off-leash) before work, as well as an hour after work. More exercise can definitely help, but if the SA is extreme, it may not be a fix-all of course.

 

You may not be doing anything wrong, you may just have a dog that isn't a good fit for your situation. Greyhounds grow up in packs, and to suddenly be on their own can be very scary for some of them. At the same time, you don't want to end up with two dogs having issues. If you could "borrow" a calm, well mannered dog from a friend (doesn't necessarily have to be a greyhound) or try a foster, that might be able to tell you if that is a solution. Otherwise, if you and your dog are miserable, you may want to think about finding a better fit, as hard as that can be.

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Guest Moonie12

Thanks everyone. I called a dog walker and hopefully she can fit me in. It just weird that he was doing better week by week. Than things started to decline. He doesn't poop in the house. He only pees when alone, so again I'm assuming it's from stress. Hopefully the vet will call me today! And I will start doing longer walks and runs. I'll call the rescue also and see if I can foster. I called yesterday but haven't heard back.

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Guest normaandburrell

I too really think you should be commended. The increased exercise and fostering another dog (one that does not have SA) could be the trick. Our Iceman is about the same age as your dog and he needs a lot of exercise, a two mile walk-jog in the morning as well as 2-3 30 minute exercise periods a day where he can do zoomies.

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Guest Moonie12

Thanks! It's been a long 7 months of me adjusting to his needs. Sleeping on the couch, not going out changing his food, it goes on and on. But there are many dog parks close to me so I'll look into buying a pass. I go out to the suburbs with him because they seemed nicer but convienence is now the key!

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Dog park might well backfire.

 

You might search this forum for the many, many discussions of why they are/aren't a good idea for Greyhounds with their thin skin.


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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Guest Moonie12

I really appreciate all the advice! I have been walking longer before and after work. 6 days (since I posted), in a row the kennel has been dry. I did leave for 4 hours on Sat. I did more alone training this weekend and he did well. I thought I would try bringing him to work again today, and he was back to the whining and panting so I took him home half way through my day. I got a hold of a friend who had a dog walking business and she is going to start coming tomorrow. I was on the fence about it because I didn't want him to get nervous all over again after she leaves. I am going to invest in a camera so I can see how he does with the transition. She warned me he may not like being left alone again as that was her experience with another dog with SA. She has another grey that she walks and she thought it would be good to get them together! I hope this is all it takes. I really don't want to have to medicate him more if I don't have to. I will give it more time with this new schedule and see how it goes. Thanks again for all the support!!

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Glad to hear about the dry kennel. It is always nice to see how your dog does when they are thoroughly exercised. I know for many people it is very difficult to give their dog the proper amount of walking when they are rushing off to work. It takes real discipline to get up an hour or two early and go for a serious hike with the dog. And in the winter...in MN... that is very tough if not impossible. But if it helps do everything you can. I am not in favour of running with Greyhounds. I think they benefit more from a long walk with tons of sniffing. It serves the body and mind better IMO. If you have a spot where your grey can blast around at full tilt as part of a walk, that's a bonus. I have a very content grey, but even so he is happier with 3 hours of walking per day then just two.

 

For the winter you may need booties, a head cover and for a coat I recommend the Great White North by Chilly Dogs.

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Guest Moonie12

Thanks KickReturn. I'm not a runner. But I just heard if you want to do that or go for really long walks you need to build up the stamina. I was just thinking if he tired out more jogging for a mile, than walking i'd try that. He likes to trot when walking, it's lots of correcting ( saying slow ) when we walk in a slow pace. My fast walk barely keeps up with his trot. I'm 5'1". That's why the jogging is going on. As I said I'm not a runner, I'm not trying to run him miles a day, I can't! Lol! The walker came over today with her dog and they got along very well. They played and walked. He was dragging on his walk tonight! I do love him and really can't imagine bringing him back. I will continue to work with him. I just wonder if he will always be like this, if it gets better and will he stay better. I see now it all depends. I will look into getting a better coat and boots for next winter! He wore out the boots I bought last winter!

Edited by Moonie12
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  • 4 weeks later...

Hi there, Moonie - I have no advice, as I have never dealt with a SA-dog before - but I wanted to commend you on working so hard to help this guy overcome his fears. Regardless of whether you end up returning him in the end, or you're able to keep him, I think you should be really proud that you tried so much with him and care for him so much.

 

We did have a boy who was destructive when we left and it was difficult to deal with. With him, it was intermittent - he'd be fine for months and then one day, we'd come home to destruction. We tried all kinds of things, more exercise, DAP diffuser, training, toys, Kongs, etc. and nothing really helped. The end conclusion was that he just sometimes got bored and would "entertain" himself by destroying things. No accidents, no whining/barking or anxiety - just destruction. Sometimes it would happen in pockets - like every few days for a couple of weeks and other times he'd go 8-9 months with nothing and one day he'd just destroy stuff. We dog-proofed as much as possible, kept things cleaned up, got trash cans with lids, etc. - he never cared much for Kongs or other toys that he had to "play with" in order to get food, and no amount of exercise helped (and we had to be careful because he had multiple heart conditions).

 

Anyway, my heart goes out to you. I really hope you find a solution for him. But do know, if it doesn't work for you - I hope you have no regrets, as I think you've really tried everything you could. Best of luck!

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Just like to mention Patricia McConnell. One of her books is on this and you would probably find it most useful. BTW they are very short and she is well known. Any of her stuff is good useful info e.g. "The Other End of the Leash."

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Mid day dog walker did NOT help my SA dog at all. In fact, the dog walker would find him dry, and I'd get home three hours later and he would have peed. He hated being "abandoned" twice instead of just once. I bagged it after two weeks.


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Susan,  Hamish,  Mister Bigglesworth and Nikita Stanislav. Missing Ming, George, and Buck

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My old guy who is now 12 had SA bad when we got him. He tore our house apart but we kept at it like you have. The only thing that helped was a buddy. He needed to have a companion. She kept him from worrying. He worried about everything. He is very sensitive. You cannot raise your voice or he will jump up on his bed, his safe spot. Sometimes he even shakes. We could just be talking but he can't tell the difference. He is a big hugger, snuggler, and playful hound. He is fine now, but when we first got him, I thought I would pull all my hair out. He pulled the back off of our sofa. He chewed on all our furniture. The sour stuff you put on it . . . . he would lick it up. Ha! Ha!

 

It is hard but when they worm into your heart, you will do what you can to help them.

 

GOOD LUCK!

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