Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Rest in Peace, My Mr. Lou

May, 2008 - November 30, 2009
This is how I want to remember my Mr. Cutey Pants, with a smile that lasted like I've never seen before.

This was our second aggressive Pyr. I trusted the person, at the time. He had a euthanasia order on him. The board of the rescue said no to bringing him in. He had bitten someone. The founder brought him in on her own. He fostered with a Pyr friend for two weeks. He seemed okay but he was surrounded by other dogs so he did not need to think for himself. After his three weeks with us, he had to be euthanized. I was then asked to send confirmation of his euth to the person who adopted him to me. The court order was in effect and they wanted proof that he had been euthanized.  Lou had passed a few temperament tests. I have learned that no amount of temperament testing on a dog out of his element will give a true result.

Don picked MA and I up and took us home. Something told me MA would not be safe to go into the house. She waited outside. Don let Mr. Lou out in the yard. I heard his incessant nasty barking. When I went out, I looked and saw him snarling and trying to get at MA over the fence. Strangely, I wasn't shocked. His behaviour had been in a downward spiral over time. It didn't matter that it was MA, the person who picked him up from the SPCA and drove two hours back with him. She brought him into her home and loved him and looked after him for two weeks. We had just visited with her only two days ago and had visited before that. His territorial instincts overtook him and he didn't see the MA he loves. He saw an intruder. When he saw me, he stopped and was happy to see me, he could relax. He dove into the muzzle, looking for pets and loving.

I put him in the back of the car and I sat in the back seat with MA in the front. Lou was still heaving from his attempted attack. He stayed quiet all the way, loving the attention he was getting from me.

On arrival at the vet's, he wouldn't get out of the car, growling like I've not heard before so I hoped that he wouldn't get the muzzle off. He would have attacked us. He knew where he was from his last visit and that, I thought, was a good visit but Lou obviously didn't think so. Dr. Murray came out to give him the sedative but not without a huge fight from Lou where he ended up in the front seat with Don hanging onto him. Dr. Murray finally got it into him and we left the poor heaving Lou in the car for awhile. When he had settled to an acceptable Lou, it was so sad to see him so sedated. My poor, poor boy.

When it was time, Don put the leather muzzle on him and carried him into the vet's. There was no fight. MA, Sue and I stayed with Lou while Don went to the car. He would have stayed but there was no room and he said he really didn't want to be there for another one. It was heartbreaking to see another of my dogs go this way. I loved my Mr. Lou. He appeared so happy in the beginning, always a smile on his face but slowly, that smile was disappearing.

My dear friends stayed with me and we gave Lou the love he should have had from his beginning and the send off he deserved.

Someone out there bred a vicious, territorial dog that only came out as he became comfortable in his environment and knew he owned it. Read MAs comment on my previous post. She goes into more depth about what a danger he was and her experience with the Lou. I understand now why the Pyr Rescue takes only purebred Pyrs. Dogs like Mr. Lou can result if the mix is unknown.

It wasn't my Mr. Cutey Pant's fault. I couldn't do anything even though I tried but I saw, very quickly and in discussions with Lynn, the hopelessness of fixing what was bred into him. I'm sure there was some abuse to Mr. Lou in his short 18 months of life, too.

Last night was so hard. No wet nose beside the bed looking for pets. No Lou leaping into bed looking so, so happy as he got his full cuddles, pets and kisses.

I say goodbye to you my Sweetie Pie Cutey Pants, Mr. Lou, Lou Lou Lemon, Mr. Lou Lou, Loopy Lou. You didn't deserve this. I only wish you could have lived a full, happy life with us. We love you and we will miss you so, so much.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

We have to let Mr. Lou go.

It is with a sad and devastated heart that I announce that Mr. Lou will be put down today at 4:00 p.m. After extensive discussion with Lynn, with his rescue, Maryanne, and another Pyr expert, for the safety of all, it's our only option.

He has been extremely protective of us as time goes on or he has real fears. His behaviour has been suppressed for so long that as he becomes comfortable with us, it is changing for the worst and all issues are coming to the surface.

At first we thought it was just the mailman or that Ed was afraid of dogs but it has become any people of any size, gender or even those he already knows. It was suggested that he senses our underlying tension as we anticipate what might happen. However, as I see his behaviour changing, I don't think it has anything to do with us but rather Lou's fears. My instincts are pretty good. I know that now.

Another line of thought, MA suggested, is he is not pure. He may be mixed with another extremely protective/territorial dog such as a Maremma.

This early, quiet, sunny Sunday morning we had the dogs out. We stopped to wait for Trickster as he did his business. Our female neighbour came out and down the stairs. Loup looked, she made a comment about how much livelier Lou was compared to Clara. Lou sniffed her and leaped on her and then growled before I pulled him off. It all happened so quickly.

He then bit our friend, Renée, whom he has already met and spent an evening with doing tricks for her and she rubbed his belly and looked forward to looking after him if we went away. That all changed. She came over last evening, she rang the bell and I let her in. I thought a few times that I should put his leash on but thought he already knew her so it should be okay. I had him by the collar so he didn't go out. She let him sniff her as she greeted him and he bit her arm, without warning that I remember. Lynn H. suggested any number of reasons he might have bitten from different clothes, to associating the crate with her to not coming in with Ed. In the end, it doesn't matter.

It is also becoming increasingly difficult to get him to go outside. In the beginning, he was so happy to go out. He always came and sat for the leash to be put on. Then, I had to click to get him to come for the leash and treat him. Then, he would go to his bed, I would put the leash on, click to get him to get up. Then, this morning, he went to his bed and then upstairs. Clicking had no effect. I had to pull him to get him to get up.

I hate to think about the life he went through. I find it rather strange considering he is so well-trained (very unPyr-like but then so is aggression) and comes galloping to me when I click.

Dogs shouldn't be disposable and that's what mine are turning into. I am devastated about this. Mr. Lou pays the price for bad breeders/bad owners. This is becoming a reoccurring theme, one that I will do everything I can not to have happen again.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Moving into our Comfort Zone

I must say. It's going pretty well, now. We can handle Lou without repercussions. When he starts barking like a Pyr does, I go outside and he stops before I say anything and looks at me as if to say, 'I know, no barking'.

We had him and Trickster out in the quiet side of the Farm yesterday. I left the long rope on him so he could run. And he did but he also came (sometimes he had to think about it, like a Pyr does) when called. He came more to Don more than me. That was probably due to his sterner voice. At one point (I wish I had brought my camera), Lou rolled and then Trickster rolled in the lovely grass. Lou took that as his cue to leap and play and away they went. It really is a joy to watch the two of them.

He looked at people today but no growls or leaps. He even saw the neighbour and looked but nothing. YES!! It could be, as Lynn said, the dark time is more difficult but I really think he is starting to fit in well as he becomes accustomed to his surroundings.

I'm sure we'll have a setback or two regarding the growling/leaping/snarling but I think it's going to be okay. He did snarl/growl at someone walking on the sidewalk past our house. I was on the street just coming back from our walk. Perhaps he is extremely territorial? I hope not that territorial. Or, it was just that it was dark and perhaps he's not used to being out at that time. He also hates bikes so we do have our work cut out for us. He also got upset about my nephews coming across the street to say hi. They were sad they couldn't say hello because they grew up with Clara and they love dogs. However, they are willing to work with me to desensitize him.

Don's car has no brakes I discovered coming back from taking mom shopping. That was not fun. All to say, we couldn't take the boys to the Farm today. We went for a long walk instead and they played in the yard afterwards. The photos above are taken today. It seems like we need a bigger yard but the Farm will do just fine for now.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Everything Will be Alright

I was getting worried. I had Lou out the other night. He was lying on the grass median, cooling his infected bits when my neighbour glided by slowly and silently on his bike. Lou looked for a couple of seconds and then leaped. Harold jumped off his bike and Lou reach over it and got his hand. Harold said Lou just grazed him but I was still upset. What good neighbours I have in them. Ginette, his wife, watched for me and caught up with me a couple of days later. They hadn't seen Lou and were quite worried I had put him down. I assured her we hadn't but we had to take it slow again with him. She was relieved for Lou. I don't think we would have in good conscience euthanized him. Besides, MA wouldn't have allowed it. He certainly isn't Ben and I think I've let that go now with a little help from my friends. We can do things with Lou and not worry about being bitten.

In speaking with Lynn, as MA has advised, go slow. She is positive about Lou. Again, she has the experience and knowledge. He's a rescue who was in a shelter for three months. Before that, who knows. First they said he lived with a drug dealer and then it was an elderly lady. MA says he has had some abuse as he cringes at certain things.

Lou and I visited MA and gang the other night after that incident. I figured it would do Lou good. MA's house is a flurry of activity with people coming and going, dogs, cats and kids and he knows her, of course. And, he is comfortable with Boudica and Maeve, his mentors. There was no problem.

I'm a little slow when people with knowledge tell me things like, take it slow with him. Too much new stimuli and he won't know how to react. He snarls, barks and will bite at people. I'm confident we can fix this.

Because I can't control him when he goes beserk, I now have a gentle leader for him. He quite respects it although will still go beserk over bikes but I can at least hold him. Don had him out last night down the street (he won't do it in the backyard). People went by and he paid no mind. Good boy, Lou!!

I'm working on having him connect good treats with the clicker.

His infection is finally clearing up and he is a much happier boy. He sleeps upstairs now, beside the bed, moving from one side to the other occasionally. He started out the evening on the bed with me while I rubbed his tummy and ears. THen he'd had enough and down he jumped. Early this morning he heard something outside and started to do a growly. I told him no, and he did a growly in protest but he lay back down and I rubbed his tummy. He really is a happy boy. The fence will be finished on Monday.

Monday, November 16, 2009

On the Road to Recovery

I sit here with my glass of wine as I write this. Don wrapped up my swollen knee in ice and my toe is in question. Broken? Who knows. I biked into Asticou today for a course. Beautiful, sunny day. I was turning and my bike slid out from under me. Black ice. Man, it hurt. I got myself up slowly. I then had to stand there for at least 10 minutes before I could move and not groan too loudly. But I digress from the star of the this blog, Mr. Lou.

Poor Lou. He had been licking himself almost since the day he came back from surgery. It had only become worse. Last night, I let him upstairs but no one got any sleep. He would lie down for 2 minutes, up and down, lick and up and to another room. All night. His scrotum was red and enlarged. I would think that had been going on for awhile. As much as I didn't want to do it, I took him to my Dr. Murray. Mr. Lou was so stressed with this infection already and his last experience at the vets was less than agreeable.

When Dr. Murray was ready, I put the muzzle on Lou and into the vets we went. I opened the room door for Don and Lou and shut it behind them. I didn't want to face what might happen. It would have been all too reminiscent of Ben. And, after the seemingly horrid experience at the neutering vet, I was very worried. I heard some scratching on the door and then it stopped. Muffled voices. Mmmm. Jenna opened the door and said it was okay. I walked in and there was Mr. Lou on the table. He wagged his tail in greeting. My boy was being so good. I was so pleased. Dr. Murray loved him up, too. As MA said, he will always need one of us to be with him for the visits and that is fine with us.

It turns out his scrotum is very badly infected so he is now on antibiotics and Metacam for the inflammation. Dr. Murray gave him an inflammatory shot in the office so Mr. Lou would get some quicker relief. He was such a good boy. He only growled once and that was that. I love my Mr. Lou and Don has been incredible with the boy.

Mr. Lou should get some relief soon and be able to relax again. He had a wonderful experience at my vet's and I think we're going to be okay.

We had guests over for dinner Sunday. Mr. Lou was fine with Renée but growled and barked at Ed. I think Mr. Lou has just been feeling so awful since surgery that he is beside himself. He hasn't been able to relax or enjoy life and has been very stressed. In a couple of days, he should be feeling better.

Soon, he'll be back to normal. They start work on the fence tomorrow.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Back to Square One

I'm feeling better about Lou(p) again. After consulting with my regular clinic and a friend of MAs, it isn't uncommon that dogs do this at the vet's. Here is an email response to my concerns from the practice manager:

Yes, things like that happen here. Consider Mr. Lou's point of view - strange environment, I'm sure the police encounter was not pleasant for him & he relates the uniform to a bad experience - now he is in a vet clinic full of uniforms??? He is scared, he is allowed to be. Animals have a fight or flee choice, he decided to fight - he already bit a police officer, so it doesn't surprise me that he decided to fight again.

I can't predict the future - yes, he may get more and more brave and then think he can control the world like Ben, but then again, he may be very happy with the world and content to continue life as he knows it - fight when I have to and love every other minute.

I'm sure you have gained the skill of interpreting body language and behaviours from Ben, you will likely identify them so early that ANY possible issue will be addressed before it gets out of hand and Mr. Lou will continue to be cuddly with you.

Lou also started barking yesterday on his walk at everyone. I called Lynn on this and she suggested that he has been overwhelmed by all that's been happening. It's time to lie low. Keep him in the house for 4-5 days, only taking him the yard for his business. Then start walking him up and down the street. If he is going to react to something, put distance between us and them. Then start going around the corner for a few days etc. All to let him get used to his surroundings and the different noises and people. It makes perfect common sense.

Poor guy. He's pretty uncomfortable after his surgery. Licking, walk, sit, down, lick, up, walk, down, sit. Just a few more days, Mr. Cuteypants.