Tuesday, July 16, 2019

New Dog Dramas

Things are a tad stressful here at the moment. As I mentioned in my previous post, we fostered another dog on Saturday, a cross breed called Buddy who’s had a pretty rotten life so far and is the loveliest little chap you could hope to meet. We brought him home to Pippa, our existing dog, and things seemed to go pretty well at first. We introduced them on neutral ground and went for a walk with them. We let him off the lead and they played together, and then we brought them home. There was a bit of growling from Pippa now and again, but overall the first day was a winner.

However, on the second day, she started going for him quite aggressively. There’s this thing called “resource guarding” where the existing dog protects their things, toys, bowl, bed, whatever, against the encroachments of the new dog. Well, it turns out that Pauline and I are the resources that Pippa guards. She doesn’t like Buddy getting any attention from us. Most of the time, if we balance it so she gets more than he does (he gets one stroke, she gets three) it’s okay, but sometimes she just takes umbrage with him for no apparent reason. Like yesterday when I went to brush her with a new hair shredding tool. He wasn’t even doing anything, yet she attacked him. Why? my guess is because the new tool had had only one previous use, and that was brushing some of the funk out of Buddy’s coat on the day we were bringing him home. She smelled him on it, she smelled me on it, but she didn’t smell herself on it. Conclusion: I had been off somewhere giving Buddy attention in private, like some husband who comes home from a "late night at the office” smelling of a perfume other than his wife’s.

Another time was when they were both wet. I towelled her down, then started to do the same to him, and she was on him like a demon. And then last night she had to go to the vet (more on this in a moment) so I took him for an evening walk while she was gone. We came back and she was home. She saw me come in with the lead, then him following after me. Conclusion: we had been alone together again. She attacked him. It’s now getting so he’s afraid to come into the same room as her.

Buddy and Pippa.

So all that is apparently pretty normal for when you adopt a new dog. It settles down after about a month (a month?? God help us). At the end of that time the existing dog has come to accept the new pack arrangements and hopefully everything will be jolly. But to go back to that trip to the vet’s that Pippa had. A while ago she was in heat and was being plagued 24-7 by the local four-legged free-ranging Romeo, and I was worried that maybe he might have had a private moment with her while my back was turned. I did catch them at it once, but I chased him off before he got his rhythm going. Well, we noticed she was getting a bit tubby lately, sort of, filling out. We put it down to her not running around so much because it’s hot lately. However, yesterday, it her teats were noticeably enlarged. Uh-oh. 

After cursing the place we adopted her from for telling us she was spayed when in fact she wasn’t, Pauline took her to the vet’s to see what was going on. The vet squeezed one of her teats and milk came out. Uh-oh!

Then they did an ultrasound and … there’s nothing in there. It’s a “phantom pregnancy”. Basically all the ingredients of pregnancy, including in some cases labour, but without the puppies. Other symptoms include possessiveness, moodiness, resource guarding, and possibly aggression. So, while we’re relieved that she’s not pregnant, that also goes to explain the heightened sensitivity she must be feeling to Buddy’s arrival in her home.

Now some of you will be saying, you should get her spayed. Yeah, well obviously we should, but we can’t do that till all symptoms of the phantom pregnancy have passed. So we’ll do that in a few weeks … actually, no, we won’t. We don’t want to have her recovering from surgery in the middle of her month of adjusting to Buddy’s presence, so it’ll have to wait till mid August. And then, fingers crossed, we can all settle down to a nice normal routine. Whatever that might be 😊

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