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Hi there everyone. I posted about Lucky when I first joined and called him lucky the Wonky poodle. He’s 14 years old and mostly blind and deaf. We need suggestions about some issues that have escalated with him.

His background:

Shortly before we adopted him, he was in a fight with another dog in the home where he lived. We don’t know the specifics but are suspecting he may have initiated it.

He nearly died from a wound in his neck but was treated at a vet hospital and turned over to a “no kill” shelter.

We adopted him in August of 2018 and, of course, he was on good behavior until he adapted a little more to our environment and established himself as a member of the pack.

Since then we have learned that he has some damage to his right front leg from either arthritis or injury and has an area of his lower spine from about mid-back to tailbone that is painful for him. He was limping and skipping with his back legs so we knew he had some issues.

The first vet we took him to gave us Vetprofen for pain. He did much better with the pain relief. When we ran out, we took him to another vet who did a blood test. His BUN level was slightly elevated at 36.6 (high normal is 29) but his liver function is 733 (high normal is 120). She believed the Vetprofen could be the cause and gave us Gabapentin and Galliprant for pain. She is also recommending a holistic supplement that includes Milk Thistle.

Here’s the problem. We made a big mistake trying to get a piece of a turkey tendon from him last night. We were so concerned about it getting caught in his digestive system that my husband reached for it from his side and slightly behind him. Of course he didn’t hear or see my husband and viciously attacked him, biting his finger pretty badly. It took a long time to get the bleeding stopped but it seems to be okay. Right after he bit my husband, I reached down to take the tendon away while he was laying on his side with it and he went after my hand. Im fine, no broken skin. As he turned to see who it was, he stopped immediately and I got the tendon away. Naturally, we corrected him both times with a swat.

He is really bonded to me, to the point where he injects himself in any situation where I am paying attention to our other little dog, Mimi, who hasn’t really liked him from the beginning. They have been tolerating each other pretty well but he has snapped and growled at her three times, the last being a more serious threat where he started going after her and she reacted by defending herself. Mimi is a Long Haired Chihuahua/Papillon/Pom mix (at least that’s what we’ve been told). She’s a very mellow, well behaved girl.

We love Lucky but we are afraid for Mimi. He’s been getting more aggressive as time goes by and we’re afraid to leave them alone together. We had to give up playing her favorite games with her because of his jealousy. I should note that we live in a small condo with no immediate access to the outdoors. He also barks every time Mimi gets off the couch or gets excited over anything.

We are sadly thinking that we will need to take him back to the shelter. Our contract with them states that we will bring him back to them no matter what the reason is and we are okay with that. We worry that if they deem him unadoptable, he will be euthanized even though they state they are a no kill shelter.

He’s clearly uncomfortable and hurting and we know that is probably a big factor contributing to his attitude. We’ve loved all of our dogs until old age or cancer gave us reason to let them go; one of our Lab mixes lived to be 16 1/2.

Help. We’ve tried to think of ways we can keep him but can’t get past the threat to Mimi. Mimi is 9 this year and her happiness has decreased since bringing Lucky home.

We welcome any and all input.

Thank you for reading this long tome and for any suggestions you might have.





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I feel for you, it’s a tough situation.

First thing I would not swat any dog, let alone a blind dog. Physical punishment does nothing for a dog. In this case, also, your dog did nothing wrong. You did by approaching him the wrong way. He doesn’t see you and abruptly touching him or going near him will startle him and trigger a defense mechanism.

Unless there is something you didn’t say, he is not aggressive, just defensive. Being amost deaf doesn’t help either. How long ago did you get him and did they not give you advice and support on how to deal with a special needs dog ?

I personnally don’t think it is okay to bring back an old and sick dog to the shelter. I think it would be tremendously hard on him and I think it is unfair.

Some people do have dogs that they need to be kept separate. Catherine (Lily CD) has two and she manages just fine. It’s just a different way of doing things. It is not a choice I would make, but since your older dog isn’t going to live that much longer, I would tough it out. And I would get a dog behaviorist to come to my house to assess the situation and help with some tips and training.

I think you can make this work.
 

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How about setting up a playpen with a nice cushy bed & food and water dishes in it for Lucky? I'm sure at his age and his condition he doesn't need a whole lot of running around space and a playpen would keep him away from Mimi and comfortable, except for when you let him out (supervised) and I bet Mimi would feel safer too!
 

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How about setting up a playpen with a nice cushy bed & food and water dishes in it for Lucky? I'm sure at his age and his condition he doesn't need a whole lot of running around space and a playpen would keep him away from Mimi and comfortable, except for when you let him out (supervised) and I bet Mimi would feel safer too!


This is a wonderful idea! Unfortunately, we have no room for even a small playpen. It’s a small condo.


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could you gate him off in the bedroom while you're gone, at least, so he and mimi are separated? and then follow up with separate play/attention times? he's in pain, so it makes it harder for him and for all of you. i would also talk to your vet (or preferably a veterinary behaviorist) about possible courses of action. i feel for you and hope you can come up with a solution.
 

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could you gate him off in the bedroom while you're gone, at least, so he and mimi are separated? and then follow up with separate play/attention times? he's in pain, so it makes it harder for him and for all of you. i would also talk to your vet (or preferably a veterinary behaviorist) about possible courses of action. i feel for you and hope you can come up with a solution.


We could try that. My guess is that he will bark incessantly and we can’t have that in our condo complex. It’s a thought, though.


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gating would mean he could still see out. maybe with a nice bed of his own, his own toys and water, he would be okay?
 

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Cindy, I know a lot of people will disagree with what I’m about to say, but I have to say it. You’ve only had Lucky about 6 months, and he has shown his “nasty” side more than once.

**** is elderly, and he is now afraid of Lucky, and I know you are concerned about everyone’s safety, including your 9 year old dog, Mimi. I don’t think, at the ages the dogs are, to learn such a drastic new routine as being separated from each other, and you. . Both of them want to be with you all the time, and that would create a whole new list of problems and be very stressful on your elderly husband.

I also know how big your heart is and that you wouldn’t readily give Lucky up, as I don’t believe you’ve ever taken one back that you adopted before, even when real bonding didn’t happen for almost 2 years at times. And remember, you haven’t had Lucky his whole life.

All I’m saying is to take your and your husband’s into thought. Mimi’s also. Don’t make a hasty decision, but decide what you can and can’t live with. I’m not trying to sound uncaring, you need to do what is best for your family.

Whatever you decide I’ll back you up. I won’t judge you either way, and I hope people here don’t judge either.




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Well you say he is 14 and has some health issues which cause him pain. I can undertandhis attitude because of this. I have a chihuahua that will be 17 later this y ear. He also has issues and is not good with the other dogs to be running loose all day. Plus he is very fragile and I have a standard and a boxer. I keep him in our bedroom. Mostly he just goes into his crate where he has a bed & blanket and water. I also feed him there. While its not ideal it works. I let him out to run around the yard or the house when the others are not free. Sometimes I feel guilty that he does not get enough "free" time but he is ok and sleeps most of the time anyway. I personally would not take an old dog back or to a shelter. I would just let them live out their remaining time staying as comfortable as possible. I also think your vet can give him a different pain med to help him. That way you other dog can be free and not have to wry about him. You can give him some "free time" by taking him for a short walk. I also think the pain meds would help him relax and he probably won't be barking. Put a baby gate across the bedroom door. Just my 2 cents
 

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Cindy, I know a lot of people will disagree with what I’m about to say, but I have to say it. You’ve only had Lucky about 6 months, and he has shown his “nasty” side more than once.

**** is elderly, and he is now afraid of Lucky, and I know you are concerned about everyone’s safety, including your 9 year old dog, Mimi. I don’t think, at the ages the dogs are, to learn such a drastic new routine as being separated from each other, and you. . Both of them want to be with you all the time, and that would create a whole new list of problems and be very stressful on your elderly husband.

I also know how big your heart is and that you wouldn’t readily give Lucky up, as I don’t believe you’ve ever taken one back that you adopted before, even when real bonding didn’t happen for almost 2 years at times. And remember, you haven’t had Lucky his whole life.

All I’m saying is to take your and your husband’s into thought. Mimi’s also. Don’t make a hasty decision, but decide what you can and can’t live with. I’m not trying to sound uncaring, you need to do what is best for your family.

Whatever you decide I’ll back you up. I won’t judge you either way, and I hope people here don’t judge either.




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I inherited a 10 yr old pom/chi cross Gracie from my mother when she passed away three and half years ago, Gracie was food aggressive, toy aggressive and people possessive along with having inappropriate aggression. Gracie had bitten people and was dog aggressive so re-homing her wasn't an option that worked out.

I worked extensively with my vet because euthanasia was a real option.

I tried holistic remedies

https://www.dogsnaturallymagazine.com/6-natural-solutions-for-dog-anxiety/

the Thundershirt

A Pheromone collar

Those have helped some not me

I worked using the Nothing in life is free training method along with Prozac and Trazadone, because her vision was starting to go (cataracts) my vet prescribed Petvision Pro) her vision improved 50%, Gracie is fed separately behind a baby gate and I cannot show her too much affection because she does get possessive of me.

It took awhile but we managed to slog through, Gracie is a lot happier and so am I.


So there are lots of things you can try that could help Lucky

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Well I am also going to make some hard suggestions too. I definitely do know how hard it can be to manage a household of dogs who don't all always like each other, but mine are all healthy and with the exception of our GSD relatively young and we have developed a good system for how to balance time so each dog has the companionship of people and one other dog much of the time. Everyone is happy 99+% of the time.

I think it is very hard to bring together two dogs that have no shared history other than a series of unfortunate life experiences. I am used to dealing with all sorts of dogs and all sorts of combinations of dogs and in my private training and group classes I have gained a lot of understanding of dog behavior dynamics. As the OP pointed out Lucky has taken his adjustment time to his new home and is now showing some of his true colors, at least some of which seem to be driven by old injuries, loss of sensory awareness and pain.

I do not think he is a good fit for your family. Your husband has been injured, seemingly badly enough to now be afraid of Lucky. Mimi doesn't feel safe around Lucky, so now both Mimi and your husband are kicking out tons of cortisol because of the stress of wondering what will happen next if they go near him. Any chronic health issues they are experiencing will only be worsened by their worries about being around him.

It would be beautiful to live in a world where old dogs, cats, turtles and birds would just go to sleep one night and not wake up the next day, but that is very rare. It is hard to part with animals we love and cherish, but when there are problems there does come a time when we have to decide whether the animal is really having a good quality of life or whether we are keeping them going because it is too hard to let go of them. It sounds to me like Lucky is also himself very nervous and suffering chronic pain. He also clearly is not a candidate to be rehomed. It would be cruel to make him adjust to yet another uncertain (from his perspective) situation. You have given him some good months, but at 14 and with behavioral problems that are underlain by health problems maybe it is time to think about letting him pass over the bridge. If this were my household and my decision I would do what I consider to be the generous act of setting him free of his pain and euthanize him.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thank you so much for your kind thoughts! I really appreciate them and the support for our unique situation. You know me well and this is the most difficult decision we’ve faced with our pets other than having to give our other dogs their forever peace. We are really struggling with this.


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Thank you so much for your kind thoughts! I really appreciate them and the support for our unique situation. You know me well and this is the most difficult decision we’ve faced with our pets other than having to give our other dogs their forever peace. We are really struggling with this.


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Oops. This is in response to jojogal001’s post.


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Well I am also going to make some hard suggestions too. I definitely do know how hard it can be to manage a household of dogs who don't all always like each other, but mine are all healthy and with the exception of our GSD relatively young and we have developed a good system for how to balance time so each dog has the companionship of people and one other dog much of the time. Everyone is happy 99+% of the time.

I think it is very hard to bring together two dogs that have no shared history other than a series of unfortunate life experiences. I am used to dealing with all sorts of dogs and all sorts of combinations of dogs and in my private training and group classes I have gained a lot of understanding of dog behavior dynamics. As the OP pointed out Lucky has taken his adjustment time to his new home and is now showing some of his true colors, at least some of which seem to be driven by old injuries, loss of sensory awareness and pain.

I do not think he is a good fit for your family. Your husband has been injured, seemingly badly enough to now be afraid of Lucky. Mimi doesn't feel safe around Lucky, so now both Mimi and your husband are kicking out tons of cortisol because of the stress of wondering what will happen next if they go near him. Any chronic health issues they are experiencing will only be worsened by their worries about being around him.

It would be beautiful to live in a world where old dogs, cats, turtles and birds would just go to sleep one night and not wake up the next day, but that is very rare. It is hard to part with animals we love and cherish, but when there are problems there does come a time when we have to decide whether the animal is really having a good quality of life or whether we are keeping them going because it is too hard to let go of them. It sounds to me like Lucky is also himself very nervous and suffering chronic pain. He also clearly is not a candidate to be rehomed. It would be cruel to make him adjust to yet another uncertain (from his perspective) situation. You have given him some good months, but at 14 and with behavioral problems that are underlain by health problems maybe it is time to think about letting him pass over the bridge. If this were my household and my decision I would do what I consider to be the generous act of setting him free of his pain and euthanize him.


Thank you. I don’t know if our consciences would give us peace by letting him go over the bridge and that is something very hard for us to deal with. Very very hard. We want what’s best for him but we have a lot of praying and thinking to do to find that answer.


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speak with your vet about your concerns. i suggest a veterinary behaviorist because they have experience with problem dogs. lucky's problems may stem from his normal personality exacerbated by pain or they may be caused by his pain issues. medication may help or may prove insufficient to deal with the issues. i think a good vet can offer you guidance so you are not left alone with a difficult decision.
 

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Thank you. I don’t know if our consciences would give us peace by letting him go over the bridge and that is something very hard for us to deal with. Very very hard. We want what’s best for him but we have a lot of praying and thinking to do to find that answer.


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You will do what is right for you and in your own time. As patk pointed out a discussion with your vet may help guide you to a clear picture of what is happening. My answer is certainly not everyone's answer. BF's GSD before our current one went to sleep one afternoon and didn't wake up. He had stopped eating about a week or maybe a week and a half before he died and I felt he was ready to leave the last few days beforehand. BF wasn't ready to see it but I also don't think he was surprised when he came home and found he had slipped away. I wish you peace.
 

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speak with your vet about your concerns. i suggest a veterinary behaviorist because they have experience with problem dogs. lucky's problems may stem from his normal personality exacerbated by pain or they may be caused by his pain issues. medication may help or may prove insufficient to deal with the issues. i think a good vet can offer you guidance so you are not left alone with a difficult decision.


I will give our vet a call tomorrow. Thank you!


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I’m so sorry your kind hearted rescue has forced you into this corner. There are steps you could take, like finding a veterinarian behaviorist, and good luck with that. There is exactly one, well-regarded, in Houston. You can tranquilize, contain him, address potentially very expensive underlying pain issues all the while stressing about how your existing household is coping with a “terrorist” in their midst. The Monks of New Skete, coined that term and acknowledged, as twyla bravely did, that euthanasia is on the table for bad actors. It must be, because there are plenty “good” dogs in need of homes. Your call, no judgement. Hugs!
 
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