It’s Alfie here and it’s time to sit down and have a bit of a heart to heart. I find this very hard to talk about, but if Terry Pratchett was able to confront it then so am I. It seems I have some aspects of dog dementia. Our Mistress has been reading up on it to see what we can do and she is quite honestly struggling. I don’t have all the symptoms, but we’ve ruled everything else out and as I seem to be getting worse there is no other conclusion she can draw.
It started a while back and that’s when she resorted to seeing if a dog behaviourist could help. My anxiety levels around other dogs in many situations have become increasingly high. My reactions went from being anxious if I saw another dog, to being anxious if I saw a human who might have had a dog, to being anxious if I saw a car, which might have a human, who might have a dog. My reaction to the other dog changed too and instead of being passive anxious I started to become aggressive anxious. That was the point our Mistress decided that I would be happier not going for walks. To be fair, half the time when we tried to go for a walk I just didn’t want to go.
Things moved on from that to be barking randomly at intervals when I was with her. I was reasonably ok with Wilma but not so much with the others. I’ve got to the point where if I am in the office and another of the dogs is there then I just pace and can’t settle and bark every minute or so. Sadly, that has meant I now spend a lot of time having to sit in the kitchen so our Mistress can do her work.
She says she can see the confusion in my eyes and there are times I just don’t really know what to do with myself and just pace around.
By chance she found out the other day that if she sits with me in the chair we used to sit in when I was a puppy then I relax completely. It has a footstool that she puts her legs up on and then I lie along her legs and simply let all my worries go. They are the best times I have now. Our Mistress is increasing the amount of times she sits with me like that to include having her breakfast as well as time in an evening. I can cope with one of the others sitting with us too at those times, as long as they don’t try to climb on the chair too.
I know there are some drugs that might be possibilities, but our Mistress is very reluctant after the incident some years ago with Gabapentin, when thanks to the side effects I became quite aggressive within 24 hours and it took a while for me to get back to normal.
Now we’re trying some different approaches too, but I have to say they are not going very well. I’m wearing my thundershirt to try to help calm me. I don’t think it’s working but we’re going to keep trying. Our Mistress is also doing a little training session with me each day to try to make me engage my brain. I’m not finding them that easy and when there is the chance of food I’m getting a bit over excited. She is also having a session of games outside with me each day. Sadly I’m getting very over excited and become so worked up that I can be a bit snappy trying to grab at everything. She’s being as gentle as she can and trying to teach me to play calmly, but she’s having to be careful. I also don’t seem to know when to stop anymore and will run until I collapse if she doesn’t keep an eye on me. We’re playing fetch mainly with a ball and a frisbee and my plastic stick.
I get very worried if she goes out and I think she’s not coming back. Sometimes I really get it into my head that’s she left me, even if it’s only been an hour or so. I don’t do anything bad while she’s out but when she’s home I become very clingy and needy. I seem to get worse every time she goes away for a few days and she’s a bit concerned about that one.
Anyway, I just thought you’d like to know and our Mistress says that if any of you have any helpful advice at all, she’d be very happy to hear it, because she’s struggling and just wants me to be happy.
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