A couple of nights ago a former roommate dropped by for a visit. This friend regularly dog-sits for me and knows my pack well, although hasn’t seen them since before the holidays. My dogs were all sleeping in various spots around the living room as we talked. At one point, Mira walked over and I scooped her up and put her on her back on my lap (she’s that tiny). She lay there, completely relaxed, and licked my face. I didn’t really think about until I noticed my friend staring in amazement.
“That is NOT the same dog!!!” she exclaimed. And I suddenly realized how true that was. Normally when I would pick Mira up and put her on her back, she would go catatonic with every muscle tensed, waiting for either a chance to escape, or for the world to end. She also usually paced constantly around the house when not crated, chewing everything and anything, and pooping in the middle of the living room floor the second I took my eyes off her. I’ve always had to put her in a crate or x-pen when I couldn’t stay focused on her at all times.
All of that is gone. Mira has not only developed an off-switch, but she can spend hours out of her crate, lounging on the couch, napping all afternoon and evening, even if she hasn’t had a run. I can pick her up and she acts like a sand-bag with lots of kisses to offer. I can also come home and not have her scream for 20 minutes in her crate while I wait for her to settle enough to be let out. Instead, she is silent and patient. And when I do finally go let her out, she lies quietly until I open the door and release her.
This is indeed not the same dog! And thank goodness, I must say. I am unbelievably happy, relieved and excited about the direction she has recently taken. Mira has been one of the more challenging dogs I have had to work with and I’m thrilled to see substantial progress after all these months.
Why did this happen? I can’t say for sure, but I recently initiated two changes in her life. First, about 6 weeks ago (mid-November) I took her to a chiropractor for the first time to see if that would help with her hind-end issues. I noticed that she was calmer around the house after that, lying quietly on the couch when nothing was going on, and even falling asleep. This improved even more after her second adjustment three weeks later. At the second visit, the chiropractor said Mira had developed significant muscle mass on her weak side, indicating that she was weight bearing much more symmetrically. Obviously the adjustments did something important. Perhaps she had been in chronic pain and that is why she was so restless. Now more comfortable, she is able to relax and lie quietly.
Second, a month ago I started her on a new homeopathic treatment for her fear issues. I gave her one dose about a month ago, and the second last week. I believe this is a contributing factor to her improved mental state.
The combination of the two approaches appear to be making significant improvements in this dog. In just a few weeks, she has become much more pleasant to live with, and I’m increasingly optimistic about her long-term prospects. Who knows, she may even become physically and mentally stable enough to do agility or herding!