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Tripawd Siblings - Feeling Left Out, Depression, etc.
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Linden, MI
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8 May 2009 - 4:32 am
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Not sure if I am posting this in the right category, but I haven't yet been able to find a post that addresses this particular issue. That is, what about our non-Tripawd dogs?  What types of experiences are people having with their “other” dogs when one of them comes home as a Tripawd, and just in day-to-day life in general?

I have 2 Danes, one Dane Nova, who became a Tripawd in 11/08 and Emmy, my second Dane who is about 8 months older than Nova, and always the “big cheese”. Before Nova's surgery, Emmy was always the food stealer, would push Nova around, wrestle with her, steal her toys and treats, etc. The day Nova came home from amp surgery, Emmy's entire demeanor changed.  She now stepped back to let Nova eat first, made no attempt to wrestle with her, didn't growl when Nova bumped into her, and in general was just much more gentle with her all around.  Now that Nova is now blind, Emmy has even assumed the role of “seeing eye dog” and serves as Nova's protector, walking beside her to make sure she doesn't bump into things, guide her to her food dish, etc. It is so cute. I did nothing to make Emmy change, she just did it all on her own.

Ok, my big question here is that it seems that Emmy has developed some sort of illness/depression that no one can seem to figure out what it is.  She has gained an enormous amount of weight, this is on a reduced-fat diet, and I have even been cutting her portions. She appears depressed and mopey a lot of the time. It took me some time to realize things were different (I feel so awful, with all of Nova's dog-dramas Emmy gets ignored), but when I did, I got her right to the vet. He suspected thyroid problems, but tests came back normal. We even had chest and abdominal xrays done, bloodwork, nothing. My vet was at a dead end and said perhaps she was just depressed and perhaps getting less exercise than she did before Nova's surgery, and that was what was making her so sluggish. Or maybe she's just sad because she's feeling ignored. I've been trying to show her some extra love and affection, but she is still mopey and sad.

I know she must have some sort of dog depression going on, since in the past few weeks Nova has sometimes been gone for long stretches and even spent overnight in an emergency clinic. Each time Emmy was even more down when I would return without Nova, and when Nova did return, she would be elated.  I guess that leads me to another question, for those that have dogs that have passed on, how do the remaining dog(s) react to the loss?  Does the grief heal over time?  I know dogs must grieve in some way, I have seen it myself when my uncle died and his dog did nothing but sit by the front door waiting for him to come home from work for 2 YEARS after he died.

My kids have even started to rebel, accusing me of “caring” more for Nova than for Emmy. Argh!

Would love to hear about others' experiences with “Tripawd Siblings”…

Sue and Nova

Dane Mom Sue at nova.tripawds.com and Mom to Beautiful Great Dane Queen Nova, a Blind Tripawd, who kicked cancer's butt from 11/08-03/13. The Queen is Spirit Nova now, but her legacy lives on here at Tripawds!

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8 May 2009 - 7:51 am
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Sue, what a great topic. We think this forum is a great place to post this (we changed the description a little).

Since we were a one-dog family, we don't have the experience to share when it comes to siblings. But, we have heard otherrs mention this before too, so we know there will be some good insight offered.

We are totally convinced that dogs get “depressed” as we understand it in human terms. But, we do believe that they absorb our energy and their behavior can definitely reflect how we, our our families, are feeling. Maybe Emmy is picking up on all of the activity going on; Nova's overnight stays, the kids' feelings, maybe a little of your guilt too. It's a lot for a dog-in-charge to absorb all of a sudden, her world has been completely changed.

In another post I mentioned how I am reading a book called “The Nature of Animal Health” (stay tuned for a blog review). I just got to the section about Bach's Flower Essences. Dr. Marty (the author, and Oprah's vet) recommends using Bach's Rescue Remedy for dogs who are showing signs of experiencing signs of depression or grief. It can also be used for humans too. Rescue Remedy is a gentle homeopathic medicine, a liquid tincture comprised of essences of different flowers, mostly the Star-of-Bethlehem flower. It's administered on the tongue.

I know some people think stuff like this can be a lot of hoo-hah, but the herb is so harmless, according to Dr. Marty, that it's worth a try.

I can't wait to hear what other advice people offer. This is a great discussion.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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8 May 2009 - 8:01 am
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We had a little of that with Caya, our German Shepherd.  We got Caya and Tika at the same time and they are the same exact age.

Caya went into the mode of bad behavior will illicit attention, and bad attention is better than no attention at all.  She was up on the counters, chewing up my shoes, chewing up furniture.  Not cool, little dog!

I started taking Caya out for some one on one time after Tika started getting stronger, I would get her up to the lake for some off leash time, car rides, visits to my coworkers.  That helped get her out of her funk. 

I make a point of doing just Caya things now, unfortunately, part of this is to also prepare her for the future when we lose Tika.  I am worried about Caya though, Tika has always been an old soul since she was a puppy, and Caya has always seemed to use her as an emotional compass, so what will happen when Tika's gone?

I guess my thoughts would be to get Emmy out on her own for a bit?

Good luck!

Kim, Tika and Caya.

Kim and Spirit Tika http://www.tika.....ogspot.com

Mesa, AZ
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8 May 2009 - 2:50 pm
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When we brought Chuy home our dog Gretchen was happy to have a playmate as was our other dog Rory.  Chuy has developed problems in his back legs that are requiring surgery, so of course we are babying him a little more than normal.  Gretchen started to react as if she were down in the dumps.  I found that spending (what I call) “Mommy & Gretchen time” with her, she has perked up.  We play ball, just the 2 of us for about 15 minutes each evening.  I also make it a point to walk Gretchen & Rory every morning when it's still cool enough out.  This way they both get time away, without Chuy (who can't go for walks right now). 

Rory never showed any signs of depression, but since Chuy has developed the problem in his rear legs, Rory has been a little more careful around him.

Chuy, showing everyone that Tripawds do everything 3 times better than regular dogs!

Chuy's Short Stories


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8 May 2009 - 7:29 pm
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It is very true that dogs can get depressed, although I almost always see weight loss rather than weight gain.  Did your vet do a full thyroid panel or just a total T4?  Many of these big dogs can have a normal T4 but the free T4 (or fT4) will be low and the symptoms can be lethargy, depression, weight gain, and sometimes hair loss.  Our Dogue de Bordeaux mastiff has this condition and I had to do 2 different fT4 tests to find it.  He is now normal and active again with meds.

I have also noticed that my other 2 dogs were very different when Tazzie first came home.  They were very gentle with her and seemed to know that she needed extra attention. Now that it has been almost 9 months they are back to rough-housing so I still have to supervise play sessions.

I also know what you mean about not paying as much attention to the other animals.  This past month I noticed that our10 year old Pitbull Kona wasn't eating as fast as she used to.  She is normally a pig but I had added a new arthritis supplement to her food so I thought that was the cause for her decreased appetite.  I brought her in 2 weeks ago and did a full blood panel (normal) and xrays.  Her chest rads were clear but she had a 6-8 inch mass in her abdomen!  I couldn't tell which organs were involved on her ultrasound so I did an exploratory the next day.  The mass was at the junction of her small and large intestine and was wrapped in fat and blood vessels.  I ended up removing most of the mass as well as about 1 foot of small intestine.  She is a tough dog and was eating and trying to play the next day, but I am still waiting for special stains to be performed on the biopsy.  I just know that it is a sarcoma that appears to be slow growing but probably malignant.  We have an appointment with the oncologist in 2 weeks.  I can't help but wonder if I would have caught it sooner if I wasn't so focused on Tazzie.

Pam and Tazzie

Northern CA
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8 May 2009 - 7:41 pm
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Sue,

Great topic. I didn't notice much behavior change in Rookie after Wrigley's amputation- but I did make sure to give him his one on one time- made sure he knew he was still top dog.

I did however notice a HUGE change in his behavior after Wrigley passed. The last night with her he layed by her all night- licking her every now and then. For about a week after, everytime I would pull into the driveway he would run to the car to see if she came back. I noticed him moping more and more each day- no matter what I did. I tried to keep him active, but he just was real mopey. ( but so was I , so he could have been feeding off me too.) I did then try to make sure he did not see me when I had my break downs of  non stop crying. That helped a bit, but he was still seeming more and more depressed. I did show him her ashes when we got them back.

I did get very worried about him. I was worried he would make himself sick. We did try the Bach's Rescue Remedy- It was hard to tell if it helped cause I think it is more of a calming formula, and he was already pretty calm. I have heard the rescue rememdy works very well for dogs who are anxious ( cats too)

So, we did end up adopting another dog- for Rookie. She is a one year old shepherd mix- he is very happy with her. She pulled him out of whatever funk he was in. He runs with her in the yard, like he and Wrigley did before she got sick. It is good to see him play again.
It was really hard getting another dog so soon. I still find myself having feelings of guilt like I'm letting Wrigley down moving on so soon, but seeing Rookie so happy again, makes me really believe this dog was “heaven sent” by our little angel- she knew her brother needed a friend. ( He never was very good on his own.  Wrigley taught him how to be a dog when we first got the two of them)

I have also heard of some incidences where the sibling is  not bothered at all when the other passes. So I think it does depend on the situation.

I definitely think animials do experience grief- maybe not exactly as our human emotion, but in their own sense I think they grieve.

I have had many pets that have demonstrated this..

Take Care-

Seanne and Angel Wrigley

Linden, MI
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9 May 2009 - 5:08 am
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Pam,

I am so sorry to hear about Kona's mass in her abdomen.  This is exactly the sort of thing that I worry about with Emmy. I just have this feeling that I have been so focused on Nova for so long, that I might be missing something really big with Emmy.  I am not sure with the thyroid test if it was a full panel or just a T4.  He just said it was normal. Chest and abdominal xrays showed nothing suspicious. I asked him where to go from here and he said we coudl do an ultrasound, but didn't think it very urgent that we do that. Plus, I am so broke from all of Nova's expenses (glaucoma meds are horrendous, and a half dozen emergency trips have destroyed the budget).  Emmy has always been a pig, but recently has occasionally turned down a meal, which is unheard of for her. Very sluggish, and she almost lumbers around, it almost looks like limping a little, like she's uncomfortable somehow, but she can't find any problems on any of her legs. Considering she's not eating more, I just can't figure out where the weight gain is coming from.

The vet seems to think that perhaps Emmy has just had less activity because of Nova, and that could be true. Since Nova's surgery I have pretty much supervised each time she went out, and often Emmy would just come out and go back in at the same time. Now that Nova is blind, I am pretty much by her side every time she goes outside, so there is even less time spent outside.  Last night I finally got Emmy to go out for a walk. She is not a “walking” type of dog usually, we have an invisible fence and she simply will not leave the property unless she is in the car.  I put her in the car, drove around the block, and got out down the street, and she willingly got out for a walk. We walked to a neighbor's where there were tons of kids who fawned all over her, while she leaned on everyone, gave out high fives, etc. I think she enjoyed all the attention. But when I got her home she konked out and went to sleep, wasn't even interested in dinner. Didn't even react when Nova swooped in to steal her dinner and her favorite stuffed animal (which is unheard of). There just has to be more to the story with her, I just can't figure out what.

Seanne, I totally understand the reasoning behind getting another dog so soon. My two girls are so close, so I think I would do the same thing (my husband is cringing right now!). I have just always planned that Nova would pass first, and now I am just so scared that there is something wrong with Emmy too. I never thought through the possibility that Nova might outlive Emmy. That would be catastrophic, as Emmy is Nova's teacher and “seeing eye dog”. Oh well, one day at a time, huh?

Dane Mom Sue at nova.tripawds.com and Mom to Beautiful Great Dane Queen Nova, a Blind Tripawd, who kicked cancer's butt from 11/08-03/13. The Queen is Spirit Nova now, but her legacy lives on here at Tripawds!

My heart lives at Rainbow Bridge
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9 May 2009 - 6:40 am
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Pam & Sue,

Just want the two of you to know my thoughts are with you as you face the unknown with Emmy & Kona.  It isn't fair you would have another obsticle in your paths while you are still caring for Nova and Tazzie.  Stay strong and know our hearts are with you.

Shanna & Spirit Trouble ~ Trouble gained her wings 3/16/2011, a 27 1/2 month cancer survivor, tail wagging. RIP sweetheart, you are my heart and soul.  Run free at Rainbow Bridge.
The November Five - Spirits Max, Cherry, Tika, Trouble & Nova. 11/2008 - 3/2013 An era ends as Queen Nova crossed the Bridge.

Northern CA
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9 May 2009 - 7:30 am
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Sue,

Yep one day at a time. That is all we can do. We plan and  plan and try and figure out the next move and it doesn't always go the way we think. With Wrilgley I was so focused on – it's will go to the lungs next… I was completely caught off guard when it went to her brain/spine so quickly. So we must follow ouir babies lead and take everything for the moment.

You Emmy and Nova remain in my thoughts and prayers that all continues to go good.

And Pam, I am so sorry about your Kona. Like Shanna says, it just doesn't seem fair that you woud have another obstacle. You too are in my thoughts and prayers that its all ok.- Please don't beat yourself up worrying about if you would have caught anything sooner. You do so much.

You both and your courageous babies are such wonderful inspirations to all of us. Thank you for all you give to this community

Seanne and Angel Wrigley

Livermore CA
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9 May 2009 - 11:31 am
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Sue-I'm sending prayers and good thoughts too, for Emmy and you.  She's such an inspiration, the way she takes care of her friend. 

The only thing that happened when Cemil came home was that the attachments re-aligned.  He was the top dog and everybodys favorite to play with; now Radzi and Mujde play with each other more.  They're still too careful of him to be much fun for him–they won't body-slam, which is what he wants to do.  Right now, Alle, the 14.5 y/o diabetic Lab, is having some bad days, so they're worrying over her.  I guess having four dilutes the distress–they support each other.

I sometimes use Rescue Remedy on myself and them to reduce anxiety–it just takes the edge off and gives you more of a feeling that life is good.  Nothing dramatic.  I was putting two or three drops in Cemil's food for the first couple months or so to keep his attitude positive, but I think it's positive anyway, so I quit doing that.  But I do keep it on hand, in case there's a bad day.

Pam, I hope all the good you do here comes back to you for Kona.

Mary

Cemil and mom Mary, Mujde and Radzi….appreciating and enjoying Today

Cemil's blog

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9 May 2009 - 6:03 pm
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Pam and Sue, we really hope that everything turns out alright with Kona and Emmy. Whatever happens, please don't blame yourselves. There is only so much of you to go around, and you are awesome pawrents, don't ever forget that.

You are in our thoughts. Keep us posted OK.

It's better to hop on three legs than to limp on four.™
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