When your pet has PTSD

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I was amazed to learn that animals can get PTSD. My husband and I discovered this in 2007, when we adopted an Australian Red Heeler cattle dog from a no-kill animal rescue organization.

The woman who ran the rescue told us that Lady had been found abandoned, at a house where her owners had apparently moved away and left her. She said that had happened six months prior and that during those six months, Lady had been adopted, and brought back, “many, many times” because of her behavior issues. The rescue people were paying to board Lady at a kennel, because her behavior was too bad for her to stay in any of their animal foster homes.

Sounds like the perfect dog, right? Lol. My husband and I took her home that day, and soon we saw exactly what everyone else had been unable to live with. Lady had severe PTSD, complete with a huge startle reflex, which sent her into insanely scary flashbacks that literally had her jumping over 6 feet high into the air, and running all over the furniture and even running part way up the walls, all the while growling and snarling like a rabid beast!

But, when she wasn’t freaking out, Lady was super sweet and very clingy. Of course, she was not potty trained. And every single time that she drifted off to sleep, for even a few minutes, she had terrible nightmares and cried so pitifully in her sleep.

Well, my husband and I are Mr. and Mrs. PTSD, you know? We have both been diagnosed with PTSD, his caused by combat, mine by domestic wars. Which means that Lady had finally found the perfect home. We helped her get over the worst of her issues, and she in turn helped us so much. We gave her a great life for over 8 years, until she died in my arms on March 10, 2015, of old age. Oh, I miss her.

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Now, we have two more precious fur babies that we found abandoned on the streets. One is a feisty little poodle I named Scrappy. He was skin and bone, teetering on the brink of death, when we found him. We also have a big yellow lab boxer mystery mix, that I picked up off the street on a super hot day in July 2016. When we took her to the vet and he guessed her age, if he was right, she was probably born a few days after Lady died. We call her Baby.

My husband believes that Baby is Lady, reincarnated. I don’t believe in such a thing, but the things she does that Lady used to do, sometimes make me wonder! Although I did ask Baby, if she really is Lady, why did she come back as a dog that Sheds So Much?! Oh my goodness! Her hair gets on everything, all over the house. When I vacuum, the big full-size canister fills up with her hair within minutes. I have to empty it at least four times just to vacuum the whole house. And I am kind of a neat freak. I like everything clean and tidy. It does not matter what we feed her, what supplements we give her, or how we groom her, she sheds hair constantly, the way Pigpen on the Charlie Brown cartoons sheds dirt.

But we love Baby, and we told her after we brought her home that she was home forever, so we have learned to live with it. And you know,  Baby reminds me that God loves me so very much, despite all my many messes! I think it’s more important to be constantly reminded of that, than to have a perfect house. I think… 😬😑😀

This post was inspired by Cynthia Bailey Rug’s post, Feline PTSD. Here is the link. I highly recommend that you read it, because she gives some great tips on how to help a traumatized animal, which is basically what we did with our Lady:
https://cynthiabaileyrug.wordpress.com/2018/11/06/feline-ptsd

I have previously written about our big dog, Baby, in a post called The Amazing Healing Power of Love. Check out the incredible before and after pictures:
https://ablogabouthealingfromptsd.wordpress.com/2017/05/21/the-amazing-healing-power-of-love/

Thanks for stopping by and God bless. Yaaaaaaaay it’s voting day!!

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My best friend husband and our lap dogs, Scrappy and Baby. Am I lucky or what?

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Our beautiful Cattle Dog, Lady. The top two pictures on this post are also of Lady.

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38 thoughts on “When your pet has PTSD

  1. Alexis Rose November 6, 2018 / 12:57 pm

    Beautiful hearts adopting critters in need of love and safety. Lots of love to you and your critters today. and you’re right, Yay its voting day. I have a lot of hope today.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. rubycommenting November 6, 2018 / 1:05 pm

    Hi Linda,

    No I didn’t know dogs could have PTSD. I think it’s wonderful that you and your husband found her and took her in to properly care for her. You are very understanding people. Love the picture! You are so lucky to have a nice husband. Does he have any single friends?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote November 6, 2018 / 1:37 pm

      Thanks, Ruby. My husband and I didn’t meet until we were both in our fifties. PTSD is hard on relationships, and we had both given up on love. Giving up seems to be what we needed to do, lol! Most of my husband’s friends are also Vietnam war veterans and most are married.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. atimetoshare.me November 6, 2018 / 1:10 pm

    I am convinced that our pets are more like us than we know. It took our dog almost eight years to finally warm up to us. It was a difficult time In our lives with health issues for my husband. The dog we had before this one was eleven when he died and much loved by us. I think Gage sensed our loss and our concern about cancer and stroke my husband endured. Our pup is now eleven and wants to be with us all the time. I hope he hangs around for few more years,

    Liked by 3 people

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote November 6, 2018 / 3:03 pm

      Thank you, Cynthia! You were my inspiration. I really hope my readers check out your post, Feline PTSD. You gave some excellent advice on how to handle a pet that has been traumatized. Everything listed in your post is what we did, except we did not give Lady valerian, we gave her a calming supplement for dogs that we got from Swanson Vitamins. I think it may have had valerian in it, but I’m not sure.

      Ultimately, it was the tenderness and gentle accepting love we gave her, that did the most good. Just like you did with your beautiful cat, Punkin. 🐱 💘

      Liked by 1 person

  4. PreacherBiker November 6, 2018 / 2:53 pm

    Great blog
    Love you

    Sent from my T-Mobile 4G LTE Device

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Aura Gael November 6, 2018 / 4:29 pm

    So it was this part, “…sent her into insanely scary flashbacks that literally had her jumping over 6 feet high into the air, and running all over the furniture and even running part way up the walls, all the while growling and snarling like a rabid beast!” that made me start crying for Lady and what she must’ve endured to have such a reaction.

    Do you have any pictures of Lady?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote November 6, 2018 / 6:50 pm

      Hi, Aura. I’m sorry I made you cry.

      Yes, I do have a lot of great pictures of Lady, but I could not access any of them from my tablet. I need to get on my big old ThinkPad to get to them. Which I will do, in a few minutes. Thanks for asking. ☺

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aura Gael November 6, 2018 / 7:36 pm

        Aw, it’s okay. The tears were a mix. Bittersweet. I was sad for her past experiences but also felt happy for Lady to end up with you and your husband and finally finding not only a forever home but a home where the people were patient and knowledgeable enough to help her.

        Liked by 2 people

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote November 6, 2018 / 8:05 pm

      I found a work-around and was able to get two of Lady’s pictures on this post from my little tablet. But the best close-up pictures, that show her beautiful personality, are on my laptop. I will have to do that tomorrow, I’m too tired to get out my big computer right now. It’s not that late but… YAWN…. I haven’t been getting enough sleep lately. Good night, my friend. 🌙

      Liked by 1 person

      • Aura Gael November 6, 2018 / 10:45 pm

        Oh thank you. Now I remember seeing this pic before with her in it. She’s beautiful.
        Would still be cool to see her face. Take your time though. Don’t worry if you can’t post more.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote November 7, 2018 / 2:59 pm

          Ok, I finally got some better pictures of Lady on this post. The one at the top was taken about a year before she died, and the one at the bottom was taken when she was in 2009. Thank you for asking for pictures, I like this post much better now. I had thought at first that it might be painful to go through her pictures. But it wasn’t, it brought back a lot of happy memories.

          Lady’s severe startle reflex got much better very quickly, as we learned, by her reactions, what NOT to do. No sudden movements in her direction, no picking anything up when we were standing close to her, and no angry, raised voices — that turned out to be very beneficial for our marriage! But Lady continued to jump over six feet in the air, anytime she got excited, until she put on too much weight to jump that high. Most of the time, her high jumps were for joy, as in “Yaaaaay you’re home!” And once she easily cleared our six foot fence to go after a neighbor’s cat! But the triggered, freaked out high jumps, where she would run up the walls and all over the furniture, growling and snarling hysterically, that completely stopped, like I said, as soon as we learned what triggers to avoid.

          We discovered that the best way to calm her during a major freak out was by talking softly to her, while kneeling down or sitting on the floor, so that we weren’t towering over her. Seriously, that worked like magic to settle her right down. But even though she was no longer running, jumping, growling and snarling, she would still be shaking and whining, from the adrenaline, I’m sure. Then we would gently caress her, while still talking in a soft loving calming voice. It didn’t take long for her to learn that she was safe with us.

          We figured these things out just by following our instincts. Basically, we did for her what we would like someone to do for us, when we are triggered and having a flashback.

          I never knew, until we got Lady, how much like a person an animal can be! Lady was probably part Chow, as well as Red Heeler. With maybe a little supreme alien being mixed in, lol!

          Liked by 1 person

          • Marie Abanga November 8, 2018 / 2:24 am

            I so love and feel this post I just couldn’t help but read all the comments. Lady and Lady Quixote where/are baby and mama bear then oh my so soulful. And why is it to hard it seems for us humans to treat each other like this too?You know, I am doing this to one mentally ill at a time to whom I open my home, and now I go by the name Dr. Hope lol. You guys are Couple Hope.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote November 8, 2018 / 5:56 am

            Dr. Hope, I like that. I have said that my husband and I are Mr and Mrs PTSD. Maybe I should say that we are Mr and Mrs Hope. 😀

            I saw on BBC news recently about dozens of school children being kidnapped in Cameroon. I was so thankful to read that they were released. Did this happen near you?

            Like

          • Marie Abanga November 8, 2018 / 8:23 am

            Yes Linda Mr and Mrs Hope is better than patronising that PTSD like that lol. Yes sadly kids were kidnapped but not close to me. It is unfortunate what is going on in some parts of my country for over 2 years now.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote November 8, 2018 / 12:21 pm

            That is very unfortunate. And here in my country, another horrific mass shooting. It breaks my heart. But I still cling to the Hope I find in Jesus.

            Like

          • Marie Abanga November 9, 2018 / 9:28 pm

            Linda am so sorry when I see any of those headlines from your country. After the Las Vegas massacre, I went into such overdrive I decided to block out and unsubscribe from many of such news sources. I truly wonder where mankind is heading with all such heinous actions and reactions

            Liked by 2 people

  6. Tom November 6, 2018 / 6:20 pm

    Cute dogs, LL. Our 11-year-old labradoodle has frequent anxiety attacks, often at 1 or 2 AM during the workweek, which is not pleasant. My wife thinks it’s because we bought her from a pet store and she came from puppy mill.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. The Eclectic Contrarian November 6, 2018 / 6:29 pm

    It’s a crying shame that anything would suffer to such extremes. But, it certainly seems that she’s in excellent hands!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Tricia November 6, 2018 / 7:38 pm

    What a heart warming post. God bless you and your husband for taking in such beautiful yet troubled souls.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Anna Waldherr November 11, 2018 / 12:24 am

    We have a dog w/ PTSD too! She is a darling. But it has taken alot of persistent TLC to get her to trust that she will not punished for ordinary dog foibles or yet again abandoned.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. bluebird of bitterness November 13, 2018 / 9:10 am

    We have a little porch kitty who has symptoms of PTSD. We have no idea where he came from, or if he used to have an owner, or anything else about him. But he was starving, so we put food out for him. It took months and months to get to the point where we could get close to him, and even longer before he would let us touch him. Eventually he stopped being afraid of us, and now he’s extremely affectionate–he’ll even let my three-year-old grandson pet him. But he still startles easily and he’s very skittish around strangers. It really makes me wonder what the poor little guy went through before he showed up on our porch.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote November 13, 2018 / 11:47 am

      Awwww, thank goodness he found you! We had a starving, bedraggled stray kitten show up on our porch the day after the Fourth of July. He was certainly traumatized by the very loud fireworks that were going on all over town the night before, if by nothing else. I fed him a can og tuna and oh he was so grateful.

      I wanted to keep him, but my husband is so severely allergic to cat dander that his eyes literally swell shut within minutes of being in the presence of a cat. But luckily we were able to find the perfect home for the sweet little guy. A friend of my stepdaughter’s had recently told her that he wanted to get a pet, now that he was finally living in an apartment where pets are allowed. My stepdaughter called him and sent pictures of the kitten. This young man was so excited that he ran right out and bought the most expensive cat food in the pet supply store, plus cat toys, litter and a box, a harness for him to ride safely in the car, dishes and catnip and everything that a kitty could ever need or want. He even called and made an appointment with a veterinarian for the kitten’s first wellness check. This young man did all of that, before he had even met the kitty! So yes, I feel confident that the sweet little fellow has the perfect forever home. 🐱 💘

      Liked by 1 person

      • bluebird of bitterness November 13, 2018 / 12:29 pm

        I love stories with happy endings! So glad you were able to find the kitty a loving home.♡

        Our little porch kitty (whom we can’t let inside, since we still have four grandcats living in the house) is beautiful now, but he was a mess when he first showed up. He’s one of those weird cats who’s a shorthair in summer, but in winter he grows a second coat of long hair. When he was still homeless, that long hair would get all tangled and matted to the point of looking like dreadlocks. Then in the spring when the longer hair started to fall out, it fell out in patches and clumps. That was how he looked the first time we saw him, which is why we named him Scruffy. I was always itching to brush him, but at that time we couldn’t even get near him. Now that we finally have him tamed, it turns out that he absolutely loves being brushed. I brushed him regularly all summer, and now that it’s cold and he’s growing his winter coat, I’m keeping it nice and smooth and tangle-free. No more dreadlocks!

        Liked by 1 person

  11. touched2mysoul November 14, 2018 / 9:03 pm

    My dog Domino shows signs of PTSD. I get NOW why he’s in my life… we help each other thru…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Linda Lee/@LadyQuixote November 15, 2018 / 11:04 pm

      It’s so wonderful that you have each other! The 2 rescue dogs that we have now don’t seem to have full blown PTSD, like our Lady did. But they do display some milder forms of anxiety, at times. Especially the poodle, he can’t bear to go outside, not even in our safe fenced yard, unless one of us is with him. He is super clingy. But his clinginess is comforting to us.

      I’m sorry I did not see your comment sooner. It’s been a busy day.

      Liked by 1 person

      • touched2mysoul November 16, 2018 / 3:17 pm

        Yes my dog is a blessing. Pets can be very comforting interesting enough my dog is a poodle mix. Stay blessed! 😊

        Liked by 1 person

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