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.
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:
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:
Thanks for stopping by and God bless. Yaaaaaaaay it’s voting day!!
My best friend husband and our lap dogs, Scrappy and Baby. Am I lucky or what?
Our beautiful Cattle Dog, Lady. The top two pictures on this post are also of Lady.