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Took in an abandoned dog, and it's all going wrong

Discussion in 'General Dog Forum' started by Chopin, Dec 26, 2019.

  1. Chopin

    Chopin New Member Registered

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    15 months ago, I returned from holiday to find an abandoned crossbreed terrier living in our hamlet. It attached itself to a neighbour who would feed it, but didn't want it, so he was living outdoors. As the neighbour hadn't gone to any efforts to find out about the dog, I took it to the vets (no tattoo or chip), put up notices and posted in forums to try and track down an owner, but without any success.

    I didn't want a dog myself as we had 5 cats, but the local shelter was overrun, and I knew he'd have no life there so we took him in. It was all good for a few months; a kind, obedient and affectionate dog. We noticed he was misshapen on one side near his bottom, and suffering from constipation, and some bleeding. The vet said it was quite a profound hernia on one side, so we took him to the city and he was operated on and castrated at the same time. All was good until a couple of months later, he started developing a hernia on the other side. He had to be operated on again, by a well known vet, a specialist in this area, and visited by people from far and wide.

    Sadly after this second operation the dog was left completely incontinent. Constantly dripping pee everywhere, and worse still when he needed to poo it would just come out of its own accord with the dog completely oblivious that it was happening. We went to our local vets who were surprised but said it may be a temporary thing, and we got some expensive hormonal medication, but after two months the problem was no better at all.

    Our vet contacted the city vet who was concerned and sympathetic and asked if we could return. We did, and ultimately he could only apologise with a sad face, and told us in 25 years this has never happened to him, and that he had no solution for us.

    The poor dog now has to live in the barn and garden, because we cannot have him in the house. We tried a few times, but the smell is unbearable and the spread of pee and poo was everywhere, with the cats walking in it and jumping up onto work surfaces and table. It was just impossible. To make matters even worse, a few months before all this happened he'd taken to nipping people like the postman on the ankles, and chases every person or vehicle that comes nearby, which is a nightmare. Yesterday on Christmas I took him for a walk, and we passed our neighbours dog (a much bigger one!) and he just went for her. Previously he would never have done something like that - I don't know if the change of environment and/or medication has affected his usual behaviour. We have a very large garden and some woodland which is impossible to secure, so he can always find his way out. I've spent two months wages on his operations, medications and vet visits, and just can't afford anything else. We can't rehome him, because nobody would take him in his state. There's no solution to his incontinence and I'm at a loss as to what to do. The vet suggested we could have him put down, but we can't do that, he's still a healthy dog in all other regards. I'm about to order an insulated kennel with a gift voucher I was given, and I will be forced to keep him on some sort of long leash for parts of the day. I'm kind of at my wit's end with it all, I don't think there's a solution? I hate keeping the poor dog outside all the time, and can't stand the idea of using some sort of leash, but are there any alternatives?
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2019
  2. JoanneF

    JoanneF Well-Known Member Registered

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    The fact that he has gone for your neighbour's dog could indicate he is in pain or discomfort. Is that something either of the vets has suggested? Because if so, perhaps being PTS might be worthy of consideration, it you think the quality of his life is poor between that and having to live outside.

    You can get dog nappies which obviously won't stop the incontinence but would limit the mess.
     
  3. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    Well done for taking him in and doing the very best you can for him.

    Have you tried nappies for him? How old (approximately) is he?
     
  4. Chopin

    Chopin New Member Registered

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    Thank you JoanneF and JudyN. When he had the hernia he quickly started to get into pain and discomfort. He doesn't appear to be so anymore, and the vets he's seen all think he is okay on that front. I did consider the nappies for the pee problem, but I don't know that they'd help for the other without making a terrible mess.

    The vets all say he is no more than 10. Possibly 8 or 9.
     
  5. Mad Murphy

    Mad Murphy Well-Known Member Registered

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    I think you have to think of quality of life before confining him to an outdoor kennel chained up..
    In the end a gilded cage is still a cage..
     
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  6. Chopin

    Chopin New Member Registered

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    I understand I have to weigh up the balance of his quality of life vs the alternative, but he seems to be a dog that likes living. The kids love him and we can still take him out on walks when we can (usually with the car windows wound down due to the smell!). When we've gone so far and tried so hard to give him a better life I'm not sure we can just abandon him at this stage. The whole situation is quite depressing
     
  7. JudyN

    JudyN Moderator Moderator Registered

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    Some dogs can happily live outside most of the time as long as their mental & physical needs are met. After all, many people leave their dogs at home for much of the day while they go to work, and the dog might then sleep downstairs when the family go to bed. So this could be a workable solution if you and your family are able to give him plenty of attention - maybe have a rota with the children roped in? Ideally you'd want to fence off some of the garden so he and they can play freely in it. Also look up ideas on how to mentally stimulate dogs, e.g. sniffing games, hide and seek, mini-agility... And you can walk further round the garden/wood on lead - a dog, particularly an older one, can enjoy walks perfectly well on lead. Just let him explore where he wants and sniff where he wants.

    As for his general reactivity, the best place to start is to avoid any situation which is likely to trigger him. Then have a read-up on behaviour adjustment training which may help you get him to deal with some of the triggers: Behavior Adjustment Training: A New Approach to Problem Behaviors

    Hopefully, all this will give him a good-enough quaility of life. If not, or if his health gets worse, it honestly is better to euthanase a pet than let them carry on with a poor quality of life.

    Finally, you've probably already looked, but there's several websites that advise on managing faecal incontinence in dogs which a Google search should bring up. Some have advice on diets to make the poos firmer and less frequent, or how to time them better, along with info on nappies etc.

    I hope you find a solution that works well for you all.
     
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  8. Chopin

    Chopin New Member Registered

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    Thanks Judy. It's a real quandary at the moment. Last night at 5am I had to get up as he wouldn't stop barking; I'm not sure what set him off, but if he does that too often, we will start getting complaints from the neighbours.
    All this would be easier to handle in the Spring when the weather is better - we're outside a lot more too, which would give him company, but this time of year, it just feels like the wrong moment for all these problems to arrive at once.

    Some of the garden is fenced. By the looks of him I think he squeezed under some barbed wire at the edge of the wood and removed a bit of fur from his back. He knows where the weak points are, and there's plenty of opportunity for him to get out.

    Thanks for the link and the kind words. I've been thinking a lot about it all recently. Talked to my wife; she certainly isn't keen on the euthanising possibility. If we ever went down the road, it would be on me, and I think I'd have to keep the secret from my kids. I'm hoping I don't have to go there, but I have to keep an open mind and possibly do the hard thing.
     
  9. EricaD

    EricaD New Member Registered

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    Hi, Chopin. Any updates?
     

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