Lesson Learned Part 2

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When I was little we had a husky and she lived with us and our golden retriever, shepherd, cats, chickens, ducks, and a rehabilitated crow that could not be released back into the wild.  We had the chickens, ducks and crows separated by a fence.  She lived peacefully with them for 6 years then one day we came home to find all of the chickens, ducks and crow buried in the yard and the husky had jumped back over to her side of the fence.  We found remnants of the animals on her so we knew it was her.  My mom wanted to euthanize her and even then I understood these things happen.  My mom and I talked and talked and ultimately our husky lived out her life with us despite this deadly massacre.  When a beloved pet attacks another creature it is very hard on everyone.  As a trainer I get calls like this on a routine basis, some owners decide on behavior modification training others decide to euthanize.  I never judge but I always tell people that I can never say that your beloved pet will not do this again so you MUST put precautions in place to protect your other pets.

Alusia Sue will live out her life with precautions in place, that is the decision I’ve made.  Like I stated at the end of my last blog she is not a bad dog, she has a high prey drive I know that and she followed it.  Unfortunately,  it was our beloved cat.

Charlie had a rough weekend with home hospital care including steroids, iv fluids, antibiotics, force feeding and most importantly LOVE and ATTENTION.  This morning Charlie ate by himself and yowled (he is like a rooster in the morning; he is a Tonkinese!).  Bottom line is these things are going to happen as long as humans have multi pet households.  The key is to be vigilant about your pet’s activities and monitor closely and always be prepared.  Have emergency vet numbers programmed into your phone.  Most importantly call a Canine Behaviorist if you think that an issue is imminent.

Lesson Learned

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In January of 2010 we adopted a husky from a rescue group.  She was 2 years old at the time and we named her Alusia Sue.  When we brought her home she grabbed a hold of one of our cats and started to violently shake the cat, I yelled at her to drop it and she did only to go after another cat.  Thankfully both cats were okay physically and the socialization to cats began.  Since that first attack Alusia never touched a cat again.  She knew that cats entering the room meant praise and treats.  Cats could lie next to her and she would ignore them.

Flash forward to September 2013, I made a mistake.  Yes I the human made a mistake.  We never leave Alusia alone with cats because like I tell my clients you can never predict a dog’s behavior 100% of the time and it is not worth the risk.  I left to pick my daughter up from school and I left Alusia in the bedroom with our cat Charlie.  When I came home I knew something was very wrong because our cat Milo was puffed up and yowling at the bedroom door.  I opened it to find Alusia attacking Charlie.  I immediately got her outside and ran to Charlie’s side.  I have worked as a veterinary assistant so I checked him for wounds only finding a skin abrasion but I knew that, that does not mean that he did not have internal injuries.  I could tell from his mannerisms and his eyes that he was in shock.  I immediately gave him sub cutaneous fluids and placed him on a heating pad while speed dialing the vet.  The vet said to bring him in immediately so I rushed him down.  I had done a good job of treating the shock but shock is a scary unpredictable thing.  So Charlie was hospitalized and xrays were taken and he was given iv fluids.  He suffered no internal injuries. Charlie will come home to recover in a few hours, the next 48 hours remain critical.

I always tell my clients that dog’s behavior can NEVER be predicted 100% of time and this is a case in point.  I made a mistake, not Alusia, me.  Alusia and I will definitely be spending some time on training but I will never leave her alone with a cat again.  This is a risk we take when we have homes with different species, it happens.  It is how we handle it and the lessons we learn that change the way things happen in the future.  Most importantly Alusia is not a bad dog.