Yesterday was horrible. I had removed Isis’s Buster collar to put her harness on and when she began spinning and tearing at herself there was no stopping her. Holding her increased her rage. She tore at her right back leg, snapping and growling until the kitchen floor was smeared with blood and hair. Unable to get a vet’s appointment for her, I sat down on the futon and waited, dumb with misery.

After a few minutes Isis, looking bedraggled and damp as animals often do when they are miserable, jumped up and sat close to me. Usually, she likes a space around her but not today. She leaned against me. Exhausted, after a while we both stretched out and went to sleep.

Poor Isis growled and yapped with pain throughout the afternoon and evening. Very distressing for both of us.

At the RSPCA this morning Isis helpfully gave a brief demonstration of one of her milder leg attacks. “Definitely behavioural”, said the vet and prescribed antibiotics for the infection, Metacam for the inflammation and Zylekene to reduce stress levels. She also suggested ordering a DAP collar which emits calming pheromones.

She asked whether the hair on Isis’s thighs is normally different lengths. It isn’t. Isis has been layering it.

After our consultation, we waited in the reception area for our medication. Undaunted by all the attention, Isis looked up at the bright ceiling lights and twirled and yipped. Time to go.

The Polymath has been researching and says that prolonged restraint is one of the most common causes of self-harming. No wonder poor little Isis, whom we believe spent most of her life chained up, has problems.

She has been much, much calmer today and although she has made a few half-hearted lunges at her leg, she hasn’t bitten her foot again.

This evening she has been sleeping peacefully. Phew! Slowly does it.



Isis came from the Aeza cat and dog rescue and adoption centre in Aljezur, Portugal. For information about adopting an animal from the centre, contact or

This entry was posted in self-damaging, self-harming, strange behaviour, twirling and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to aftermath

  1. Amber L. says:

    May I suggest a couple of blogs you might find helpful? One is This woman has numerous blind and/or deaf dogs. And the second is This woman’s dog, though not blind or deaf, had many behavioral issues (was VERY fearful) for the first 1-2 years she had her. Plus, it’s just a lovely blog 🙂


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