Posting days: Sunday and Wednesday and, sometimes, maybe, extra ‘news flashes’!
Sunday March 13th 2016
The story so far …………..
Close to the end of February, Harriet lends us her dog Penny’s Thundershirt. I’d heard about Thundershirts some years ago when Joh. recommended one for my dog Ellie who was terrified of fireworks and storms. I researched them on line, but never the speedy decision maker, I was still thinking about it when Ellie became deaf and solved the problem herself.
Harriet, reading about the rages, wonders whether the shirt might help to calm Hairy One in some of these situations. Her rescue dog Penny is very fearful of light and shadows and when they have new lighting in their living room, refuses to cross the threshold. Wearing her Thundershirt, she is gradually reintroduced into the room. Now, although still a timid and anxious dog, she is confident enough to rejoin the family in the evenings.
Penny also suffers from separation anxiety and used to become very distressed when left at home. With the shirt on, she can be left for several hours without becoming upset.
As Harriet tells me, the Thundershirt is not an instant miracle cure. I should try it on Isis for short periods at first, then, if it seems to help her, I can extend the wearing time.
I have to admit that I am quite cynical about any remedy for anxious dogs. I tried the plug-in pheromone treatment for my previous dog, Ellie, setting it up well in advance of firework night, as instructed. It had not the slightest effect. And a well known calming medication which works well for other people’s dogs does nothing for Isis.
So I always assume that however efficacious a treatment is for other dogs, it won’t work with mine.
It’s the Saturday after I borrow the Thundershirt from Harriet and Isis is well into her fourth early evening snarly rage. Back foot in mouth, she is beside herself.
O.K., I decide. Now’s the time.
I struggle to wrap the lunging creature in the shirt. She stops snarling – but only to enable her to growl at me threateningly. The situation is not promising.
As I flip the second velcro flap into place, to my utter astonishment, she stops in mid growl, executes two or three bed-making turns and falls asleep. It’s just as though I switched her off! When I ring Polymath she is hit by the enormity of the silence at the other end of the phone. “Where’s Isis?”, she asks.
Isis sleeps solidly until I wake her up for her bedtime pee. I remove the shirt. She stretches contentedly and walks into the kitchen. Usually she jumps and barks at the bright kitchen light. To my surprise, tonight she ignores it.
The following week I try the shirt again in similar circumstances. The result is the same.
Last Wednesday night, as promised, I take the Thundershirt upstairs with us. She settles down on the bed.
N-Y-YER-ER-RRRRRRR-RER! The third snarly foot and mouth attack begins.
I leap into action. On with the shirt. After a brief grumble, Hairy One curls up and goes to sleep. We both sleep soundly through the night.
Now, it is possible, I suppose, that the evening respites were coincidental. And perhaps the peaceful night occurred because Isis was too tired to stay awake after the riotous night before.
Perhaps. But I’m impressed enough to invest in a Thundershirt.
Thank you Harriet.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or www.dogwatchuk.co.uk