Saturday, July 18, 2009

Star Shine Love Sprinkles

Oh how my heart aches.
It aches out my fingertips and down through my toes into the earth below.

For too long we have been trying to ignore Cosmo the Magnificent's issues. He is much older inside than his 9-10 years suggest. His teeth have been bad forever, he has a nerve condition that cause what we call "spells" where he becomes temporarily paralyzed and/or for days he does nothing but sleep. During the spells he does not eat, nor does he have energy to lift his head sometimes. I actually thought we were going to lose him during this last spell. But then it clears up... kind of... and we think he is better. Or we pretend he is.

He is not better.

After we moved into the house he had been becoming increasingly aggressive towards 'outside' people. First it was towards acquaintances and extended family members so we limited his access. We stopped taking him to other peoples places, and if people come to the house we put him in another room. We even joked about his craziness, and tried to chalk it up to him just being an odd fellow. That is not what it is.

It has gotten worse. Now his aggressiveness has turned towards us.
Primarily David.

The same David who he guarded with great force and bravery after David had his atv accident. When David could not get around Cosmo would sit with him in his chair,
sleeping with his chin on David's injured leg, and not let anyone near.

The same David who Cosmo followed around for days on end while he was building the house.

The same David who he used to love to sleep in with in the mornings, and would cuddle with on cold stormy evenings.

The same David who Cosmo would wait for everyday watching out the window
when it was time for David to be home.

It really was quite amazing. I have seen stories about this kind of thing on t.v. before. Somehow Cosmo seemed to know just when David was on his way. David did not have totally set hours for when he would be home in the evenings, but many times Cosmo would get up from where he was sitting with me, go to the window, and wait. Whenever he did that I knew that within 10 minutes or so David would be home.

I checked once. Cosmo had gone to the window several minutes before David even neared our driveway. We lived close enough to the highway that Cosmo must have gone over to sit in his spot about when David was taking the off ramp. I don't know how he knew, but he did. His David was coming home and was going to be there waiting for him.

He has now attacked his David.
On more than one occasion...
and this morning was the worst.

I am serious. Cosmo literally attacked him. Not a little dog nipping at ankles kind of attack. This morning when David got up out of his chair, Cosmo who had been just laying there, threw himself over 4 feet across the room at David snapping his teeth, snarling, and growling.

David's quick reactions ended in him receiving a nasty bite on the underside of his arm. It almost broke the skin. David had deflected the attack fortunately. You see, Cosmo was not aiming for his arm. Coz was flying at David's face/neck.

It is bad enough as it is, but to think it could have been someone else,

someone older, or a neighbor child.

It is like Cosmo simply does not recognize David any longer and is reacting to this unknown threat.

I must say that it is not just David though. He has bitten me as well. He was sitting next to me snarling at David and so to correct him I told him 'no' and went to put him on the ground. He turned and bit my hand snapping and snarling as he did it. My own little boy dog.

I did a little internet search trying to figure out what could be wrong with him. I wanted some kind of explaination, some kind of hope for recovery. Maybe there was some herbal remedy I could give him. Well, I beleive I found the explanation but not the hope.

Cosmo has like 9 out of 10 common symptoms for what is called Canine Cognitive Dysfunction... Doggie Dementia... Senility. I feel the worst of these symptoms is aggression. The others are simply very sad. There are medications etc but all are very expensive and frankly... they don't really cure the animal. They only prolong the inevitable.

If Cosmo was a larger dog we probably would have been searching our hearts and minds and trying to come to a decision about what to do much earlier. In fact his size is what has given him a reprieve so far. Also that the episodes at first were farther apart. They are much more frequent now.

However, if we would just think about it... if we could push the denial about the situation out of our minds. The length of time between incidents is not important. Our own dog is biting us.

I can not imagine if a 90 lbs German Shepard/Labrador Retriever like Delta started to behave like that... snapping, snarling, biting, and attacking. The decision would have been made much much sooner... it would not be easier.. but one hell of a lot sooner.

We have a phone number of the local vet, we have discussed our options, but we have not called yet. I am a dog lover, and I love him but we can not be afraid of our pets in our own house whether they are 90 lbs or 20 lbs. Time to dig down for some courage and for some responsibility to ourselves and to him and his quality of life. Boy oh boy. I am going to have to dig deep for this one. Cross your fingers for us. This might take a little bit.

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