I observed with some surprise this morning to my husband that Maddi’s not so little problem seems to have abated – for the time being at least. Maddi is our Pyrenean Mountain Dog. She was rescued from Scottish Pyrenean Rescue (www.scottishpyreneanrescue.webs.com) about 5 years ago, a frightened, unhappy girl, needing to find a home where she would feel secure and loved.
We had just lost Monty, our beloved first Pyrenean rescue from the same place, and could not think of him without welling up. He had been a part of our lives for 8.5 years, and now he was no more. We knew that we would never find another dog like him and we weren’t really ready to have a new dog; but when I told the Rescue that Monty had gone, I was urged to consider another rescue. They had two dogs in Rescue, one of which was Maddi.
Maddi had been severely abused, and came to us a very insecure and introverted girl. She would not look a person in the eye. She would not bark unless it was at another dog. She would not come when called (she still does not). She showed no interest in anything but food. Maddi had no affection to give, and did not seem to want any in return. If you went up to pat her and sit with her, she would move away. Maddi’s ways were most unlike the usual traits of a Pyrenean Mountain Dog, which is typically friendly, protective, and affectionate.
However, within 6 months of Maddi’s sojourn with us, we started to see some changes. Maddi was still unable to look us in the eye, but she seemed to like her pats now. She did not always move away when we went near her. She became less introverted and more interested in her surroundings. She was also filling out and no longer as scrawny as she had been when she first arrived to stay with us. Maddi was also starting to find her voice. She would now bark to warn people that they were on her territory when they came up to the house. She would go up to investigate new people and grace them with a chance to give her a pat before quickly moving away again. Maddi was starting to feel at home.
About 2 or 3 years ago, Maddi started to give us a little problem that became increasingly annoying: she started to wee in the flatlet where we all live. (The flatlet is private and separated from the guesthouse bed and breakfast accommodation, but allows us to remain on the same premises.) We took her to the vet and he diagnosed cystitis. The medication worked and the problem was resolved for a little while.
Then, last year, Maddi again started to wee in the house. This time it was accompanied by a kind of urinary incontinence. Hubby would take her out as usual, but this did not stop her from making a mess. When one has a house full of guests and lots to do, the last thing one wants to do is to clean up after a messy dog. Back Maddi went again to the vet. She was again given medication for cystitis, which worked for a while, but she was still having twice-daily accidents.
At the beginning of the year, we noticed that Maddi seemed to be limping a little, and we decided to try her with Metacalm. Pyrenean Mountain Dogs, like most giant breed dogs, do suffer from stiff joints in old age. Maddi is getting to be a senior dog now, and we thought that she might need a little help for her joints. So, it was off to the vet again, who prescribed the use of an anti-inflammatory medication as and when she needed it to help her become more mobile.
The Metacalm has worked; and, just as importantly, it seems to have helped Maddi contain her wee until she goes walkies. Oh joy! What a relief it is not to have to clean up smelly puddles on the floor. One of my poor boys accidentally stepped in a puddle once, which did not go down too well, although the rest of us thought it was hilarious!
So, I am hoping that Maddi’s not so little problem has been resolved. I had been praying for this as I was beginning to go out of my mind thinking about my table legs – just one of the areas she seemed to like depositing her watery gifts. It is an antique table, and I really did not like to think of the wood absorbing all that wee. Besides, it was an extra cleaning chore all of us could do without.
Maddi is snoring away as I type this. She is a great snorer, and she loves cuddling up to someone now if she thinks that that someone doesn’t know she is doing so. She waits until a family member has closed his or her eyes, and then sneaks up to snuggle up. Once we open our eyes, she pulls away. She is still shy like that.
For ages, Maddi would not allow her tummy to be rubbed. Now, she turns over to let us do so. This is a great achievement for her and implies her trust in us. She is exposing herself most vulnerably when she does this but trusts us not to hurt her.
So the abusive past that Maddi suffered seems to be dissolving into a nebulous dream as she matures. And her not so little problem also seems to be following the same course. Long may it continue!
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