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Friend's young shiba girl needs a new home - PNW
  • pyleapylea
    Posts: 235
    Hi all, I'm posting this on behalf of a good friend and amazing shiba owner, who is strongly considering rehoming her shiba Opal, contingent upon finding a good home. The reason is that they're a very poor fit for each other. They have never truly connected, despite all the training, hikes, camping trips, and so on. Opal is also prone to sound anxiety, and doesn't know how to relax at home. This in turn triggers my friend's anxiety. Opal is not high-energy per se, but she is always "on" if that makes sense. For example, she will be on high alert if there's someone walking around upstairs. And my friend can't reward her for the rare times she is relaxed, because then she will get up and be "on" again immediately.

    My friend has put forth 100% effort to work on this--dog classes, training, private trainer, relaxation techniques, prescription anxiety meds, holistic approaches, etc.--over the last year and a half to make things work, but it has become more and more apparent that it would be in Opal's best interest to find a new home. Opal hasn't seen a behaviorist, because my friend is emotionally exhausted from dealing with Opal, they have never truly connected anyway (an example being that the dog seems to love complete strangers more than my friend), and there are no guarantees that a behaviorist would help. Of course, my friend would take Opal to a behaviorist if she couldn't find anyone suitable to take Opal. She is just trying to put some feelers out there first to see if rehoming is even possible.

    My friend just wants Opal to be happy. Opal would do best in a home with a fenced yard, another dog to play with, lots of training/structure, and humans who won't find her "on"-ness triggering. Here is a bit about her:

    Opal will be 2 years old this August, is extremely well trained, and well behaved minus the anxiety issue. She LOVES other dogs and people. She is spayed, microchipped, up to date on vaccines, has perfect leash manners, is crate trained, housebroken, enjoys getting her teeth brushed, OK to be held, and fine with car rides. She's fed mostly raw, and some kibble. She loves snow, hiking, playing fetch, and catching bubbles. Opal is from a backyard breeder (my friend didn't know the difference until after she brought Opal home). She's also teeny tiny--16 lbs and will look like a puppy forever.

    image

    Looking for a local home, in Oregon or Washington. Please comment here if you or someone you know may be interested, or email my friend directly at fiveyenquilts@gmail.com. Or if you know anything that will help with sound anxiety! I already searched this forum and couldn't find much. Thank you so much in advance!

    Rehoming fee is negotiable, and my friend has tons of food and supplies.
  • LilikoiLilikoi
    Posts: 1092
    She's very cute. Sorry to hear about the lack of connection between them, that would be really hard. Hope a solution will be reached, new home or otherwise. Whatever it takes for all involved to be happy.
  • niki82niki82
    Posts: 434
    It sounds like your friend has been trying so hard. How unfortunate for her and Opal not to connect. She must be devastated and as you said exhausted. Sorry I have nothing useful to contribute but I will ask a friend of mine who has worked with rescue dogs and cats for over 20 years if she knows anything about sound anxiety and how to help. If anyone knows Barbara should. Good luck to your friend and Opal.
  • pyleapylea
    Posts: 235
    Thank you @lilikoi and @niki82 for your kind comments. My friend is keeping up with this post and said your responses make her feel better.

    She really is devastated. This is a difficult decision for her to make, and she's been sad this whole time about the disconnect and feeling like she's unable to help Opal. :(
    Post edited by pylea at 2016-05-19 19:39:51
  • imBLASIANimBLASIAN
    Posts: 412
    She is adorable! Good luck to your friend with the rehoming!
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 885
    Hello. I am not a vet nor claim to be but I want to say that general vets and are not well versed on the proper dosage of anxiety medication. My general vet suggested giving 16 milligrams of fluoxetine daily to my Quakey when he was going through his anxiety crisis last year. As a result Quakey's anxiety increased greatly. The behaviorist vet prescribed the same medication but at 5 milligrams daily and the anxiety went away. I would suggest that your friend take Opal to a behaviorist vet. Maybe the disconnect could also be due to Opal's anxiety level. I hope this works out well.
  • She is so very adorable and I would take her in an instant but my husband would kill me.
  • NikkitineNikkitine
    Posts: 776
    Best wishes for this little adorable baby to find the perfect home <3<div class="UserSignature">image
  • MoxyFruvousMoxyFruvous
    Posts: 384
    oh man, she is adorable. I think my house would be waaaay too busy for her. But she looks like a love.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8425
    @pylea - I am curious to know if this pup's owner has tried anything to help with her (the dog's) anxiety? Have her thyroid levels been tested? (Hypothyroidism can cause severe anxiety.) In addition, partial complex seizures and brain tumours have been known to cause strange anxiety patterns. One of the symptoms of my youngest Shiba's brain tumour was strange anxiety patterns and the inability to relax, even in familiar environments.

    I would suggest that the owner start with a full vet workup including some anti-anxiety meds and then move on to a behaviourist. It sounds like this dog may do best in another home, especially if your friend has severe anxiety issues as well (has SHE seen a doctor about that?). BUT, that being said, it is unfair to send this dog off to a new home with severe anxiety issues that are completely unresolved. She needs to do what she can to at least start the dog on a better path before re-homing her. Re-homing an already anxious dog can be disastrous, especially if there is the potential for a medical reason behind the anxiety.
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • pyleapylea
    Posts: 235
    Thanks everyone for your support and suggestions.

    @sunyata: she's brought her dog to several vets, many times, to try and find the root of the anxiety. These are good vets too, who all say Opal is physically healthy. And Opal has already been on prescription anti-anxiety meds for a while now. That's in addition to relaxation protocol, homeopathic remedies, tons of mental stimulation, tons of exercise, etc. Not sure if you read the original post or just skimmed it.

    Also as I mentioned in the original post, my friend will take her dog to a behaviorist if no suitable homes are found. She has not given up on her dog AT ALL. Rather, she is seeing what her options are as she decides how to move forward. And I think that is fair considering behaviorists' rates start at $300/hr. As a result of this post, she's actually gotten some emails from people saying they would take Opal "for sure" but has not responded (and will not be responding) because those people didn't give any information about themselves.

    As for my friend's anxiety, I feel silly for even responding to that rude (? or just personal) question, but yes--therapy, prescription meds, yoga, you name it. I must have done a poor job trying to convey that she is a proactive rather than a helpless person.

    Good news though; my friend tells me Opal is doing WAY better since I made this post for her. Like somehow she knew my friend was putting feelers out there for potential rehoming. :-o Hope this keeps up.
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 885
    @pylea-I am so glad that your friend is seriously thinking of taking Opal to a behaviorist vet. I know that the behaviorist vet really helped my Quakey with his anxiety issues including initiating the very important medication dosage correction.
  • pyleapylea
    Posts: 235
    Me too, @Antoinette. The last vet upped Opal's prozac so hopefully a lower dose, like you suggested, will help.
  • sunyatasunyata
    Posts: 8425
    @pylea - My apologies if I came of as rude, that was not my intention. I just get so annoyed at people not "actually" seeing a vet (or doctor) for medical issues, including anxiety, and then complaining about it. There are a lot of people out there "self-diagnosing" anxiety and then using that as an excuse. I am sure that is not the case with your friend, though. Obviously, the dog's best interest is at heart here.

    Many vets are unfamiliar with canine anxiety and its causes. Which, is another reason I gave some potential medical problems that enhance or cause anxiety. Proper dosing of anti-anxiety meds are key and what works for one dog may not work for another. That is another reason why getting a certified behaviourist on board is so important.

    It sounds as if your friend wants to try and do right by the dog, but like I said previously, I think a visit with a behaviourist is better done before trying to re-home the dog. Not necessarily to keep the dog in the home, but to give the dog the best chance in a new home (if it comes to that). Having the right tools is so important when it comes to a nervous or anxious dog. A professional can do so much more in such a short time than a non-professional.

    Take a look at the success stories here with regards to how much improvement even just a consultation with a behaviourist has made. Just read @Antoinette's story if your friend needs a little extra push to spend the money to make sure this dog has the best shot at living comfortably (either with her or in a new home).
    Bella 2Mountains 2Nola 2
    Casey, with Bella and Nola, hanging out in the mountains of Virginia.
    I Wander, I Ride
  • pyleapylea
    Posts: 235
    No worries, @sunyata. I totally appreciate your passion and bluntness; I just wanted to clarify the current situation.

    It seems pretty clear that the next step is a behaviorist vet. Thanks again, all!
  • JuniJuni
    Posts: 1252
    Perhaps your friend relaxed a bit at the thought of having an option or solution in rehoming that Opal felt and subsequently also could relax a bit.
  • AntoinetteAntoinette
    Posts: 885
    @pylea-Please tell your friend about my success story with my Quakey. The behaviorist vet helped me not only with correcting the dosage of his medication but also made some wonderful suggestions to me about how I could help Quakey. I know what to do if he goes into an anxiety mode so I do not let him get beyond his threshold. It helps me to relax now that I know how to read his body language and I know how to help him calm down. This experience has made our bond even stronger. He knows I will help him and I know that I can. I wish very good luck to your friend and Opal. Quakey and I are sending love and hugs.
  • pyleapylea
    Posts: 235
    Thanks so much, @Antoinette. My friend has seen your helpful comments. :)
  • pyleapylea
    Posts: 235
    @Antoinette: would you mind getting in touch with my friend at fiveyenquilts@gmail.com? (I don't know how to send a PM!) Opal has been seeing a behavorist, but nothing is helping yet, so she has been feeling extra discouraged. She would really like to get some advice from you and see what helped with Quakey. Thanks!!
  • pyleapylea
    Posts: 235
    Update: My friend did take Opal to a vet behaviorist and exhausted all of her options before rehoming her. Opal has been in her new home for a few months now, where she has a new shiba big brother, a big fenced yard to run around in, and two humans who adore her. She's doing WAY better now and has learned to relax by taking cues from her new brother/best friend. :)

    Opal's new mom texts my friend updates and photos all the time. It seems like an amazing fit and I'm so happy for everyone involved, dogs and humans alike.
    Post edited by pylea at 2016-11-13 19:14:26

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