This week, I am taking a major step in the well being of my family. I think the Lohans (the famous Lindsay messed-up-as-I-can-get Lohans), have inspired me. I am staging an intervention for my dog, Frankie.
This was not an easy decision. For 18 months, I have watched my Frankie go from a brave and outgoing 85-pound dog to a canine who is afraid of so many things. The vet thinks she has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder—the cause of which we might never know. From my point of view, there is little I can see her being stressed about. She lives the perfect life. She wakes up, goes out, runs around the yard with my other dog, chases critters, eats, naps, gets treats and hugs, eats again, has a stay-at-home mom, gets sirloin steak when we have it…not a bad life. Don’t get me wrong; she still loves us, our pet sitter, my family and anyone whom she has encountered before whatever the PTSD incident was. But when she meets new people, she hides in fear. When we take her to the vet, she dives for the nearest corner and just shakes. And now, she won’t even play with her cousin dogs. She still plays with LuLu, my other dog and her closest companion, but that is about it. When we visit family, she prefers to stay in her room.
After several visits to the vet and after the shocking diagnosis, we have decided to take action and bring my dog to therapy. This decision was not an easy one to make, but I have tried everything from positive reinforcement to EFT Tapping for dogs which have worked a bit, but not enough at this point. So, I cannot tell you how it pains me to say that I am bringing my dog to therapy, and I cannot stress enough how it pains my husband to consent to pay for my dog to go to therapy.
“Can’t she just learn to drink like everyone else?” he queried when I announced my plans for Frankie. “I can’t afford to send you to therapy, but I am sending the dog?”
Do you notice how he used me as an example for therapy and not himself? He better watch his step or marriage counseling is the next therapy this family undertakes.
Anyway, despite initial hesitation and threats of no husband-wife bonding for a year if he doesn’t go along with this, he has miraculously come on board. We have purchased for the first session, a Thunder Shirt (A wrap that simulates a tight hug on a dog) and a flower essence collar that emits soothing chamomile and lavender scents which are supposed to calm Frankie’s nerves. We are hoping that when we take her to her therapist, she will embrace the challenge to heal and not come home and pee all over the shoes in my closet out of revenge.
The vet and therapist think this is an important first step that will return my big moose dog back to the big moose dog that was not so afraid when I left the house for an hour or when strange people came to visit. We are dubbing our “intervention” the Frankie Project and will document her progress, so we can help other victims of doggie PTSD cope. Who the hell knows? We might end up on asinine shows like The View or its second-rate competitor The Talk. Maybe that Dr. Drew or Dr. Phil will want us to share our story. I can see the book and movie deals headed our way.
For the present, I will concentrate on the Frankie Project and the promise of therapy. I can promise everyone who reads this that I will not let Frankie relapse into a Lohanesque abyss. In the meantime, my husband is also making plans for the future: our next pet will swim in a bowl and flush easily when it gets to be too much trouble.