I'm looking for confirmation that I'm making the right decision about my 18 m/o female lab. Zoe has been anxious since the day we brought her home at 3 mos, only we didn't realize it. The anxiety is related to noise, but not thunderstorms and she has no separation anxiety. We live in the suburbs, with a lot of overhead noise- helicopters, planes along w the usual traffic noise. Zoe is so frightened by normal traffic noise, she refuses walks if it's not quiet out. She has orthopedic problems, and had arthroscopic surgery at 1 yr for fragmented mcp. Surgery was thought to be successful, but she still limps off and on. No one understands why- elbows look great on x-ray.
She is reactive, and when I walk her, I have to detour around strangers so that she doesn' t lunge or bark at them. She has not been aggressive, but last wk, while happily racing in circles around the yard, she leapt up, grabbed my thumb, and sent me to er for sutures.
I have had her evaluated by an animal behaviorist, by a veterinary behaviorist ( Dr Marsha Reich) who has her on prozac, amitryptline and xanax. I've tried noise desensitization with little success. I try to exercise her- remember, she usually refuses walks, by playing soccer in the back yard, which tends to make her limp. I'm working w a wonderful trainer, trying to get over the walk refusal. I've sunk thousand of dollars, hundreds of hours of time trying to make her better.
This morning, for example, with all those meds on board, she was panting w anxiety, hiding in the bathroom. She played a little soccer, but the outside noise was too much and she gave up.
When she's good, she's wonderful- a normal, rambunctious lab but those days are fewer and fewer.
My plan is to try and find her a home in the country- either thru my vet, who has some staff members who love her and live in the country or thru lab rescue. I would foster her myself, I can't let her spend anytime in a shelter- too scary for her.
I really love this dog- she's trained, smart, beautiful but unhappy too much of the time
If I am unable to find her an appropriate home, I will euthanize her.
I'm trying to do the right thing for her; I've shed too many tears over a dog who has brought more sadness to our family than happiness. I've owned labs before, and had no problems.
The breeder, I found out, takes puppies away from mom at 3 wks ( sharp puppy teeth rip mom's nipples) He says he sent me home w a perfect dog, and I ruined her. Her elbow dysplasia is my fault...
Sorry for the long post- Want to do the right thing. thank you
I am very sad about your situation-I couldn't confirm one way or the other what you should do..it just makes me sad to think of Zoe feeling so unsettled all the time. To never be at peace is no way to live.
i don't think anyone here can tell you it's ok to euthanize such a young dog.
you've been to behaviorists but have you taken any classes with her, socialized her.
and why are you thinking your trainer is wonderful , if you've sunk so much money into her and nothing has really changed-what makes the trainer wonderful?
i might start looking for a different vet, perhaps weaning her off meds, and starting from square one. to try and find this dog a home, in the condition you describe doesn't sound like a task that will meet with success.
in terms of her medical issues, well, that happens sometimes but is certainly no reason at such a young age to euthanize. she doesn't sound aggressive to me, even tho you got a bite, and stitches. accidents happen , especially with a scared dog.
and lab rescue is going to want to know her history and she doesn't sound like too many folks are going to be ringing the bell grabbing her from your arms.
as i said, if it were me, i 'd investigate different vet, different trainer and start all over. the medical stuff, well, that's part of the package.