Living With A Special Needs Pup
Top of the hour to my friends across the pond from Moishe’s Mom. The summer has finally taken off here in Lamoine Maine and the lawn has to be cut and strimmed more frequently leaving less time for me on the weekends on top of chores and such.
And the global pandemic has really changed the way we live, do business and interact. It’s been challenging and I hope everyone is stating safe.
I’m writing today about what it’s like to live with a special needs pup. You know I have a pack of pups–four Boston Terriers, one ancient Pug and one American Staffordshire Terrier. In January 2019 I rescued two eight-week old Boston Terrier pups from an Amish Puppy mill in New York State.
I initially wanted the two boys in the litter, but when the rescue transport when to retrieve them, the boys had froze to death. That left the two girls, and I took them to become part of my ever growing pack. I named them Sox and Minnie Bat.
Living With A Special Needs Pup Continued
At first Minnie Bat was the bigger of the two, but after several months, it was apparent that Sox would be the larger dog. Now at a a year-and-a-half, Sox is close to 40 pounds–huge for a Boston Terrier–and Minnie Bat is 25-27 pounds.
Minnie Bat is a daily challenge. She is disturbed by certain sounds; of strange dogs walking past our yard, and she does things over and over–never really grasping the repetitive nature of her behavior. it is as if each time she encounters a common sound or visual, it;s as if she is seeing or hearing it for the first time, As I write this, she is flipping out over the washing machine.
She barks frantically, lunges at it, tries to bite it, throws her body into it, and, tries to get at the water discharge pipe and electrical cord behind the unit–the entire time wagging her tail. When I tell you she’s a handful, I’m not joking.
She is also very jealous of the other pups. They can all have the same toy or same chew or same treat–but she wants theirs. She will bark and yap and go on and on until the other pup drops it, walking away in disgust. She can’t help herself. It’s like she doesn’t have the ability to stop herself. She’s a bright pup who easily learns new things and she wants to please her human. It’s almost as if her nerves are “raw.”
I often wonder if her dreadful start in life hampered her neurological development–someone affected her myelin development in her brain. Myelin is a vital insulating sheath made up of proteins and lipids bound around nerve fibers that help speed the electrical impulses/signals that direct our brain to engage in routine tasks.
My Minnie bat pup
In humans, Multiple Sclerosis degrades the essential myelin insulation and impedes normal motor skill function. I had a maternal aunt who suffered from MS and the most poignant thing I remember about Aunt Josie was that she could fly-off the handle and want to argue.
Minnie Bat also has a short fuse and I’m wondering if her ill start in the womb and her first 8 weeks of life in a barn with no heat or electricity or decent food somehow hampered the proper development of adequate myelin.
Minnie Bat is not a bad dog. She simply needs extra time and positive reinforcement when learning new things. A canine guardian also needs patience when working with a special needs pup. So many are simply dumped in shelters with no chance of being adopted.
When one has a pup with special needs be it neurological or emotional or physical, one must ask oneself, “what if it was my human child.” My pups are my “children” albeit with four paws and fur but children nevertheless.
Until next time
Notwithstanding all of the work and barking and carrying on, I love Minnie Bat. And I’m glad that she ended up with me and not someone without patience or the wherewithal to care for a pup with special needs.
Mental health is so important–not only for humans but our canines as well. I hope that if you end up with a special needs pup, that you find the resources and are able to integrate the pup into your family. Until next time, please stay safe and happy.
Moishes Mom, Wynne Guglielmo