The Thundershirt and The New and Improved Velveteen, the Deaf/Blind Aussie

This is Joan’s diary, which details her progress with Velveteen. Amazingly, the folks at Thundershirt have sent us several sizes, and I just ordered a small for a new 20 pound female deaf/blind Aussie coming to us this weekend. It proves that whatever issues the dog has, there’s a solution out there, and sometimes it’s takes a host of ideas to help a confused dog. In Velveteen’s case, the next step is to get her a vibrating collar to work on recall and reward. Stay tuned as Velveteen’s progress continues rapidly!

Gisele

Joan’s Diary of Velveteen, the Deaf/Blind Aussie:


On 11/20/10 Velveteen came home with me. Carson was afraid of her during the ride home. Velveteen kept nipping at the air, and barked at him in the back seat. I crated her the first night. Velveteen never slept, and at least 15-20 times she would bark and howl. There was nothing I could do to comfort her. How do I communicate with a deaf and almost blind dog? When I let her out of her crate, she paced and barked.

The next day I was exhausted! She and the cat do not get along. It may be that she has violated the cat’s space in trying to get her smell and to check him out. Velveteen is not aggressive, but she was too curious of the cat.

So, I called for help. Gisele suggested leaving the light on all night long, and putting a wind-up clock in her crate. She also suggested putting an article of my used clothing, or a used towel in her crate so my sent would be with her. I started using Rescue Remedy as well.

Instead of using a squirt bottle, I started wetting my fingers with water and gently wafting droplets at her every time she barked day or night.

She wasn’t afraid of this but stopped barking immediately and she seemed to know it was a correction. She walks with Carson on a leash well and loved it. Outside where there is more space the two dogs seemed fine.

That evening she barked about 10 times. I gave her more Rescue Remedy and a little Arnica for any pain issues.

I called Fritzi in Connecticut on 11/22/10 for help in communicating with Velveteen. Fritzi recently adopted Sassafras, a deaf Old English Sheepdog from The Dog Liberator. I explained that Velveteen is a very sweet, loving dog. Fritzi gave me some pointers and a lot of encouragement. She is crated when I leave for short periods of time during the day and has separation anxiety as well. I can hear her barking/shrieking through the open windows. I must learn to communicate with her. In between the pacing, barking, howling, there are glimpses of a sweet, affectionate, loving dog who is trapped in a deaf/almost blind body but never whines or complains and walks well and even plays with Carson in the yard. One of the sites Fritzi recommened was http://www.deafdogs.org/

On 11/23/10 very little changed. I took Velveteen to groomer and she loved being bathed and massaged. Very, very good girl for the groomers and crated well for them after grooming.

On 11/24/10 I had a very busy day and was gone for several hours. It was dark when I got home, and Velveteen beside herself barking/howling/screeching. UGHHH! What have I done? This poor precious girl.

On Thanksgiving day, Velveteen was much more quiet and was happy around my elderly parents. Out of nowhere Velveteen jumped up on my mother, who was in a recliner and “hugs her and places her head on my Mom’s chest. Mom spent time petting and massaging her for about 10 minutes and Velveteen didn’t move. Where did that come from? During dinner Velveteen was underfoot and pacing but calmer. Barking continued that night while I tried to sleep but it was only 6-8 times.

On 11/26/10 the Thundershirt that Gisele requested arrived.  I put it on Velveteen immediately and she enjoyed the touching and the wrap. She wore it from about 2PM through the night and only barked once in the early morning. Now this is progress! She barks a few times during the day but the water seems to be working and she stops right away.

On 11/27/10 I noticed that Carson was beginning to try to play with Velveteen outside, but she is not interested and runs around him. He is no longer fearful unless she barks at him, which she doesn’t do outside in the yard. She wore the Thundershirt all day and nite.

On 11/28/10 Velveteen slept the entire evening! Finally! I had to check on her to make sure she was still breathing. Heavy, snoring, wonderful sleep. Amen! Even
when she woke up she did not bark. She once again jumped up on my Mom and continued the “bonding” experience. She really hugs my Mom with both front paws around her waist. It is amazing to see and feel the love. She has never done that to me. I can cuddle her but not like that.

On 11/29/10 Velveteen is still gravitating toward my Mom and my Dad. She is definitely more calm. I took the Thundershirt off for a couple of hours and took her for a walk. Interestingly, my Mom took a fall about 3Am in the guest bedroom. Velveteen’s crate is in-between my bedroom and my Mom’s bedroom. My Dad called to me and as I walked past Velveteen’s crate I noticed she was standing in the crate “starring” in the direction of my Mom’s room. Even though there is a wall that prevents Velveteen from seeing my Mother, she was completely still and not barking and remained that way until the accident was resolved. She went back to sleep and slept through the night barking only once at 7 AM, which is close to our waking time. I watched her snore and sleep like a rock.

On 11/30/10 my parents went back home, but Velveteen seems to be looking for them. She had a great walk as usual and good interaction with Carson outside.


Velveteen is a very sweet and loving angel and in my opinion has come a long way. I truly believe the Thundershirt helped tremendously. It makes perfect sense and seemed to calm her almost immediately. Was it only that? I do not know but I love the shirt and what it does for her.

This I know for sure, Velveteen is a wonderful angel who is pretty well behaved and never had an accident in the house. She wants to please and is a cuddler at heart. She loves her walks and spins around when the leash comes out. I think she likes elderly individuals and seems comforted by them. I pray she finds her forever home soon. I love her precious little spirit! She deserves the best life has to offer her. I have started her on a skin and coat product from Life’s Abundance http://www.healthypetnet.com because I felt she needed a little skin treatment.

Seemed a little dry and her coat needed a little luster. She eats well and walks on the leash better than Carson. She now walks 4 miles a day. This precious girl loves to cuddle and be in the light. Updates in a more timely fashion will be forth coming.

Velveteen’s original blog spot can be viewed here.

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    12.07.2010

    I want to say that I deeply admire you Joan. Your patience and perseverance is astounding. As much as I love animals, I do not think I could do what you are doing without a great deal of frustration. What you understand is Velveteens frustration. Being deaf is one thing but half blind another. How confusing her world must be at times. I am sure she has lived alot of her life not knowing what is expected of her. How tremendously wonderful of you to foster her and help her so that she can be adopted. I am sure she will be a valuable dog to the right person. As an Aussie lover, I feel breeders who breed merle to merle should be prosecuted. They are gambling just to get the coveted "blue eyes" and they do not care about the ones they discard "the lethal whites" and in Velveteen's case "double lethal" They command upwards of $1,000 or more for those eyes. How many die for blue eyes? Thank you Joan for helping this sweet dog. Cynthia Harper

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