This was originally posted on facebook, and copied here much later after this website was created.
I’ve had Ronon for 55 hours now, and it has been extremely challenging. Since multiple people have asked how it’s going, I’m just putting the whole story here.
When we got to Philly Saturday night, we were met by my daughter and a wonderful friend of my sister named Jeremy who came over to help wrestle the enormous crate into the building. When I parked the car and got Ronon out, I almost lost him right then. He went into FLIGHT mode as soon as his paws touched the sidewalk. I had to pay the parking attendant and then walk Ronon two blocks with him trying desperately to get away from me the whole time. He almost pulled me over a few times. We finally got inside the building and got the crate inside and up the stairs into my bedroom (because I was thinking he’d be more likely to settle and sleep if he was near me). He calmed down after a little while inside, although he had to stay leashed to the staircase railing so he’d stop trying to put EVERYTHING in his mouth and put his feet on every surface they shouldn’t be on. THEN HE PEED ON THE STAIRCASE. I was exhausted and dirty and broke (and that part was about to get worse, unbeknownst to me), and I burst into tears.
Before my daughter left, we walked him and Zuki together. He was in panic mode the whole time and incredibly difficult to control. He did finally pee outside though.
A couple hours later – around 1:30 AM – I took him upstairs and leashed him to Jack’s pullup bar so I could unpack and change jeans before taking him out for one more walk. HE PEED ON THE WALL. I cleaned that up, took him outside again, and he was even more terrified than before. It’s just complete sensory overload for him. I could get him to sit and let me scratch his chest, but as soon as we start moving again, he’s bolting every which way.
At 2am, I really wanted to get ready for bed, so I put him in the $1,200 crate that would only (barely) fit in a ridiculously expensive full-sized SUV rental and… he freaked out. HARD. So hard that I was sure (1) he would hurt himself and (2) he would wake up my neighbors who would then complain. I tried to talk to him to calm him down, and he started barking. Loudly. OK, can’t use the crate, because of the noise. I realized the only solution would be to leash him to the staircase railing and sleep downstairs on the couch.
Laid awake on the couch stressing and crying for a few hours. Got up to take him outside. Managed to get him outside before he peed. It was 6am on Sunday, so very few cars and people about to freak him out. He peed and pooped outside. HUGE HAPPY SQUEALING PRAISE FOR RONON. Came back inside, leashed him to the staircase again, and managed to take a shower without incident. (THANK GOD)
I had to take the rental SUV back before 10am. I was planning to go down and wipe down the back seat first, because Ronon had traveled on the seat. The crate was so huge that it only went in on its side, so Ronon couldn’t ride in it. However, when I was getting ready to leave the apartment – even though he’d just been out – HE PEED ON THE WALL. At that point, I was afraid to leave him alone in the apartment. If I crated him, he’d bark. If I left him leashed to the staircase… he probably bark, and he also might destroy the wall or panic and get wrapped up in his leash. So I thought “well, it’s just a little dirt and fur on the seat and some nose smudges on two windows. The rental cost $750, so I’m sure it’s no big deal.” I put him in the car and drove to Budget Rental Car to drop it off. I got there and as soon as they saw I had a dog with me, they said there would be a $200 cleaning fee. I asked if they had cleaning supplies I could use to do it myself. Nope. AND now it’s suddenly $250. Yep, you guessed it… I burst into tears. The rental contract said they might charge a REASONABLE cleaning fee. That was not reasonable.
I Almost Lost Him the First Day!
The woman at Budget was getting aggressive, so I gave up on reasoning with them and started trying to walk Ronon the 4 long blocks home. He was somehow WORSE than the night before. I stopped on some stairs on the side of the convention center and leash him to the metal stair railing to rest my hands and arms. Every person who stopped to comment on how beautiful he is sent him into a tizzy. He was shivering and drooling and alternating between hiding behind me or growling at people when they were talking. At one point, he started freaking out, somehow my hand hit the leash clip wrong, and HE WAS LOOSE. He ran about a quarter block away and then realized that was even more scary, ran back to me, and sat on my feet. We stayed there for about an hour until it started to rain. We walked a couple blocks to a sheltered spot, and he hopped into a bench-sized window sill. I sat down and he hid behind me. T met up with us and brought some CBD treats. That made him stop shivering and drooling. It didn’t make him any easier to control, but I did finally get home with him.
I’ve taken him out every few hours today, and he has peed outside and then run right back in. No accidents in the apartment!
He’s SUPER TERRIFIED of elevators, but I can’t control him going up and down the stairs to my apartment, so we have to take the elevator.
He has an 8am appointment for a doggie daycare evaluation tomorrow morning. IF it goes well, I can go to work, and we might be able to make this work. If it doesn’t go well, I can’t go to work, and I have to give up and find him a home in the suburbs or country.
IF I can keep him, I have some plans to help make it better:
– I’m going to sleep downstairs with him for the foreseeable future and avoid the crate until he’s less freaked out in general.
– I’m going to walk him at least every four hours when we’re home (even in the middle of the night) and then gradually increase the time between walks. Hopefully, he’ll learn to regulate instead of just peeing whenever he feels like it.
– I ordered CBD treats. T gave me some for now.
– I ordered and received some disposable belly bands, so I can fall asleep tonight – maybe – without worrying about him peeing before I wake up for a middle-of-the-night walk.
– I ordered a no pull harness that will be here Tuesday. I don’t want to resort to the harness, but I have no choice for now. I can’t control him at all. He’s charging up to people and then bolting away from them in fear. Maybe with the harness, I can keep him outside long enough to desensitize him a bit and get him to pay attention to me when he’s scared.
I am open to any other suggestions on how to help him be less terrified, so he can at least pee and poop outside and get housetrained. Once we get that figured out, I’ll hopefully be able to crate him and sometimes go out without him. For now, I’m stuck in the apartment with him except when he’s HOPEFULLY at daycare.
To add to the stress of helping him and somehow getting some sleep and also getting my job done, I’ve managed to create an enormous credit card bill all related to him that I have NO CLUE how I’m going to pay. I honestly feel like I may vibrate apart from the stress of it all. I’ve actually considered setting up a GoFundMe for his expenses, but… I’m hesitant to do that sort of thing for myself personally.
Right now, he’s leashed to my desk (which isn’t heavy enough to hold him, but I don’t think he’ll try to pull away when I’m sitting here), and he’s sound asleep with his belly band on while I write this. I’m going to try to get some work done so tomorrow isn’t too hectic. The fact that I’m able to have him in my home office instead of only attached to the stairs in the den gives me some hope that I can maintain some semblance of normalcy while helping him work through all this.
My biggest fear at the moment is that he won’t pass the daycare eval because he’ll be so stressed from the walk over there. That will screw up everything.