As I write this, Ty and I are one day away from celebrating our six month mark of being together. We’ve come a long way, and his journal and this blog is a great way for me to measure our steps.
However, when I last wrote in this blog, it was back in mid June and I’d just wakened him from a dream, or something in which he’d been yelping. Crouched back in the corner, he lifted his lip and growled a warning to me.
Halting, dumbfounded, I softly called his name again, and he responded with another growl. It took an anxious moment, in which I truly wondered about our relationship, before he finally seemed to snap out of whatever he was in. A visible change came over him. Even while his eyes were open, I was struck with the thought I wasn’t sure he could see.
When the change happened, and it’s hard to explain, Ty’s expression changed from non-cognitive to awake. He was clearly still confused and disoriented, but at least he looked awake. It was a wakefulness separate and different from growling at me with his eyes open only moments before.
So I went for his leash and called his name. He came to me, a bit dazed, unsteady and not mentally clear. We made it outside and he was shaky, his body visibly tense. He did his business. We sat on the porch for a while. I so wanted to touch him beyond just a gentle pet. I wanted to hug him and reassure him that whatever happened just now, it was over with.
I wanted to ease his anxiety. But he drooled and panted and his eyes still had a wild look to them. He was scared and me crowding him was not going to help, so I settled for some quick kisses on the top of his head. Then we went back inside. Within moments he emptied his water dish. I refilled it, posted this episode on the rescue Facebook page and left for work, still mystified at what just happened.
On the Facebook page, I got two consistent suggestions, both of which made lots of sense. One was a PTSD flashback and the other was a seizure. So far I could not pinpoint which one so I resolved to wait and see if it happened again.
Later that night, after I returned home from work, he seemed nervous, especially when stepping off the porch and heading to the yard. There is a section of concrete in which he desperately wanted to get away from. A spot only he can see. Once in the yard, running free, he paced a lot, clearly anxious about something.
I remained clueless as to what had him so bothered. Once inside, he was fine. He took his treat and settled down.
It’s now June 19, Friday, the day after his mysterious episode. He is pretty much the same– nervous and skittish. I made him sit and wait at three different spots on the concrete walkway and once on the porch steps when we returned, just to show him that there was nothing to be afraid of. He obeyed well, but clearly wasn’t as convinced as I was about the safety.
It took me far into the night to finally realize that the spot where he skittered the worse on the concrete walkway was the spot where the ceramic rabbit shattered days before. It was the spot where I raised my voice when he freaked for no apparent reason and he had fully anticipated some punishment. There was an association in his mind now of that location with those events.
June 22, Tuesday. Ty and I have been working on his association with the concrete walkway. He’s been doing better and I am inclined to think it started as a PTSD flashback. He is slowly showing more confidence and is freaking out less when outside. Thankfully, no more growling or unconscious episode either.
Tonight, however, I took him out for our regular walk and once he hit that ‘magic spot’ he started spinning in crazy circles. I snapped up the leash, made him sit and wait. I praised him lavishly and we finally returned to the porch. We repeated the exercise and he was fine with no issues.
I am beginning to see this will be a life long ordeal with Ty, in which there will always be something that might trigger his fears. I hope I can foster the confidence he needs to battle through it all.