A Wolf

I have been feeling a little bit of relief since finding out that Juno probably, more than likely, was suffering from Lyme disease for a few years before her death. This means that although the decision to put her to sleep was probably not the best outcome at the end of the day, at least I now know the reason for her aggression and that it was not because she was a ‘bad dog’ or was totally uncontrollable/untrainable. She was amazing with her family; protected us to the very end and only saw red with other dogs, which we tried to keep her away from as much as possible. Her behaviour was totally baffling but knowing she probably had Lyme disease makes it perhaps a little more easier to understand. I still feel much sadness, guilt and dismay that neither I nor the vets had picked up on this very simple diagnosis and was able to treat her. I am starting to feel a little better, however; so much so, that the depression I had been feeling has lifted and the crying I had been doing on a daily basis has stopped. I feel more ‘settled’ in my own skin and the pain is subsiding.

A few nights ago, I had the strangest dream; it was so real, it actually felt as if what occurred actually happened. I don’t often have dreams like this but when I do, I feel very affected by them for a long time afterwards and I know that they have a huge significance in my life. I was ‘awoken’ by a feeling that something was coming towards me. I heard a voice say ‘a dog’ and got the impression that there were a few people/beings present in the room watching me. I turned and realised that a huge wolf had just lay down by my right side. He was silver and black and was nearly as long as me and his presence was very scary. His head was right next to mine and his massive back arched above me. I had the urge to turn back over and get away from him, whereupon he switched over to my left side and lay down there. I half-woke up shortly after that in a sweat, feeling scared because of the vividness of it all, thinking it was a nightmare. Quite soon, when I had settled down a bit, I went back to sleep.

As I woke up again for the morning, I immediately recalled the dream and understood that it was Juno coming back to lie down in the place she always liked to be in; stretched out right next to me. She was now a wolf, a big (in fact huge) wolf. I also understood that this was the reincarnation she had been looking forward to during her life with us. I then had an image of her running wild in a deep forest with a pack of wolves and it made me feel very proud in bittersweet way. This is what she had wanted, I knew without doubt. I had the feeling that she had now served her ‘purpose’ with me and my family and as soon as I had found out the cause of her aggression, Lyme, six months after her death, she left. I often would hear the words ‘set me free’ when I thought she was nearby and now I know that this was what she wanted more than anything.

Since then, I have had images of her leading the pack as the Alpha Male. I know that she is a beautiful, strong, intelligent, fierce and loyal leader and will have great success with her pack, which I get the impression is far away from human habitation. I feel a such a release; happier than I have been in the last six months and so very glad that at last, she is free.

When I was pregnant with my first daughter almost exactly 17 years ago, the night before I gave birth, I had the impression that a wolf was sitting at the bottom of my bed, there to look over me whilst my daughter was being born. I had never felt anything so real since my childhood visions of wolves pacing up and down outside my bedroom door (yes it seems to be a recurring theme and boy, did they seem real back then). When my second daughter was born, nearly 14 years ago, on a snowy December night, I heard a fox screech continuously outside the window. I now wonder if these are all one and the same creature; a reincarnation of many wolves and foxes all linking to my real dog companion (and protector) Juno. I have the feeling that they are.

I will still always be in contact with Juno; with the wolf that now roams that deep forest somewhere far away. The connection can never be broken and maybe, just maybe one day in the future my beloved will send me another dog or even a real wolf to look over me again.

I look forward to that day.

Losing a dog and finding a diagnosis (part #2)

I am been treated for (what the doctor suspects is) a Lyme infected tick bite. I mentioned this in a previous post, where I wrote about calling back my beloved deceased dog Juno to help me sort out the problem. Little did I know in the end how much this would all be so relevant to finding out what was wrong with her. In the last week I have been doing so much research about Lyme and what I can do to help myself overcome it* I have been fortunate because I feel that I have come across the right information at exactly the right time and I thank Juno for guiding me to type in the right search words and click on the right web pages (I asked her beforehand to help me find the information I needed to heal myself).

During that research, I had the urge to look up Lyme and dogs – it had never even crossed my mind to do so in the past; I had no idea that dogs (or any other animal) could get Lyme disease. I was absolutely astounded at what I discovered. Yes, dogs do get Lyme and there are many symptoms that can show themselves that will alert you (you can also get your dog tested at the vets). I believe that Juno had many of these symptoms and we failed to recognise them at the time.

The symptoms of Lyme in dogs are numerous: general lethargy, unexplained lameness, stiff joints, confusion, and searching for ‘Lyme and Aggression in Dogs‘ brought up scores of pages about how sudden aggression in otherwise normal dogs can be another sign that he/she has Lyme. It was then that a lightbulb went on in my head. She had been suffering from unexplained escalating aggression for a couple of years, she was very lethargic (would not get up to chase a ball, would not want to go for walks or play with us) and had stiff hips, so much so that she could not walk or run properly. We had asked the vet to try and give us a diagnosis about her hips, after it became very bad about three years ago but he never tested her for Lyme, only gave her a series of scans and x-rays and came to the conclusion she had had an accident when she was younger or had been born with a condition that gave her sciatica and it was exacerbated by the fact she was overweight (because she did not want to exercise). The only thing he was able to suggest was putting her on a diet to ease the pain and for her to take anti-inflammatories. If only I had further researched her hip and lethargy problems back then.

Juno had undiagnosed Lyme disease.

I have no doubt now that this was what her problem was. Here is her whole story. From a very young age, each summer I remember having to pull off tick after tick, some days she would come back from a walk and have more than ten ticks crawling on her and if I missed them, they would attach themselves around her face, neck, legs and sometimes even on her tail. It was a constant battle to remove them and in the height of summer, if she had been running free off the path, every day was a tick removal day. We used frontline and other brands throughout her life but I believe that they did not really work. I had no idea that these ticks could be transmitting, and obviously did transmit, Lyme to her until I had a tick bite myself and started to be treated for it. It was only then that I put two and two together.

By that time, it was too late for Juno.

My beloved dog. I have been so sad about you, feeling so desperately guilty, I did not see that there could ever be a way that I would resolve this pain and anguish about having to have you put to sleep because of your crazy aggression but since I made that Eureka discovery, things have been starting to get better. You indicated to me that you had headaches, and now I understand why. I know that you sent that tick to crawl up and bite my leg so that I may understand that you had Lyme yourself and now that I have found out, things can move forward and we can resolve this pain; I can get better and you can move on and be free. Please forgive us for this terrible misunderstanding, we had no idea whatsoever that you were suffering in this terrible way.

If you find yourself here because you are having issues with an aggressive dog, please ask your vet to test for Lyme before you consider euthanasia. Lyme can be treated with antibiotics and there are also other options to consider (such as natural treatments).

I wish you all the best on your journey.

*I have started the Buhner Protocol for early Lyme alongside antibiotics. Also, I have started to take other supplements based on what I have been reading on the net. In addition to these, I have been making changes to my diet and started to address my meditation practice, which had been non-existent up until now. Because I have done extensive research, and I am now doing this protocol on myself, I decided to write another post about it here, so that if you find yourself in the same situation as me, you could use it as a starting point in your road to recovery.

Losing a dog and finding a diagnosis?

yesterday was a sad day on many fronts but it also helped me to move forward a little. I went for a walk for the first time since Juno’s death with her best friend and his owner. It was very hard to meet up with them again, as I had not seen them for over five months. Her friend was very eager to see where Juno was and sniffed all over me and around my car but soon understood that she was not with us and that we would be taking just him for a walk that morning.

Because we were walking in a busy public park (somewhere I had not been able to walk with Juno for at least a year before her death because of the stress of not knowing how she would react to other dogs and whether she would try to attack them or not), I was myself rather anxious; I was on high alert looking around every corner for approaching dogs but I was soon able to relax and enjoy the walk after I sussed out that Juno’s friend was OK, relaxed and happy to be there.

It was an emotional morning for me. I kept imagining how it would have been had Juno still been alive, how much she would have enjoyed playing with her friend; how they would have roughed and tumbled together all over the place for hours and hours, the way they used to do. They would never have been able to do that in that park of course, with the constant threat of Juno attacking other dogs, however, in an enclosed garden it was so great to watch.

I had a long chat with my friend during the walk about Juno, her history, his dog and his history (many dogs have some kind of history, I have discovered), we looked at photos of her, talked about how beautiful she was and how good she was with all people and children. I felt sick to my stomach and very upset. It feels like there will never be a resolution to all of this, that talking about it isn’t going to help me get out of this crazy place I am in and that by now, I should really be able to move on and get over the death of my Beloved. I am sure my friend thought I should be over her by now, in fact, even I think, just like other normal people like my husband and children for example, I ‘should’ be over her by now.

I am not and in the last six months, I have been beginning to suspect that I actually am not normal.

Initially, I thought that I wouldn’t mention on this blog that I suspect I have some kind of Aspergers/high-functioning autism, although I have never been tested for it. Fifty years old in three weeks’ time and thinking that I may have found the answer to my crazy (and strange) life full of failed jobs, awkward social situations, exhaustion (physically and mentally) and depression, even though to look at me you would see an intelligent, fully-functioning, if slightly awkward mother, wife, daughter, friend etc. who is fully able to cope with life. I don’t see it like that at all. It may seem as if I am coping but underneath it all I am struggling.

I just thought that I was a failure, that’s all. Then about three years ago, I realised I was definitely a ‘Highly Sensitive Person’. I have not worked out in the public sphere for 20 years. Despite being highly qualified in my field (fashion), the last job I had in 1999 was a complete disaster; I hated the lights, the music, the open-plan office, having to work whilst listening to constant chit-chat, not knowing how to join in with that chit-chat, not quite knowing how to act professionally, when to call people, how to approach people with questions, I didn’t even know how to answer the phone. I sat at my desk most of the day and stared at a huge and beautiful oak tree just outside the window, it used to sway so majestically in the wind and was always there for me to ‘focus on’ when things got too much. I spent every weekend in bed trying to recuperate from the previous week of work. Needless to say, I got fired after 9 valiant months of effort and eventual illness. After that disaster, I managed to escape to the mountains with a wonderful man; we had two children, homeschooled them, got a dog and the rest is history.

And having, loving and losing that beloved dog (the operative word here being losing – as none of this had been made apparent to me whilst she was alive) has made me realise for the fist time that I actually cannot cope with what everyone would think of as ‘normal life’ (without her). Before she left me, I really had no idea that I could possibly have Aspergers. In the last five and a half months however, I have had a few things happen to me that have put the seeds into my head.

Whilst at a summer camp with my children back in August, I got into a conversation with a guy who had just been diagnosed with high-functioning Autism and after thinking back over what he said to me, I realised that I had been in exactly the same position as him when I was younger (and not understanding why) and showed many of the same traits that he was showing. Then in early September, a friend dropped off a book called “La Difference Invisible” by Julie Dachez, a French bande-dessinée about a girl living a regular life, (which actually was not so regular) and how she went through the process of being diagnosed with Aspergers. I asked my friend why she had given it to me and she answered because once you said you felt very different in social situations, so I thought you would find it interesting. The book could have been written about me.

I was beginning to put two and two together.