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new to board and recently had to put my Akita down also....

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  • new to board and recently had to put my Akita down also....

    :cry: Hello everyone, well I found you all by doing some research on a new dog to enter the family. Oct. 14th I had to put my 11 yr. old Akita down. Damn it's so hard to make that decision!! :cry:

    She suffered enough though and I am not even second guessing. But I'm disabled with a back injury that keeps me around my house pretty much all the time so a companion is something I need or I will go nuts. The past few days have been awful missing my Nikki and being alone so I've been looking for a new dog. I loved the Akita but I'm afraid if I go with another Akita it will remind me to much of Nikki. So I'm going to look at a Golden Retriever on Friday and a German Shepard on Saturday. Both were bred at a home/family atmosphere, more so the Shepard though as they have kids that were with the pups as they became of age to sell them and I just got some pics of the shepard and there is one picture of a little girl with the shepard in her lap, it's so cute I'm really leaning towards the Shepard but ya never know.

    Well I hope I don't need the board for anything when I get my new puppy but it's nice to know you are here. Thanks for having me on board. Jim (Concord, NH)

  • #2
    Hiya Jim!
    Welcome to our forum.

    So sorry about your dog, that is such a tough and terrible time for any pet lover.

    I hope you will consider going to a shelter and letting a dog pick YOU! Some of the best dogs in teh world are found that way!



    • #3
      Hi Kerry and thanks for the welcome.

      Glad to be here Kerry. I know you are completly right about the shelter but I found a puppy already believe it or not. I think Nikki was guiding me because it was by accident that I found him. He's a German Shepherd and is 3 months old. I'm going to go and look at him on Saturday. Being alone this past week since Nikki has been gone is driving me nuts!!!!

      I can do things like walk but not long distances and things around the house it's not like I'm in a wheel chair from my disability but I do lay in bed most of the free time I can because of the pain. I've had 9 surgery's in the past 15 yrs. Nikki was there through most of them and was a God send helping me in ways I would never have believed but she sure was there for me.

      But what I was getting at was that most of my time is spent at my home and it's not fun when your alone. This will definitely bring my spirits back up and it makes me do things where without my companion I find myself doing more "nothing". Taking care and walking, brushing, playing with my dog was my therapy ya know. I sure miss her!!!! She was the best dog/person you could find I'm telling ya. I know everyone says that but really she was a dream come true and it's so sad that she is gone but in no way was I going to let her suffer any more than she did waiting for the results of the biopsy's. Boy when pet's go downhill it's fast. Same thing happened with my Kitty "Bailey" about 4 years ago, she had "Lymphpsarcoma" and went in a week after being diagnosed.

      Well I'll be posting soon letting you all know how my new baby is and if I can wich I'll have to read your FAQ's post some pics of Nikki and my new pup if everything goes smootly Saturday. I've already got a name for him "Harley". Hehehe... I'm a Harley man from way back and still own one even though I may only ride it two or three times a year it still makes me happy for those short trips to coffee in the Am on a nice summer morning. I know soon even those 1/2 mile coffee trips will not be in my daily activity's from pain so I take the enjoyment when I can.

      Well enough rambling, sorry. I can get long winded sometmes, just post back to me to shut up if I post to much ok. :)

      Thanks again Kerry and I think I'l going to like it here. I hope I can help someone someday from what I learned with Nikki and her problems growing up. :(


      • #4
        Hi Jim.
        Glad to hear you are getting ready to take in another dog. Are you sure a puppy is a good choice? It's been a long time since you've had a pup and I just got one a year old and OH MY GAWD they have a LOT of energy!! GADS!! I forgot just how much.

        Good for you though - did you pick out a name yet?


        • #5
          Just wanted to say welcome aboard~
          For the love of your pets!


          • #6
            First, let me say how terribly sorry I am for your loss. Your feelings of 'going nuts' are a testimony to the connection you had and the impact your dog had on your life.

            I can understand your desire to open your home to this puppy. My father has an injury as well and subsequently spends most of his time at home and often, due to medical consequences of the injury, will find himself incapable of long walks and some of the tasks necessary for the behavioural development of large breeds. That said, however, he has a large labrador retriever who is the most well trained well adjusted dog I have ever encountered, and in my experiences I have encountered a lot of animals!

            My only concerns are that with this breed in particular, and with your condition, you may have to be extra vigilant regarding behaviour problems. I am especially sensitive to this because of my father. German shepherds tend to become especially attached to their owners and they need clear structure and social hierarchy to feel secure and to prevent problematic behaviours. Please do not dismiss behaviour problems. It is the number one reason why animals are abandoned. It is a difficult issue when it occurs and in large animals some of these problems are dangerous to the humans involved. It is crucial that you invest in proper training of this animal. I would emphasize this for anyone inviting a large breed into their lives. In your situation, I think it is paramount for your relationship and for the wellbeing of the dog. As german shepherds require a clear social hierarchy, you may run into behaviour issues due to your condition. Often these wonderfully sensitive and protective animals will assume a caregiver role or develop anxiety over the well being of their human and as of yet, consistent, solid training and awareness as to behavioural disorders (so that you can endeavor to prevent them or at least recognize the early signs before the behaviour escalates to quality of life issues) will assist you in having a full and rewarding relationship.

            I do not mean to discourage you from the german shepherd vs say a lab or goldie, but it is important that with such a breed with such a disposition that you are aware that your circumstances can set the stage for increasing the risks of problems ahead. Having had an Akita, and developing such a rich relationship as your message conveys, I would expect that you are a kind individual who cherishes animal life. So please take this response as it is intended. Having had animals, despite our best attempts (including a german shepherd) develop separation anxiety due to bonding with an injured human I feel it is necessary for me to give you a heads up. We have encountered various responses from our dogs in the past. One developed aggression issues and became very dominant in his attempts to 'protect' his human (including harmful behaviour *toward* the injured human). For us, the issue was not that the behaviour was disruptive (even though it was very difficult) it was that the animal clearly was distressed to be displaying these behaviours. Even with all we do (solid training, teaching our dog to be task orientated and concept based training, etc) even our current well adjusted dog has developed separation anxiety for my father (it became apparant now that our dog is geriatric) and during these anxiety attacks there is a large potential for injury (he likes to 'get into things'). It is not possible for my father to be with the dog ALL the time, but as it is most of the time they are together 23/24hrs and we knew developing separation anxiety itself was not avoidable. However, with training and being aware of what we could do to discourage behaviour issues, we *were* able to make sure that our dog could spend most of his time in a low stress environment, feel secure, and with extra effort he has been able to adjust for the majority of his life without any issue.

            I am just bringing up this issue. I am sure you are well aware of the needs of this breed for training and I am sure you are a caring and responsible individual. I am sorry if this was just me on a soapbox. I become very distressed when I see animals come into the hospital with behaviour problems because I want to save the animals and humans from having to experience the difficulties associated with this. And I tend to jump at certain breeds that seem to need that extra little bit of TLC.

            I wish you the best of luck in your decision and I sincerely hope the right dog finds you


            • #7

              Hey Vet2besoon, Thank you so much for your kind words about my loss of Nikki.

              She was something I'll tell ya. Was definitely a handful in the begining but I had read on the Breed before I got her and knew she would take a lot of work with especially so when she was a pup and I hired a private trainer to come to my house twice a week for 6 months. Yes it was expesive but was worth it from what "I" learned from the experience as I was totally involved with the training as I wanted it to be anyway. I didn't want to go to one of those doggy day care training types where there are 30 pups running all around learning nothing except soicalization skills and I wonder on that as well.

              You'll come to learn I am a very responsible pet owner and do everything and "anything" for my pet. Yes I'm disalbed and alone at home all day long but I do get out and around and can and do push myself for the sake and need of the growing pup Harley. We've come to such a bond already it's amazing and he's really starting to lose his timidness from me taking him around to places I visit in my City. I own rental property's in the City I live and so I am pretty well known and stop into businesses along with our daily walks where he can learn his heel, sit, stay,etc. but his learning skills are very high!! He is extremely smart and after only a week at home has learned so much I'm amazed. Of course they are mostly things he does on his own but he grasps it and you can see it in his eyes when he knows he's doing something right.

              I'm readint this book that I purchased before I got him on "Positive behavioral training" and it's very good reading so I'm going to take what I learned from Nikki's training (I didn't like the snapping of the choke collar) and what I'm learning from this book and combine them and I think we'll go pretty good. (Thank God he's smart. LOL)

              I've seen this guy "Uncle Matty/Maddie?) on the television and after watching his show I learned that the you didn't have to jerk the chain until they yelp which was what my trainer was taught. Yes a correction jerk but there is no need to hurt the dog which I knew was happening with Nikki and would do it lighter when I was with her anyway and it would work. Plus Akita's don't do well with "negative" training. They are a breed in their own if you haven't read about them you should *another good read".

              Anyway, I just wanted to thank you for your writing. For the normal person it's very hepful and would fit but I think with the love and all the time I have to give Harley he will be glad that he is part of this household. My pet's/companions, be it my cat "Bailey" that passed from Cancer or my dog "Nikki" from Cancer and auto-immune problems they are part of my home not a fixture or something for me to look at. I participate in my pet's life. I know exactly what you must have been thinking.....(Oh no, here's this guy that's disabled getting a 100 lb. German Shepherd and he's not going to be able to take care of him) be it for the reason of your experience with your father and his dog and not being able to take care of him fully (should not have a dog, your right) but my situation is different and I would have told you if you would have asked if I was able to take "care" of a dog. Actually it does as much good for me to get up and out and to have the reason of taking Harely out than have no reason and just lay around the house so it's sort of a two way street. :D

              Thanks for the concern but you can rest assured that in no way will Harley end up in a Rescue Shelter or anything like that and that you were right when you said at the end that "I am a responsible pet owner".

              Actually I'm the one in my neighborhood, well my Fiance also (She own's the house right next door to mine) that is the one that speaks up to the one's that walk their dog and don't pick up or the guy that thinks he has verbal control of "his" german shepherd and then it attacks a sheltie that this little old man is walking down the street. It was me that went and broke the dog's apart and made sure the poor old gentelman and his puppy were ok and told that guy with the shepherd that that was the last time and if I seen that dog off leash again the police were going to be called. "You know the type of pet owner that has the big German Shepherd (bred for size not temperment/standard) and Rottweiller and both of them I'm sure was beat to listen to him so he thinks he has them under verbal control. WRONG!!!! I personally don't think "any" dog is under verbal control. And I personally always have my dog on a leash when out of my back "fenced" in yard. My Akita never once in 11 years escaped or ran out by accident out my house because a door was left open by mistake as countless other neighbors have happen and they always end up being coralled in my back yard. Which I don't mind doing but I can't understand how if that happens once how could you let it happen again, wouldn't you watch out or be on the ready when you or someone was leaving the house?!? Yep thought so.

              Well as you see you found someone that likes to write as much as you and get on their own soapbox so don't worry about your post to me I totally understand and if I were a new pet owner and not pet lover I would take it as help. So either way no problem and nice meeting ya.

              Oh, if you want to see Nikki here is a site that I have some pics posted of her. I tried to post some of Harley but had a problem so I'm thinking of making a new one when I have time so I can dedicate a page to Nikki and Bailey and also have one for Harley so the Breeder I got him from can check online every so often to see him grow up. She (the breeder) thought that that was a nice idea and really liked it so I'm going to keep her updated on his growth etc. I thought she would like that and how many people ya think said that to her??!!?? Hehehe,.. None. So anyway nice talking to ya and hope to in the future.

              PS> Are you on your way of becoming a Vet.? Sincerely, Jim


              • #8
                forgot the link of course. LOL



                • #9
                  Hi Jim!

                  Thanks for such a full reply! It was incredibly useful. I'm glad you took my message as it was intended. I really didnt want to come across as judgemental in anyway, I wanted to be helpful. It is hard to fully assess from a post, or even a brief one-on-one meeting, where someone is coming from and how to communicate your ideas effectively. I want to clearly state that I think it is great for someone who is injured to have animal companionship. It has been immensely rewarding in my father's case for one. He has the benefit of family involvement to help him out (some days his condition precludes him from basic care other days he becomes the full care-giver of the family, such is the nature of his particular condition). I really wasnt trying to jump on you but yes, I thought "red flag: this could become a problem, injured human + behaviour prone breed". That is why I came up with that novel of a response. I did not in any way mean to sound discouraging. I just wanted to make sure that the issue was addressed if you werent aware of it, and I didnt want to assume that just because you were sensitive to the nature of Akitas that you were aware of German shepherds! (one thing I've learned is you just cant assume!)

                  I'm also very pleased that you are open minded re: training. There has been so much development in the last few years re: techniques and a major movement to overhaul some of the ideas out there. With intelligent breeds, especially in breeds were dominance can be an issue, positive techniques are the way to go! Teaching by concepts and communication can only strengthen a relationship and cultivate respect.

                  Yeah, I'll be a vet in 2 yrs (eeps!!). So I need to practice toning down the whole soapbox thing....need to learn how to communicate without allientating....seems that some of the vets I shadow are great communicators, others get so excited and wrapped up in education or the science of the situation they dont realise how they are being mis/understood by the client. I really appreciated your response because I want to make sure I say what I mean and that I hear what is being said....y'know it *seems* easy...but it isnt. We actually have classes in bedside manner and boy can it be frustrating!! Necessary...but scary.

                  I'm looking forward to seeing Harley develop! Congrats!


                  • #10
                    No problem, I'm pretty laid back anyway......

                    But I take critisism as an education. I know what you mean, some don't and would think that your jumping down their throat and come back with a mean response but i totally understoof where you were comming from and why. I think if you want to learn a little also is maybe first start out with a couple of questions to find out what's going on with the person then if needed you can follow up with some particulars as you won't always find someone that understands where your comming from and think that your attacking them and maybe pull away, ya know??

                    With my, I try to listen to everyone and learn what I can from it. Always learning right.

                    I'm glad your happy with the positive obedience training, after reading up on the breed I figured that would be a good way to go, oh and also the experience with the first trainer.

                    I'm sure your going to be a great Vet (in 2 yrs) and I'm beside manners (I think) is very important!!! I just changed Vet's and just love my new one. He's very nice and like you talks with you not to you. Very nice and clean also and my last place was awful. That's why I drove an hour to a specialist for Nikki when she got sick. I also had her put down there also.

                    Your gonna think I'm nuts when I tell you this but check this out. At the place I went to they use a 3 injection uethenasia process, first a valium type drug, then they inject "Propranol" then the uethenasia drug. Well after they injected the valium and started the propranol she (Nikki) should have been completely down.... well I was crying over the top of her head so much that all of a sudden she raised her head and kissed me in my face two times and then laid back down. To me it was telling me it was ok because I was taking it so hard. She knew I had a hard time making this decision and I think with those kisses tried to ease "my" pain. She was taking care of me and thinking of me right up to the end!!! I'm starting to cry so I'm going to go but I'll look forward to talking to you in the future.

                    Oh and I posted a couple of pictures on my web site of Harley but haven't competely updated it. Here it is again....


                    • #11
                      First: Harley is precious!!

                      Second: you are NOT crazy. Some people are blessed to have their pet release them and to confirm their decision. My father's german shepherd (an all around amazing dog, so I definately dont want anyone to think I have an issue with the breed) was incredibly loyal to the end. When his time came we were waiting for the vet to come by and help our dog make this last transition. It was incredibly difficult and my father was beside himself. The dog looked up at my father in his kind way and my father told him to let go ('dont hold on for me. let go. do what *you* need to do.'). Ever obediant, he nudged my father goodbye, rested his head, and let go. He had been holding on for such a long time that we thought as long as our dog wanted to hold on we had to maintain his quality of life. Turned out he was waiting for my dad to let go. In life, we have defining moments. This is one of mine. It makes me want to make sure that whenever possible all animals and their humans can experience a moment of peace like that.

                      Some clients come in saying that their pet told them 'it is time' or 'it is okay'. Actually, one of the oncologists at school told us to be sensitive to this and to make sure we discuss this with our clients because sometimes an animal will come to you and let you know they arent fighting anymore or they have an air of peace to them. I only wish all pet owners could experience this release. Sometimes it is just up to the loving human to make the quality of life judgement call and it is an incredible burden yet testiment of self-less love to make that decision.

                      You were definately blessed with Nikki. I'm glad Harley is going to grow up in a home where such gifts are acknowledged and cherished.