Today has been so ridiculously shitty – one of those days where you just have to laugh XD
First we traveled via train with Sasha, and although she did great in a lot of ways, she also did really REALLY bad. For literally no reason she was freaking big style about things, things that she’s either used to or that we’ve specifically trained around.
It was like we were right back to when she was 12 weeks old, and everything freaked her out. Maybe worse! So that was very frustrating. Made me question all over again if we should be pursuing SD work with her, as she is a sensitive dog and a fearful puppy.
Of course we’ve come a long, LONG way from that very anxious 12 week old puppy, but she still gets very nervous meeting people (eg. my family) and will shy away, get anxious, not interact with them, and as today showed things just freak her out.
These are not good qualities for a service dog prospect!
We’ve decided we’ll just continue training and socialising her, and if we hit 9-12 months and she’s clearly not going to cope or enjoy this role, we’ll wash her. There’s a chance we could wash her for Toller, but if Tolly isn’t a good prospect (and I’m not expecting her to be at all, she is a terrier bless her) I don’t know what we’ll do.
As ever, no “it’ll be fine” comments please. I’ve done a ton of research over the past 6 months about service dogs, and I’ve spoken to trainers and handlers, and Sasha really shouldn’t be this way. I think there’s a chance we can push through it and come out the other side stronger, but it might just not happen.
And of course I’m feeling frustrated with her breeder, who placed her in this role when she must have known how fearful Sasha was. I don’t know if it was the breeder’s fault or, probably more likely, the first home Sasha was placed in, but either way ugh!
Anyway, day trip pics!
You can’t really tell, but she was freaking big style here. Very unhappy with trains pulling in…not like we’ve done A TON OF WORK ON THAT XD
She was great on the train. We reserved seats this time, there and back, so we’d definitely have somewhere to sit with her (not that it was busy at all!!), and cuddling beside her and watching the scenery pass by was lovely 🙂
Going over the sea!
We had a lovely time walking along the prom. Sasha made some doggy friends (dogs are one of the things she’s best with, and even then there’s a large chunk of uncertainty and anxiety, but once she’s managed to say hi she loves puppy play-bounding)
We walked a quiet back road to the pet shop, skipping out the main street. We passed this awesome bus stop – world’s coolest bus stop or what?! 🙂
I went into the pet shop and had a mooch about with Sasha outside.
We used to go to this pet shop all the time, so I’m pretty comfortable there. I picked out some dog treats and some doggy Christmas stuff, then went to look at the pet room. When I saw they had female mice I asked to see them and omb they were adorable!!!
I asked some questions, got the breeder details, and said we’d take them. I couldn’t handle them because I had chickeny smelling hands, and anyway the staff member had no idea how to catch them XD
There was a Himalayan mouse (one of my favourites!!) an agouti (I love agoutis!) and a lilac pied.
I went outside and took Sasha’s lead, and we did some lovely training games whilst my partner went in and paid up and reserved the mice. Sasha was rocking this bit, even though there were people everywhere – she was comfortable, confident and having fun.
We walked back past the cool bus stop, then my partner went ahead to get us hot chocolates from a gorgeous chocolate shop, and me and Sasha tried to find a way avoiding the main road back onto the prom.
It was here that Sasha decided, literally out of nowhere, that old people TERRIFIED her.
We live in an area where most the population are over 65, so she has been exposed to a ton of old people and she is very used to them…so I don’t even.
I started rewarding her super-fast, and trying to make everything fun. But Sasha would see someone approaching from 12 foot away and literally freeze, cower, try duck onto the road etc. Wtf??
Eventually I marched her past everyone, happy-talking and dragging her because there was nowhere else for us to go and reboot, and finally managed to duck onto the prom where it was quiet again. Phew. She greeted two dogs, and we tried to do some fun de-stressing things…throwing treats to sniff out, running, letting her lead out and encouraging her to explore etc.
She wasn’t having it though. She was tense and alert, and focusing on anybody she could see.
My partner came back with hot chocolates and we sat on a bench slurping them (they were shit hahaha because sod’s law! The water hadn’t heated up so it was just tepid vaguely chocolatey water with sludge at the bottom XD ) whilst Sasha ate a cookie treat.
After this my partner went back to the pet shop to collect the mice, and I let Sasha off lead on the prom. I called her to me to let someone past (she was a little concerned about them) and we did more fun games.
When I saw my partner we turned and went to meet him. I called Sasha into an off lead heel and she walked past an elderly man with literally no problem – go figure!!
We met up with my partner and went back to the train station together. Ten minutes wait and, as the train was coming in, my partner held her. We’d discovered she freaked out less in his arms, so.
She was fine again on the train back. We carry her on and off, because a) she’s a large breed (and clumsy!!) so must be careful with steps / gaps, especially whilst she’s young, and b) she’s not ready to manage that.
When we got home, I went to put the new mice in their cage in the quarantine room, and as soon as I opened the travel boxes, I heard the noises of mice with URIs 😥
I was fucking distraught.
I fished them out, and it’s the lilac and white girl who has it worst, she has it really bad. The other two are symptomless (the Himalayan is sneezing a bit more than usual, but no wheezing), but probably carrying it. AAAGH WHY WHY GRRRR!
We phoned the shop immediately, and received no apologies. They said we could return them for a refund *sigh* because that’s easy for us to do, and we wouldn’t want to anyway because they’d most likely euth them!!
So. We have a vet appt booked for tomorrow. I imagine even the two who don’t have symptoms will be prescribed Baytril.
I’m absolutely disgusted that the pet shop didn’t notice how ill one of their mice was, if not all. It was incredibly obvious that they were ill, I knew as soon as I opened the box, and I find it utterly disgraceful that they didn’t realise / care.
The pet shop in question is Lamberts Pet Supplies. It used to be a good shop, but has drastically gotten worse recently, and we will not be going back!
Say hello to Kimi the Himalayan mouse. She is not only absolutely stunning to look at, but very inquisitive and happy to be handled too. She was the first up to the edge of the box when I opened it, and had no problem with me picking her up 🙂 ❤
She climbed onto my head whilst all three were on my shoulder XD
The agouti girl we have named Rin. She is absolutely gorgeous but omb is she not used to being handled!!!
When you go to pick her up, she literally leaps from your hand like a cork out a bottle!
And the very sick girl is extremely sweet and again lovely to be handled. We have called her Jan.
The staff member at the pet shop really was dreadful at picking the mice up, which I really can’t understand now as two of them are so sweet, laid back little girls!
I’m very glad we were already so aware and prepared for quarantine, otherwise our entire breeding programme could have been ruined. URIs are very infectious, and could have wiped out and ruined all our mice!!
Hoping the vet appt goes well tomorrow…
And of course after five days with very low numbers of seizures, I had one on the train today and half a dozen this evening in the space of a few hours. I was well and truly out of it and zonked, coming around and feeling a bit more normal now.
Finally, feel free to go check out our Much Loved Mice blog – the babies are growing!!