12 November 2015

Perrito the Toughest Tiny Terrier

Perrito has been one of my foster dogs for over six months now. I will say upfront that he is a challenging dog. And I will also say that this tiny guy has the biggest, toughest spirit I’ve been privileged to know in a long time. He is eight pounds of muscle and resilience.

Perry has chronic pancreatitis that is being managed through diet, supplements, and as much predictability as I can provide so as not to rock his world. Because Perry also has anxiety and some serious compulsion issues. Over the last six months, he's worked hard and I've learned to work smarter on behavior interventions, and it's become clear that he needs additional help in the form of pharmaceutical support. Part of his visit to the vet today was about that support.

Currently, Perry is terrified of restraint, grooming, and exams. We've come a long way with body handling and I can touch and massage him just about anywhere and pick him up if he's in the mood. Anything else requires a muzzle and nail trimming is right out. For our vet visit, he had to wear a basket muzzle before we'd quite finished with muzzle conditioning to make it a "fun tool" that predicts lots and lots of meat bits. It was not fun.

The little guy had a rough night of no sleep in a different place, wasn't feeling well, had to travel without an anxiety-soothing bone, had to wear a muzzle, got poked and prodded, and was pretty scared in general. After all I put him through, he leaned against me and asked for pets. And then when we got home, the poor guy fell out of the truck. He got up, shook himself off, and went to check out any changes in yard scents. As you can see from the photo, Perry is exhausted. And he'll be the first one up and trotting outside as soon as I move toward the back door.

Perry gets himself into trouble sometimes by barking in the faces of terriers who don't put up with such stuff. They roar at him and he retreats, but it doesn't get him down for long. He has clocked himself in the head with his own heavy rubber toys, knocking himself to the ground. He gets right up and charges the toy again. He has been severely ill with vomiting and diarrhea. It didn’t keep him from hauling his short self up onto the nearest chair for some desk explorations. 

Perrito says, "You can't keep a good dog down!"