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For the past few months, John has been dealing with the ramifications of the prostate/urinary tract infection that had developed in the beginning of March. He was put on steroids and antibiotics to help treat the infections, but certain issues have been recurring, so off we went back to the vet.
As you can see, he likes Dr. Khan very much! All of the staff said that he’s such an amazing patient, letting them do whatever they need to do to find out what’s going on with him. But sadly, right now the answer is: we still don’t know what’s going on. We’re going to be doing some more testing over the coming weeks to see if we can pinpoint the problem and help our sweet guy get better!
Two nights ago, I was awoken to the sound of intense, incessant licking coming from the foot of my bed. Since John is a bit older and not nearly as agile as Lucy, he has to sleep in his crate instead of on the bed with us. So I looked over the side and saw him, licking feverishly, at his dog bed. It was like the thing was covered in peanut butter (it wasn’t) and he was trying to scrape off every last bit of it.
The noises he was making were, well, gross. Slurping, snorting, huffing and puffing. It had to stop – it was 2am after all! So I got out of bed and went over to his crate and gently lifted his head to look at me. I gave him a couple of pats and watched him lay back down. I got back into bed. The licking started again.
I began to consider that maybe this was just attention seeking behavior. That he wanted me to get out of bed and pat his head. This time, I was determined to not give in. “Reward the good, ignore the bad.” This was an undesirable behavior on my end, and I didn’t want to reinforce it. So I waited. And waited. And waited. And I waited for nearly an hour. Being that John is deaf, I just let out a big scream because I knew it wouldn’t bother him. I was beyond frustrated and tired, and I wanted him to stop.
I got out of bed again and physically interrupted him again. It was then that I noticed that his dog bed was completely soaked through. I couldn’t determine what had made it so soaking wet, whether it was his saliva or something else, but all I knew is that it didn’t smell good and it probably wasn’t very comfortable for him. So I removed the bed, cleaned the crate, and got back in bed. With the dog bed gone, John seemed to be more at ease. But now I wasn’t. I was so concerned that something was wrong. I resolved to call the vet in the morning to talk to them about it and see if he needed to be seen, and to monitor him throughout the day.
Well, the vet agreed that he probably didn’t need to be seen right away, but to keep an eye out if the behavior didn’t improve, I should bring him in. Well, later in the evening, on our walk, I noticed something even more weird: John was urinating blood. And not just urine tinged with blood – this was bright, red pure blood. Totally shocked, I took John to the closest emergency vet right away.
Well, after some diagnostic tests at the vet, including sedation for x-rays and an ultrasound, and collection of a urine sample and culture for a urinalysis, John was discharged with antibiotics for what is expected to be a prostate infection. Situations like this are possible when male dogs are neutered at an older age, like John. So that’s the first suspicion. But we’ll have the results from the rest of the diagnostics in a day or two and will hopefully know more about what’s going on with our sweet old man.
When I was 16 years old, I worked as an Assistant Manager at Gap store. I enjoyed the job, for the most part, and got lots of experience from it. But the one I remember most is becoming friendly with one of the cleaning staff there. She was deaf, and when her translator was not able to be at the store with her, she couldn’t really talk to anyone very easily. Except for me since I could finger spell, and knew some very basic ASL phrases. She was a very welcoming lady, and hard working. Despite her struggles, and having one of the lesser desirable tasks to accomplish while at work, she was always pleasant, hard working and patient.
She inspired me.
Of course, I was moved by the dedication she had. Sure, I was impressed that she was independent regardless of whatever complications that may have presented for her. But more than that, my inspiration manifested itself in educating myself further so that, when presented with similar situations, I could prove to be more helpful to other people, and animals, than I was then.
Now, over 10 years later, I am fostering Bully Project‘s John, and something we may not have expressed about him until now is that he, too, is deaf. I have always wanted a deaf dog, feeling that I had a strong understanding of the needs of any dog, and the challenges that hearing loss would present. And despite loving John as much as I have any other dog, living with him is certainly a different experience than with one of my other hearing dogs.
The biggest challenge is simply getting his attention: when he’s stopped to sniff something on the street, and I want to keep going, I can’t just call his name, I can’t use a verbal “touch” command, and if he’s not looking at me, my hand signals wont work either. The silver lining: John loves human contact, so touch commands work great. If he’s distracted, all it takes is a tap on the side, or butt, or a nice head rub to get him going in the right direction again.
And he’s super food motivated, so even though he can’t hear my commands, if there’s food (even just a regular old biscuit) involved, he’s focused on nothing else and will obey any hand signals you give him!
Teaching a deaf dog has been quite the challenge, but in the end, it’s been even more rewarding than I ever imagined it could be. And after John gets adopted, would I take another deaf dog into my home? Absolutely! (But not without a short break in between.)
Earlier this week, you may have noticed something…odd. Look up on your computer screen – see the four names at the top of our website? John Archer Andrew Tristan. Wait, what was that?! John?!?!
Yes, it is true – Bully Project has experienced its first return. After a week of living in his new home, it was realized that John was not the right fit for his adoptive family. So John is back in foster care with us, and doing well. He settled right in as if he’d never left – and he’d do the exact same thing with his next new home.
The great thing is that he has had his dental work and his smile, albeit still a bit colorful, is much nicer and he’s definitely much more comfortable. So if you know anyone looking for a lazy, couch-potato of a dog who loves people (and FOOD!), please email us as firstname.lastname@example.org.
And what a home it is! His new mom is a very experienced dog owner, and pit bull owner. In fact, John is now a member of a small pack that includes an older, petite female pittie named Violet! When they met, it was like they’d known each other all their lives. It was beautiful to see them both get some pep in the steps and play with each other, but also just relax together.
We were so worried that no one would want an older pittie like John, and after only one application which ended up not panning out, we got really concerned. Despite being an absolutely amazing dog, his age was definitely working against him. But through a sheer stroke of luck, John’s information and pictures got into the hands of the right person who could see him for what he is: the absolute cream of the crop. Congratulations John, and Violet and your new family! We wish you a wonderful life together!