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Claire L
21st February 2009, 02:23 PM
:( since that terrible terrible day that our precious Minnie was taken from us so violently, I have not been able to take Cara out for a walk. Well, I actually went out once to the beach and as soon as a large dog came along, I started hyper-ventilating and sobbing. Derry had to take me home. I also tried going to the park and walking on my own, which was fine , but as soon as I saw Derry and Cara coming towards me I spotted the GS type dog on the other side of the path and again, I totally lost it.
I just don't know what to do.

Anybody got any suggestions please?

hwowen
21st February 2009, 03:08 PM
So sorry to read what happened Claire (by looking back through your previous posts, as I am new to this board).
Firstly, (and I'm no expert) yours sounds like a perfectly natural reaction to a horrible, traumatic event. It's perfectly understandable that you want to protect your dog - after all, they rely and depend on us, especially when they are so small.
If I were in your position, I would take it slow. Cara isn't going to suffer for missing out a bit on walks. Start off with a short 5 mins or so walk in an area you know feel well and will be pretty safe (even if it means driving to somewhere). Work up from there, 7 mins, 10 mins and so on counting every completed walk as a major achievement.
When you feel more confident, try and vary where you walk, but still sticking to known areas. I would go out accompanied in the initial, and if it makes you feel any safer (and there may be those out there who would disagree) I would carry a nice big stick.
Being brought up in the country, I wouldn't enter a field of strange cattle without carrying one, and animals aren't daft - sometimes just shouting and waving a stick about can be enough of a deterrent. Hope this helps, and good luck. The chances of the same terrible thing happening again are miniscule, but I understand completely your fears. Good luck.

*Pauline*
21st February 2009, 03:08 PM
I'm sorry Claire, I don't know what to do but I do feel for you. Maybe you could look at some web sites that discuss post traumatic stress. I'd like to say to try some counseling but the NHS is pretty bad at providing such help.

My sisters dog was attacked by a GSD. Her dog was not injured as my sister somehow managed to get in between Lucy and the GSD. She won't walk Lucy off lead anymore. I think pavement walking is safer as dogs should be on leads.

Thinking of you Claire. :hug:

Nicki
21st February 2009, 03:39 PM
I'm so sorry Claire, it must be very difficult and you have understandably been traumatised by what has happened.

I think the idea of gradually building up to being out for a few minutes is a good one - that should build up your confidence. You will probably always be scared now when you see a big dog - perhaps going to training classes with Cara might help, the dogs are on leads there and it would help to build up confidence for both of you?

Something like this might be worth carrying http://www.companyofanimals.co.uk/pet-corrector.php

A cheaper version is the cans of compressed air you can buy in computer supply shops to clean computers! Makes the same noise. They are effective, there was a collie who lived locally who attacked Rupert one day, pinned him to the floor :( I always carried the pet corrector after that and had occasion to use it several times, the dog never came near us again though.

pippa
21st February 2009, 03:41 PM
Hi Claire, I really feel for you.

I would do the 5-10 minute thing suggested and bulid up from there,maybe even on your own street.

Take a stick or umbrella just for your own peace of mind.

I do not live far from you as you know and I would be willing to take one of mine and come walk with you if it would be of any help:)...feel free to pm me.

Cathy Moon
21st February 2009, 05:43 PM
Claire, your anxiety is absolutely understandable after what you have been through. :hug:

Many of us are all too aware of the dangers of unfriendly loose dogs. There are friendly loose dogs too, but it is out of our control what we'll meet up with from day to day. Being prepared with a big walking stick or umbrella, knowing your physical limitations, and having a plan for how to deal with situations might help take away some of your anxiety.

If you think you might have PTSD, which is a normal reaction to a traumatic event - getting professional help will help you understand and overcome your anxiety.

Here are two links with information about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and more information (from the 2nd link) explaining how talking to a professional therapist helps people:
http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-easy-to-read/index.shtml

http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/post-traumatic-stress-disorder-ptsd/index.shtml


How Talk Therapies Help People Overcome PTSD
Talk therapies teach people helpful ways to react to frightening events that trigger their PTSD symptoms. Based on this general goal, different types of therapy may:


Teach about trauma and its effects.
Use relaxation and anger control skills.
Provide tips for better sleep, diet, and exercise habits.
Help people identify and deal with guilt, shame, and other feelings about the event.
Focus on changing how people react to their PTSD symptoms. For example, therapy helps people visit places and people that are reminders of the trauma.

Claire L
21st February 2009, 07:08 PM
Thanks for the replies :flwr: I had a big stick with me on both occasions but it was of no comfort to me. I think I will start by walking around our estate (it's a cul de sac) and see how that goes.

I can rationalize what happened, in my head and I know that the odds of something like that happening to me again are very low BUT my brain turns into MUSH when I see a big dog.

CavCross
21st February 2009, 07:53 PM
Hi Claire,

I don't have any suggestions but just don't be too hard on yourself it is still very raw and it is understandable that you will feel like this! I only read today what happened to Minnie. The poor, poor little girl. Its so unfair and heart wrenching and should never, ever have happened. I can't imagine what those moments where like at the time and it will be no easier now if not harder to deal with. Such a darling, beautiful, little girl, she had such a lovely life with you and the youtube of her is just gorgeous. She looks so happy & full of life. I can't even comprehend how you are feeling now without your girl :(

laram
21st February 2009, 08:46 PM
Hi,

Just wanted to say I was so sorry to read what happened to you and Minnie. It's no wonder you're traumatised and I'm sure it will take a long time to feel ok walking again.

This may sound naive, but would spending time around a large dog with a good temperament help at all? Maybe there's a therapy-dog club where you live which could put you in contact with someone. Perhaps it would help you not to view all large dogs on your walks as threatening.

Sorry - silly suggestion, but it was all I could think of that might help me besides the peace of mind of having a defence (e.g. pepper spray).

brotymo
21st February 2009, 10:21 PM
Claire, I am so sorry for what you are experiencing. I think time is going to be part of the healing equation, and there is no way to "fast track" that. Others had to good suggestions for gradually building up your walks, and even the training class might be good. Taking a walk with someone else, like Pippa offered would, I think, help me if I had been thru something like what you experienced.

I'd suggest either in place of, or in addition to a stick, you should carry pepper spray. I have had the opportunity (or should I say scary task) of trying to stop an attacking dog before. None of my whacking did ANYTHING to stop the dog. It was only by physically bear hugging the dog and lifting it off the ground that I was able to stop it and give the other dog a chance to escape. fighting/attacking dogs just don't really feel the pain of hits and whacks, and even a big stick isn't enough unless you can scare away the dog BEFORE it attacks. On the other hand, the intense burning of the eyes, nose and mouth of pepper spray will stop it!

Give yourself time and allow others to help you. A support group sounds like a good way to talk about it in a constructive setting. I think it is probably normal that you will carry this with you always and you will probably be affected by situations on some level that remind you of that terrible day.

I will be thinking of you. Hugs

Lisa_T
22nd February 2009, 12:21 AM
I'm not sure if you're allowed to carry pepper spray in the UK/Ireland?

Claire, take things very slowly. Maybe it would be possible to take Cara to a large fenced in field, for example? Do you live near any friendly farmers? Then she could run in the open and you would have some sense of security. Or perhaps just walking with other Cav owners... safety in numbers and all that.

Post traumatic stress takes a while to get over, and it's still so recent - my guess is that the first numbness is now only really wearing off, and the full impact of what happened is starting to hit you. Look after yourself.

brotymo
22nd February 2009, 03:34 AM
Well, to those of you fine folks in Ireland and the UK, I have learned that it is illegal to carry pepper spray in your country. Very sad. Apparently, you can get charged with a firearms violation. So glad our consitution here in the US, at least for now, protects our rights to keep and bear arms. Nothing else is quite as effective as defense against an oppresive government. Anyway, it is an effective deterrant, as I have personally experienced by repelling some attacking dogs and by being on the receiving end, myself. (I've had it used on me as a mandatory part of my law enforcement training, so I do know what the victim experiences. I've had to suffer CS gas and pepper spray as well as get tasered. That way if I ever had to use any of those weapons, I could honestly testify in court that I knew exactly what I was inflicting on the victim. I did worry that one day they would be expecting us officers to get shot as part of training so we'd be familiar with that, too!)

heather r
22nd February 2009, 08:36 PM
Claire; So sorry that you are feeling awful walking your dog after the terrible incident with Minnie!

I also believe you are suffering post tramatic stress disorder. Many years ago, I was almost car jacked and for over 6 months I couldn't drive past the site.

Gradually the awful feelings receded but if you are still having difficulties, do get some help. ( perhaps from sites listed)

Heather R

rhiannasmom
23rd February 2009, 12:18 AM
You could try tapping... I know it sounds silly, but tapping certain acupressure points on the body, along with affirmation statements, helps to "rewire" the brain. This technique is very helpful for PTSD.
I've tried this on my 5-year old son when he had temper-tantrums and my husband first experienced the technique on a visit with a hypnotherapist and it works. There are a few books out on the subject and my favorite is 'The Tapping Cure: A Revolutionary System for Rapid Relief from Phobias, Anxiety, Post-Taumatic Stress Disorder and More' by Roberta Temes. I highly recommend checking it out.

Best of luck!

Melissa

ppotterfield
23rd February 2009, 07:27 PM
Claire:

I do not have any advise other than that offered by others. I would urge you to at least think about one or two professional counseling sessions. Sometimes we just need someone to help point us in the right direction to recovery.

Hugs to you and Cara Mia,

Melissa
24th February 2009, 12:21 AM
Well, to those of you fine folks in Ireland and the UK, I have learned that it is illegal to carry pepper spray in your country. Very sad. Apparently, you can get charged with a firearms violation. So glad our consitution here in the US, at least for now, protects our rights to keep and bear arms. Nothing else is quite as effective as defense against an oppresive government. Anyway, it is an effective deterrant, as I have personally experienced by repelling some attacking dogs and by being on the receiving end, myself. (I've had it used on me as a mandatory part of my law enforcement training, so I do know what the victim experiences. I've had to suffer CS gas and pepper spray as well as get tasered. That way if I ever had to use any of those weapons, I could honestly testify in court that I knew exactly what I was inflicting on the victim. I did worry that one day they would be expecting us officers to get shot as part of training so we'd be familiar with that, too!)

I've been pepper sprayed too but not as part of training. I had one on my key chain when i worked at a cash advance store (that got robbed once I left) and that husband stepped on it... wow it's pretty gross.

*Pauline*
24th February 2009, 12:42 AM
You could try tapping... I know it sounds silly, but tapping certain acupressure points on the body, along with affirmation statements, helps to "rewire" the brain. This technique is very helpful for PTSD.
I've tried this on my 5-year old son when he had temper-tantrums and my husband first experienced the technique on a visit with a hypnotherapist and it works. There are a few books out on the subject and my favorite is 'The Tapping Cure: A Revolutionary System for Rapid Relief from Phobias, Anxiety, Post-Taumatic Stress Disorder and More' by Roberta Temes. I highly recommend checking it out.

Best of luck!

Melissa


I've tried this too. I does work if you can keep it up.

Lani
24th February 2009, 12:51 AM
No words of wisdom for you Claire, but just wanted to send you an e-hug from across the pond :hug:

I can't even begin to fathom what you are going through but I am certain that your reaction is a very normal one and it will take some time to get comfortable again near larger dogs.

Sandrac
24th February 2009, 10:49 AM
Claire, what you are feeling is a perfectly normal reaction and it must be so hard for you to go out. Just take it slowly and take each day as it comes. There has been lots of good advice already given here.

arasara
24th February 2009, 02:39 PM
Claire,

I am so sorry *hugZ* I still think of you often. I hope time will help to ease your pain :flwr:

Cathy T
25th February 2009, 03:35 AM
Totally and absolutely understandable Claire. I think about you all of the time. What you experienced was such an incredibly traumatic event I'd have been surprised if it hadn't affected you like this. You've really gotten some great advice above. I love the advice to start out slowly and the "tapping". I know that after Shelby was attacked I was absolutely petrified to go back to the same place. But we had to do it. I had to keep reminding myself that it was the dog not the place. Of couse, it's easy to tell you something but so much harder to actually do it. You know, I won't go back to that particular place without my friend and her GSD. I'm just terrified about a repeat. I now carry my pepper spray with me all of the time and I'm always hyper-alert. What you are feeling is a real and actual feeling...it's not all in your head. You most definitely are experiencing PTSD. I hope everyone's suggestions help you to gradually come around. In the meantime, don't worry about Cara not getting her walkies, give her some extra cuddles at home, maybe toss a ball around the house for her. I'll bet what she wants more than anything is just to have you close by. You'll get through this, I just know you will. You are a much stronger woman than you realize.

pippa
25th February 2009, 08:01 AM
Still think of you often Claire and so sorry you are going through this...Offer still there to walk with you if you want even just in your own area.

In the meantime take care of yourself and just play with Cara in the house or back garden.

SamT
25th February 2009, 09:09 PM
Hi Claire,
I was very sad to read about what happened to Minnie. I can only imagine what you are going through. Im sure it will take time to get over the loss and also the trauma of what happened. Give yourself time and dont put extra pressure on yourself to get out for long walks or even any walks. The only suggestion I can make is if some of us from Dublin organise a big cavalier walk somewhere and maybe with our support you will be able to go and this may help you. The park in ardgillian co dublin has a big field at the back and I have ofen gone there with our dogs and have never met anyone else walking.
Take care.
Emma

avejo
25th February 2009, 09:49 PM
Hi Claire,

Just wanted to offer my support - I can't imagine how terrifying that day was and how on-guard you must still feel. I wanted to tell you though, that your reaction, while it feels so unnatural to you right now, is actually a very natural reaction. When something horrible and totally unexpected happens to you, it's unfair to expect that you have the same response as if something routine and mundane had occurred. Please do not be hard on yourself for feeling out of sorts. One of the hardest things about having post-trauma reactions is that they feel so scary and out of control - so unlike how you're used to feeling. You are not alone in feeling the way you do. The reason why there is so much research about post-trauma distress and why there are so many resources out there is because so many people experience many of the same feelings you describe. There are many therapies out there - from talk therapy (cognitive behavioral therapy is shown to be very successful), to EMDR (similar to "tapping"), to those that combine medication (such as a beta blocker) and talk therapy. A trusted doctor who knows you should be able to make further recommendations, but please know you have our support!:flwr: