Ticking time bomb and other phrases you never want to hear your vet say

This morning we took Gertie to our vet. I love our vet’s office more than I can say and I trust them entirely, so it was not fun to hear the vet call poor Gerts a ticking time bomb. Or to hear her say she was “very concerned” about Gertie’s behavior, that we should never ever leave Molly alone with her or that Gertie might just not make sense for us long term. I appreciated her candor and her thoughtfulness, but oy. Words I didn’t want to hear.

In sum, the vet suggested (read: mandated) that we call in the pros. She said that we should get a more accurate picture of whether Gertie will respond well to behavior modification, if she needs medication or if – (sob) – she may need a home without so much going on it. Honestly, I don’t feel like we have that much going on, but I admit that we have a 2-year-old and from time to time like to have people over.

Anyway, here’s the plan: for the next couple weeks or so, this blog is going to shift from being a shapeless, themeless boring journal of my musings, to being a boring blog about all things Gertie. I’m going to be honest (or at least try to be) and candid about this new journey that I fully admit I pushed us into and that we probably should not have taken on at this time. I admit that my heart was incredibly wounded by the loss of Gracie and that I tried to mitigate the loss with this new crazy Labradoodle. I admit that I probably should have said, “Uh, thanks but we’ll keep looking for our forever dog” when the foster parent said that she barked like crazy at strangers and sometimes even at the people in her own home and that one family had already returned her and another wouldn’t take her home after meeting her. I admit I made a mistake. But now we’ll see how we’re going to fix it. Can Gertie become the total sweetheart of a dog I know she really is? Or will Gertie have to be someone else’s forever dog? Stay tuned. Please.

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9 Responses to “Ticking time bomb and other phrases you never want to hear your vet say”


  1. 1 Tammy June 23, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    But how did the vet make that determination? Based on what, something she saw or your reports of her behavior?

  2. 2 kateandgracie June 23, 2014 at 2:47 pm

    Her observations, mostly. She listened to us share our concerns and what we’ve experienced, but I think the most concerning thing to her was when Gertie lunged at her and snapped/ growled when she was just sitting and speaking calmly to us.

  3. 3 Tammy June 23, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Ohhh… that would do it. I’m so sorry.

  4. 4 kateandgracie June 23, 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Yeah, thanks. I’m trying to stay optimistic while being realistic. Not my strong suit. The behaviorist is coming to meet with us a week from tomorrow.

  5. 5 Jane Roe June 24, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    Oh dear, but lunging etc. May simply indicate she was scared even though the vet wasn’t really being a threat. How is she with Molly? When Maddie was at her most crazy behavior, Erin was right around Molly’s age and I caught Erin with one of the dog bones, shoving it in and out of Maddie’s mouth, while Maddie just laid there . No growls, snaps, barks, nothing. She just seemed to know it someone she should and did love. I hope you are able to help her. I could send all my Patricia McConnell books home with your mom this weekend if you’d like. I have found her suggestions to often be really helpful.

  6. 6 kateandgracie June 25, 2014 at 10:01 am

    The behaviorist coming Tuesday is from Patricia McConnell’s school! I’d love to borrow your books, if you don’t mind.

    As for Molly, Gertie is GREAT with her. I mean, she knocks her over all the time, but unintentionally and it’s not something I worry about. We have left Molly alone with Gertie many a time while we run upstairs for something. I’m honestly not worried about it at all. What worried me, and still does, is when the vet mentioned Molly having friends over. I kinda forgot that will happen someday (I hope) and the thought of constantly fretting over any company coming to the door. More than that even is my worry that we will become shut-ins. Seriously. For example, my friend Wendy is going to watch her while we go to S’s wedding, but after that I don’t know what we’ll do. I don’t think any boarder will take her because I can’t say that she’s not aggressive towards people and dogs. We are already planning on AO going solo to his cousin’s wedding in August because Molly isn’t invited so we can’t have someone come to watch her and the dog. I’m really not sure what’s going to happen. She’s a total sweetheart, but I don’t want this to have to entirely change the way we live. I don’t think that’s fair.

  7. 7 kateandgracie June 25, 2014 at 11:28 am

    Somehow Jane’s comment disappeared so now I look like I’m talking to myself!

  8. 8 kateandgracie June 25, 2014 at 11:30 am

    Phew. It’s back. I felt like my reputation was hanging in the balance.

  9. 9 Jane Roe June 25, 2014 at 6:45 pm

    Well I certainly understand the concern with friends coming over and never feeling totally like you can trust her but there are solutions, I think/hope for Gertie. One of the things I did was to put a dog cookie jar on the porchetta. When friends come over they know to grab a couple of “cookies” and insist that Maddie and Chloe sit before they get the cookies. It works fairly well if the person is dog savvy and not intimidated. I also now always have new yummy bones on hand so that when folks come over I can give them each a bone and they happily go off and chew. Once they get past the initial arrival they are pretty good. I am sure the behaviorist will have far better suggestions. Maybe she needs to go to boot camp. I was going to send Chloe but when I got back from FLA and found out about her allergies we had to go on an every four day allergy shots regimen. No time for boot camp, but maybe once she’s stabilized with the allergies I will send her. At any rate, good luck.


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