As some of you may know Caoimhe came to us as a happy loving pup and all was just as would be expected until not long after her puppy vaccinations when she changed from a laid back curious fun-loving pup to being fearful, hyperactive, screaming rather than barking and at times quite aggressive. We spent a year trying every behavioural modification techniques and products to no avail having being initially advised by everyone we spoke to that Caoimhe's problems were simply a training/behaviour issue. After a frightening incident some months back when Caoimhe attacked our cats - on 2 separate occasions very aggressively - someone suggested that she might have suffered encephalitis as a result of vaccination and her behaviour could be a result of this. As our regular vets would not or could not help us with regard to any exploration of the vaccination reaction idea, we travelled to a homeopathic vet who confirmed after a 2 hour observation and consultation with Caoimhe that the most likely explanation for her behaviour was encephalitis brought on as a reaction to vaccination .
We were given a homeopathic remedy which initially showed very good results in that Caoimhe stopped the screaming, calmed down considerably from the hyperactivity and seemed somewhat less fearful on walks and in the house. However 3 months in and, despite times of calm and periods when we thought we were managing the situation, Caoimhe's aggression increased. We had kept the cats well away from her but she suddenly for no apparent reason attacked our affenpinscher Aoife. The screaming was terrible, the other dogs were in pandemonium, I managed to prise Aoife from Caoimhe's jaws whereupon she turned and bit me all over my hands. Aoife was cut, bruised and had lost some of her fur but although not seriously injured physically was badly traumatised. This was not the first time that she had attacked Aoife or bitten me and things seemed to be getting worse. I could not get an appointment quickly to see the homeopathic vet again so we went to our regular vet who advised that (whatever the cause) with Caoimhe's mental state being so unstable - he likened it to human paranoid schizophrenia - she would only get worse, that there was no medication to treat this kind of mental illness in dogs and that for the safety of our own animals, ourselves and others, the kindest and safest course was euthanasia before serious injury was done.
The shock and devastation we have been through this week have been indescribable - I was so sure we would be able to help her even though looking back it was clear that things were very wrong with Caoimhe mentally and that our other animals were all suffering stress as a result of her behaviour and she was having a bad effect in many ways upon young Trilby. I will leave here a few pictures in memory of a sweet loving puppy that had a few months of happiness before the illness took over and hope I have captured some of those other moments when she felt something of joy and not the mental anguish I think she must have been in for much of the time.
The day she came to live with us
A beautiful girl
Seeing snow for the first time
Running down the garden with Trilby in pursuit
A rare moment of peace this last week
Run free dear Caoimhe - you will never be forgotten and I hope that you are truly at peace now with no pain, fear or anger to disturb your mind.
When it is time for me to go
And join her there, this much I know
I shall not fear the transient dark
For she will greet me with a bark.