Monday, June 1, 2009

Raw Food Diet, Day 492- The Truth About the Stan-Man

Big Pupi spills it:
Hey guys. It's the cool canine (sans 'hawk) reporting. It's about time I tell you a bit about my brother, the beastly man himself, Stanislaw.
We've posted previously about Stanislaw's unknown abusive history that has left scars on his body. We've posted about Stan's quirks and general wackiness that were believed to be emotional scars left from his past experiences. However, the more we all research, the more we realize the depths of Stanislaw's disorder, and it's far more serious than we had ever realized.

Stanislaw had been improving - slowly but surely - through the (almost) 2 years since his adoption. It took a full year before he was physically well, and mentally many of his most severe symptoms had lessened or disappeared. For example, it wasn't too long ago that Stan would collapse during walks and writhe on the ground, screaming at pawing at his face. He also used to suffer from separation anxiety so severe that my folks would return home to find vomit, diarrhea and urine all over the apartment. Less than a year ago the collapsing went away and never came back, and his separation issues have been reduced to a touch of howling and whining when first left at home. HUGE improvements and in a very short amount of time.

Recently, however, Stanislaw has stopped making such great strides forward. My folks had always felt that as long as Stanley was progressing, they would hold off on medicating him as most anti-psychotic medications bring with them a laundry list of side effects. Stan is a thin and physically sensitive boy, and the thought of medication being the cause of a new set of issues is a very scary thing.

But Stanley has stopped progressing. In some ways, Stanley has been getting worse.

My brother has what is called "Canine Compulsive Disorder." It is very similar to Obsessive Compulsive Disorder in humans, in that the animal is compelled to go through a series of repetitive behaviors and stress-induced habits. Stanislaw, unfortunately, is quite a severe example of the condition and his triggers are numerous and live everywhere.

Stan's compulsions are both visually and aurally stimulated. The sound of the train, reflections in a puddle, headlights from a car, a siren... It seems that just about everything sends Stan into a serious of ticks and twitches. His symptoms (a very brief list) include:

- whining/screaming
- staring and freezing
- twitching - biting at his side as if he was just bitten by a fly
- sitting suddenly and harshly, followed by fly biting and lip licking
- lapping at his nose
- licking the floor, the sofa, the food bowls, people's pant legs, etc. etc.
- placing his head underneath objects and freezing, eyes glazing over
- chewing his paws immediately after eating (not allergy-related)
- whining and freezing in front of any reflective surface (puddles, picture frames, mirrors, the oven door...)
- running a set pattern at the dog park and whining at various "stations"
- lunging and biting at marks or nails in walls and on the floor
...i could go on...

Sure, I lick and nibble at my toys and do this repetitive behavior every single night. But, I don't have a compulsive disorder. Why? Because this behavior does not prevent me from functioning normally. If I'm in the middle of a good nibble session and my folks say the magic word - "Weebles!" - I will drop what I'm doing and skip merrily to the front door. The behavior, while it is a habit, is not a problem.

Stan's behaviors, on the other hand, greatly and negatively effect his life. He simply cannot function when in the throws of the disorder. He cannot urinate. He cannot sniff. He can't even walk or move and once in the depths of his disorder my people have to scoop him up and carry him home. He won't play and at the worst of it, he is completely unresponsive to his surroundings. It's kind of scary stuff.

When Stanislaw first came home with us he would go into a behavior in which he would sit, lick his lips, and gently move his left hind foot so that it scratched the back of his left front foot. When he was like this, my parents could wave their hands in front of his face and he would not respond. He wouldn't even blink. Although this habit has not gone completely, he is at the point where he no longer "disappears" into it and he can be distracted.

But it seems that every time a habit is overcome it is replaced by new one. As we move from one to another the new behaviors can become bizarre (remember the poobles on the sofa?), they can improve, and even get worse. It's completely unpredictable and it makes it so difficult to judge whether we are making headway, standing still or just moving backwards.

It's been a rough road. Scary at times and incredibly hopeful at others. Perhaps the most difficult thing for my humans was the process of coming to grips with the fact that Stanislaw needs something more than love if he is to get off this plateau and continue on the road to recovery. They are facing the reality that Stanislaw's problems go beyond an abusive history and bad habits - they are the result of a chemical imbalance and he is suffering from an illness that no number of kisses, scritches or snuggles will fix.

My sweet little brother needs medicine.

It will bring side effects. Hopefully it will bring recovery too. What Stanislaw has is not curable, but with medication, obedience, reconditioning and lots of love we pray that he can quiet his demons enough to truly enjoy every day. During his good moments, my brother is an extraordinarily happy, wiggly, playful and bursting-with-joy kind of dog, and our goal is to keep him in that mindset and give him more good days than bad. As of now, the bad outweighs the good and Stan suffers. It's not easy to watch.

He will see the doctor on Saturday and we will discuss treatment options. I also owe you posts about his melatonin therapy and other behavior studies, but for now I think I have left enough letters and words for you to sniff through. In the mean time, I want to thank everyone that has offered their help and well-wishes because Stan thrives on the good vibes. So do I. So do my people. It's been two tough years but we're prepared to make the rest of the uphill journey. I mean, seriously...
...look at that beast. It's impossible to give up on him.

We'll keep posting and we'll keep you posted.
Big Pupi


Khyra The Siberian Husky And Sometimes Her Mom said...

A face that khute does not deserve all that bad poop to happen to him...
I'll khross my paws that woo will find the khorrekht balance of meds that will help him yet not adversely affekht him...

Please keep the pupdates khoming fur Stan!

PeeEssWoo: My mom wishes she khould say something more to help isn't anything she has experience with...

Tracey and Huffle said...

Khyra sent me over to say hello. I am purring my very hardest for Stan to get through this and be able to live life as a (semi)normal happy pup!

Huffle Mawson, Explorer Cat and Honorary Husky

Purr S: Stan is my grandpa's name and he is my very favourite person in the world so I am cheering for you, Stan the Man!

Beckett said...

A beast as tough as Stan can deal with this! Get well soon, Stanislaw.


Maddox and Shelby on mom's blogspot said...

Khyra has this way about her--when she sees a pup (or his/her humans) who need a moral boost, all she has to do is say HEY KHIDS There's this pup...and we come. Even khats! Huffle Khats!

So we are here too because Khyra said Stan is having a rough time. In our house, we simply cannot imagine what he must've gone through in his past to have the troubles he is having today. He is a lucky lucky pup to have your love, he really is.

So best wishes from us, 2 Huskies and a Springer and their mum. I hope the meds prove to help him. No puppy deserves to deal with what he does.

Lorenza said...

Hi, Big Pupi!
Sure I hope the Vet gives him the right treatment to help him get better!
Paws crossed, Stan!
Take care
Kisses and hugs

Auntie LuLu said...

Oh Stan...Zach's thinking of you and understands some of what you're going thru !!! He has seizures and has to have meds at the correct levels, has to have blood drawn a few times a year,etc. Sometimes you gotta try meds and hope they will make things better.
Must be something about cockers and repetition, Zach can go around in circles for minutes on end...we've wondered about obsession disorder.
Anyways, keep us posted and we wish the best for our younger twin!!
The old black dog and his mom

Summit the Super Mal said...

Woo there Stan~
What wonderful bipeds woo have. Hopefully, all the human heads can come up with a good medication plan to help woo feel better and enjoy life. We're glad Khyra sent us over so we can say "WOO" and let you know we'll have our paws crossed for a good outcome.
Your pal,

Biggie-Z said...

Oh Stan, this makes us so sad to read. We hope you can work through this with your humans.

My humans had another dog named Boo who spent the whole day of 9-11-01 in their apartment overlooking the site. (My humans moved from there in December 01). The windows were open a little bit when Momma left that morning, and even though she got in to get Boo that night, he was never the same. When sirens or fire trucks went by, he would freeze and cower. He always tried to sleep as far away from the windows as possible. And ... the saddest thing was that he would cower and hide under furniture any time Momma made a stir fry with a lot of sizzling oil smell.

So my humans know how sad it can be. Lots of hugs and support.


Maggie and Mitch said...

You are one of our most favorite doggies, Stan! You are too cute for words! Tears are slipping down mom's cheeks and we are crossing our paws for you! You're going to get through this, Stan! Yes, you are!

Love ya lots
Maggie and Mitch

Mack said...

We are so saddened by what we just read. We had no idea Stani had such problems. Paris almost went back to the cocker rescue because of her aggresion, but dad said let's keep her for another week....boy it's been a long week!
We are certainly hoping the medicine will bring about some great results for him.
Keep us posted and we will certainly keep handsome StanMan in our thoughts and prayers.
-Mack & Momma

Ludo van Doggy said...

Poor Stanislaw! I does hope the medication helps him with his emotional issues.

GSD Adventures said...

Oh Stanislaw! We hope the medicines help! We're all thinking about you!

Pruett and Daphne

Niamh said...

You guys are the best (and your parents are too). Stan has come so far and I am sure the meds will help him come the rest of the way! We will be thinking of you.

Your friend,

Joe Stains said...

Stan, we know you are a tough and brave beastie and that while you had a rough start you are in great hands now. We are sending all the vibes we can to you, Pupi and your humans. We will keep on sending them as long as you need them.

Dennis the Vizsla said...

Poor Stan! I didn't know he'd had such a rough start in life. Hope the medication helps him.

Petra said...

I'm so sorry to hear that Stanislaw has had these problems, but thank goodness that there is medicine to help him. My paws are crossed that the doctor will know what to do to help Stan function in a happy way every day.

Agatha and Archie said...

Well we know exactly how you feel becasue PL1+2 had to do the same thing with Arch..They tried withour meds for as long as they could but then made the decision..and he really is a different boy... No side affects and he really is so much better..Pee mail PL2 if you need more loving and and support!! Love A+A+PL2

Emmet said...

Hi Pupi and Stan - I miss Big Pupi's Sox Blog and wondered what you guys were up to, so thought I'd check out Stan's blog. So sorry to read this news about Stan, but please know that I'm thinking of you and hope you feel a lot better very soon. - Emmet of Red Sox Nation

Fenway said...

My little heart just broke and I think so did Ms. Alpha's. She's actually crying.

Whatever it takes, dudes, do it. I know we love all the natural stuff, but maybe something like Prozac can help. It's prescribed for doggie OCD and Stan sounds like a worse case scenario.

When I read over Stan's sad history, a thought popped into my head. Stan has learned—through his repetitive behaviors and zoning out—how to deal with the pain. It's his way of overcoming all the abuse and fright and I think he's one brave dude who has learned the only way he can to deal with awfulness. In a way, it's his way of fighting to be sane.

Keep trying, Stannie. You are most definitely at the TOP of my Good Vibe List. In fact, you have slots 1-10!!!

Your concerned yet admiring pal,

PS: You got a good bro'!!!!!!

the 4 Bs said...

hey Stanislaw and Big Pupi, it makes us so sad to hear of Stanislaw's misery. he should be happy and carefree. that's a dog's life. we hope that sweet Stan can recover enough to have a happy quality of life. we don't it when he isn't happy.


Agatha and Archie said...

We had your Mom's email and can't find it so email it to us at our adress and we will chat!! Love A+A+Pl2

Mack said...

Hi Stan!

Paris bit my cousin Katie right near her eye the first week we got her! PR has really improved since then though, just don't get near her when she's chewing on a bullystick!


Tee said...

Hello there!

We were reading through your posts about melatonin therapy and also canine obssessive disorder. We emphathize that your family had to deal with Stan's disorders - was he a lab test pup before he was rescued?

We're glad to hear that he is much better behaved now after his visits to the Vet.

Licks and Wags

Tuffy and the DOg WOods Pack

Kimberly said...

So my mom almost had a leaky eye party again reading this blog. She's sad that someone was mean to your Stan. Wish I was there, I would totally knock him down and play with him and make him chase me, that's what I do!
High Five Stan... keep your paw up!