As everyone is now aware, I have had an L2 affected boy. I was asked to write about my experience, although I still don’t feel ready inside to do so, I doubt I ever will be. I really can’t remember now the ages of the stages he went through, I could only hazard a guess.
I first got him at 8 weeks old. Took him home and found him to be very hyperactive even then, I would be on the phone to friends telling them how hyper he was. Everyone including myself said the same thing, boys can be like that, never having had a boy puppy, I had to agree.
I could not keep a collar on him as he hated it and would always find himself something to hang himself on.
A few weeks passed and the more hyper he became, he started the usual puppy biting, when exited, but would not take a telling and the biting and jumping around got worse, forever biting at people and my other dogs, everything a normal puppy would do, but more over the top, and he would never take a telling off, but continue to do as he pleased. It really felt like he just could not help himself.
He was able to tire out all my dogs, I would put the with him one at a time, but they would all end up knackered in bed and he would still be jumping around the house,
Every night at 10.30 on the dot (strange but true) without fail, he would go to bed, but only sleeping for a few hours at the most. As soon as he heard another dog, he was off again, most nights it was like having a baby, as I had to get up with him, before he woke the whole house up, like he often did,
By 4 months, I knew there was something wrong, I could see a slight tremor/shake in his head, when he tried to stay still or concentrate on something,
He would not listen to a word he was told; I removed him from the bin 30 times in a row one day. I had to keep a constant eye on him, the rest of the family were beginning to get a bit fed up of his ways. I think I had a bit more patience as I felt deep down there was something wrong,
Whenever friends or family came to visit, they would ask me to put him away, he did not bite in a vicious manner, but it did hurt and he had been known to nip quite a few guests.
I read up all I could on L2, but his signs, symptoms and ages of the symptoms, seemed much earlier and much worse, than it stated on websites,
I began to notice the way in which he would jump on the bed settee etc, it looked so different from the way any other dog would do it, infact it always made me and the kids laugh, he looked very straight stiff legged, both legs move in the exact same time, it was like a kangaroo jump. Some of the kid’s friends noticed this, even the ones that don’t have dogs of their own, so it was very obvious.
By now his head would tremble/shake more badly when he tried to focus on something.
He would eat and eat, much more than the rest of the dogs, but never got fat, I suppose his hyperactivity kept burning it off.
When he was 6 months old, I had him L2 tested, I knew the results would be affected, just as they were.
He would now really be getting on the nerves of my other dogs, he would wind them up so much, jumping over them, under them, biting them etc that instead of biting him, a wee pup, they attacked one another, resulting in not only a trip to the vet, but also to the plastic surgeon for my daughter. And in another week or so to the and e for me.
If he were to run in the garden, I would later see his back end, walk like, what I can only describe as John Wayne. He would hate to have on a collar and lead, and jumped about the whole time while wearing it, so walks was now out of the question,
From around 8 months his muscles would tighten more and more often, I could see he was in pain, but he would still try to run around. His head started to show stronger trembles, if often looked like he was struggling to keep his head up, this would still happen when he tried to focus or when he got exited, seeing another person or another dog,
I had now to try and keep him away from all the other dogs, as hearing them was enough for him to get exited, and his head would shake and tremble, along with the rest of his body, it looked like the first stage of an epileptic fit while still awake,
I tried him in an outside kennel, but he was too stressed out, and only made matters worse, as he could still see the other dogs.
I had to stop friends and family visiting and also the kids from taking their friends round, infact I had to stop anything, that would make him happy. I had to more or less keep him in his cage.
One day when the rest of my dogs were in noisy run around mode, I put his collar on as I wanted to take him out, away from the house, I turned round to see him doing, what looked like a puppy, scratching at a collar for the first time, I saw his legs getting stiff, so I took the collar off, but his leg continued to make the same movement, within a few seconds he was doubling up in two. So far doubled up, that his back paws were actually touching his front paws. He fell over and started shaking, all through this, he was still awake and still trying to move along the floor,
I stood numb, kids screaming at me to do something, Craig picked him up, but there was nothing we could do, he held him close and tried to keep him still,
All along, the breeder had told me she would have him back, try find some medication and get him in a nice quiet home, as a quiet home was what he probably needed,
So now both my kids were screaming at me, that I was murdering him, keeping him here, shouting at me to do something. Watching two teenage kids, crying like small children and listening to them blame me, knowing that they had every right to blame me for it, is not the easiest thing in the world believe me, I did nothing while he was fitting, I was scared stiff, I just stood there numb, kids screaming, dog fitting, I have never saw anything like it in my life, and I pray to god, that I never see it again.
Craig held him for I think around 30 mins, kids sat round him crying and petting him, they gave him ice cream, whether this helped or not, I don’t know but he returned to normal afterwards.
3 More times that week he had fits in the same way
I could handle watching him no more. I phoned the breeder and told her, I was going to take him to the vet, as he would suffer no more. The breeder wanted to see him and see if she could help, He went back to her under the condition, that he will suffer no more, if she cannot help then she must help him by doing the humane thing,
Today he is in a quiet home, and doing much better he is on medication, the name I cant remember, he gets a little stiff on the back end sometimes but nothing to bad
YES I feel guilty, yes I feel useless. Yes I have felt like I gave up. Yes I did want to prove to myself and everyone else that I could do this, Yes I succeeded in hurting myself and my family and probably my boy, I just did not know what to do for the best at the time.
Yes people have said I have given away a dog because it was L2 affected, hands up, I have, but believe me when I say, this has had to be one of the hardest decisions I have made.
So no one can call me anything, I haven’t already called myself.
My boy was born before L2 testing was available
All I can say now is PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE TEST don’t put anyone else through this, it’s not only the dogs that suffer, think of the children and their L2 pet.
Thanx to all them who have been involved in the L2 campaign etc, if you have saved just one family from this grief, then I commend you