When our son, John, was about eight years old and we already had Franklin the border collie mix for about a year, he started gunning for a shiba inu. He also said he wanted it to be a puppy. We finally gave in, telling John that the new dog had to be a rescue (like Franklin). Our thinking was that it would never happen. Puppy rescues of a particular breed, especially an unusual breed like shibas, are hard to come by.
But come by Rosie John did. Rescued from a hoarding situation, she had already been in a few foster homes, and her latest owners, too, were ready to give her up. It turned out she kept urinating in people’s houses, and no amount of training or walking her could stop it.
We fell in love with her as soon as we met her in person, though. How could we not? She kept licking our faces, and she and Franklin played delightfully. We figured we’d find a way to housetrain her, and all would turn out fine.
But as in her other homes, no amount of housetraining did the trick. It wasn’t that she’d squat and relieve herself. It was more an issue of leaving puddles wherever she lay down. Poor little thing. She’d stand up and look at where she’d been resting with dismay — and was also upset to find her hind legs wet with urine. This clearly was not a willful girl who was misbehaving. She was as distressed as we were.
We took her to the veterinarian’s office to see what might be wrong, and they put her through a battery of tests. The diagnosis: urinary incontinence stemming from a weak sphincter muscle that should have allowed her to urinate at will rather than have urine trickle out from her without her say-so. It took a little time to correctly diagnose her because urinary incontinence is more typically an issue for older female dogs, not puppies.
The solution: a tiny pill that she takes twice a day, every single day, and will take for the rest of her life. It doesn’t bother Rosie at all. We wrap it in cheese, and Franklin gets a tiny piece of cheese, too. “It’s time for your medicine,” we call out to both of them, and the two come running.
If Rosie’s original foster family had known the solution to her indoor urination was so simple, she never would have gone to her second foster home, or third, or to us. Only by a fluke did this delightful dog end up in our lives.
For more on urinary incontinence, see the article that begins on page 10.
Happy tails to you,