Gunner has been with us for three weeks, and we are so pleased to report that he is doing incredibly well! When he first arrived at our house, he seemed very comfortable, but he definitely stayed in close proximity to his mom. Within a few days, he started to be a little more independent and started to try and snuggle with Mabel and Violet. We remember very clearly near the end of his first week, he walked over to the bed that Mabel was sleeping in, and he looked over at us somewhat sheepishly. We encouraged him to lie down, and he slowly moved in beside Mabel -- where he was warmly received! They are now constant snuggle companions, and all three dogs regularly sleep together on the couch and bed.
If you've followed Gunner's story, you know that he refuses to drink water from a bowl. Over the course of his first weekend, we put down some chicken stock and didn't make a big deal out of it. He wandered over, and to our amazement, he proceeded to drink on his own. We were able to take some video of it to share with foster mom and the rescue because we were a little in shock and wanted to show them what had happened! He doesn't drink water regularly on his own yet (we flood his food), but over the past few weeks he has gone for a drink on his own pretty regularly, and we hope that this continues.
His hip seems to have healed perfectly (true story: the guitar player in Gunner's dad's band was the vet tech during Gunner's surgery! We found this out a couple of days before we brought Gunner home after mentioning we were adopting him!). We have successfully transitioned him to a raw diet, and he is thriving with no allergy symptoms showing up and he is super active and looking muscular and fit.
Gunner loves so many things! Laps. Wrestling with Mabel. Lying on his dad's feet during Raptors and Leafs games. Car rides (we've never seen a dog love car rides more than Gunny!). He loves his walks and trips to the big school-yard by our house. We have seen no signs of stress or fear while on our various adventures. We keep him away from busy parks, but he has certainly met many new dogs in his time with us, and while we keep some distance to let him decide how he is feeling, he always wants to run over and sniff and play. We will continue to keep him away from high volume situations (because frankly, we don't like congested dog parks either!) but he has shown us that when introduced on his terms, he is keen to meet new dogs.
What really surprised us about Gunner is his incredibly zen and calm energy. He walked into our home and Violet and Mabel just completely accepted him with no issues at all. And the cats didn't even blink when he came up to greet them. He is so gentle and loving, and the only aggressive thing about him is his quest for getting into a lap. If there is anything in his way while getting to a lap, he bulldozes through it to get that prize. He's a pretty muscular and stocky guy, so this makes us laugh every time.
Before we adopted Gunner, we read a very long document that outlined his entire history, all of his challenges to date, and all of the work that foster mom and her family did with Gunner to get him ready for a forever home. We were extremely impressed with the level of detail that was provided in advance of us meeting him. We were prepared to work with him on all areas of his needs and expected him to take much longer to transition.
One of the key points on his profile was that he needed a family that accepted him for who he is, and wouldn't try to make him into something he is not. We will be the first to tell you that Gunner is absolutely perfect the way he is - so much personality and so loving and trusting, despite everything he has endured in his short life. Seeing how quickly he settled in, and seeing his confidence grow every single day with us is a true testament to his foster mom and everyone at Pugalug Pug Rescue.
We absolutely adore our G-Man and can't remember life without him. When we come home from work, he makes these hilarious snorting noises and demands that he lick us as much as possible when we sit down to pet him. He sleeps with his head on the pillow, and as the night goes on ends up curled with Mabel in the middle of the bed. And Mabel has taught him how to pick his favorite toys out of the toybox all by himself (as I type this, he wandered over to pluck out a stuffed black cat of which he has become extremely fond).
We are honored to be Gunner's forever family. Thank you to foster mom and everyone at Puglalug for seeing the potential in this wonderful boy, and for giving him so much love and a shot at a new life. We guarantee that he will be the king of our home for the rest of his life!
If you would like to follow Gunny and his furry friends adventures, we post regularly on Instagram at his new account @thegunnergram
Gunner is one of the sweetest foster dogs I've ever had. He desperately loves his people. He has lived with my three dogs and done fine, but they aren't a requirement for him. If he does live with other dogs, they need to be stable and issue free. He has not been tested with large dogs.
When he first came, he was quite anxious and afraid and there was some concern that he might have separation anxiety. For this reason, he was put on Fluoxetine (Prozac). He has done quite well and shown no separation anxiety. I would consider weaning him off of the Prozac once he has settled into his new home.
For whatever reason, Gunner WILL NOT drink water from a bowl. We've tried numerous strategies to get him to drink, but so far, he has not. So we flood his food with water or stock. This will have to continue until he decides to take water voluntarily from a bowl.
He has pretty decent leash manners, but is quite worried about meeting dogs he doesn't know when on leash. He can also be a bit of a bulldozer when meeting new dogs off leash, but with help can be appropriate. As a result, he will never be a dog park dog or a big event dog. It's too stressful for him.
What Gunner most needs in a home is an owner who will be kind to him, respect his limitations and not try to make Gunner be something he is not. What he is is a very sweet young dog who is easy to live with. He has no nasty in him at all, but hasn't always had an easy time of it in his 2.5 short years.
Gunner was finally able to have his hip surgery today. The long delay was largely due to us needing his skin to be in as good shape as possible to avoid any surgical contamination. He went to West Toronto Veterinary Surgery and the skillful hands of Dr. Saundra Hewitt.
He had a femoral head osteotomy done on his right hip...which was completely out of the socket. His left hip will hopefully continue to be fine, but we shall see. He came through the surgery like a champ, will overnight at the hospital and then will come home.
We will be doing some physiotherapy with him at Canine Wellness Centre to get him fit and functional and then we should be able to put this lovely boy up for adoption.
The first photo below is him recovering in hospital.
Gunner continues to do well here, although he is still somewhat reactive to the TV and certain noises outside. We've made some progress on his reactivity on leash but that will be an ongoing issue.
At this point, we are working to get his skin into better shape so we can proceed with his femoral head surgery. Hopefully, we will be able to do that surgery in the new year.
He remains a very sweet boy who does well with all my resident dogs, especially my youngest dog, Beau. They have a very sweet relationship.
Gunner went in to see my vet to get a series of X-rays done to see if we can figure out why he has a limp on his right hind leg. While he was there, I also had his left front leg x-rayed (he tends to toe in pretty seriously on that leg) and his bladder. I wanted to be sure we didn't have any bladder stones hiding away in there.
The good news is his left front leg is fine and his bladder shows no signs of stones. The bad news is his hips are terrible. We were referred to a surgeon, who we went to see today, to explore our options for him since both sides are bad. In the meantime, we will manage his pain with anti-inflammatories.
Gunner was assessed by Dr. Saundra Hewitt at West Toronto Veterinary Surgery on Monday, Nov. 5th. While his x-rays are terrible, his function is actually quite good. He can sit squarely, move fairly well, and has decent range of motion (admittedly this is while on Metacam). So Dr. Hewitt feels that the wisest course would be to do an FHO (Femoral Head Osteotomy) on his right leg which is the one he favours when not on meds. We will see how he progresses before any decision is made about his left leg.
This link will explain FHO surgery:
However, because Gunner has had a flare up with skin and ears, she wants to wait until his allergy symptoms are better before doing surgery. We aren't sure why he has had a skin and ear flare up but it is possible it's a reaction to either the flavouring in the Metacam or the pill pockets we've been using. For now, we will eliminate the pill pockets and see how he goes.
He remains one of the sweeter dogs I've fostered and continues to have a very sweet relationship with my female pug and especially with my young mutt, Beau.
Gunner has continued to do well here and now that he has an anxiety medication (fluoxetine), he is beginning to make progress with his reactivity to a variety of things. We mostly have his allergies under control, but this will need to be monitored going forward.
Gunner continues to have some on-again-off-again hind-end limping. Tania Costa at the Canine Wellness Centre assessed his mobility and recommended strengthening exercises. He does have a great deal of tenderness in his groin area, which may be from compensating in his limping. He is scheduled for an x-ray to explore the causes of this pain.
He has made fast friends with all of my dogs, but continues to be quite reactive and anxious to strange dogs, especially when out for walks on leash. He is making progress, but this will potentially be an ongoing worry.
He has had no house-training issues or concerns when left at home without any humans. He certainly enjoys sharing the big bed with both canines and humans. He is an extremely sweet and affectionate boy who loves a good snuggle with any member of his foster family.
Gunner has settled in well here and is adjusting to living in a multi-dog household. His allergies seem to be doing well on his limited ingredient diet and he has made excellent progress with his worry about things like nails and general handling.
However, we still have a few struggles. He rarely drinks any kind of fluid from a bowl. We've experimented with different bowls and tried stock and ice cubes, but he literally almost never drinks and when he does, it is not sufficient to keep him safely hydrated. At this point, we keep him hydrated by flooding his food at every meal and this has improved his urinary status.
He also shows some significant reactivity to other dogs he doesn't know, especially on leash, and can be quite reactive to noises.
Fortunately, we have no had any major struggles with house training, separation anxiety or destructiveness which had been reported by his former owner.
So, we are going to try some anxiety meds (fluoxetine) with Gunner to see if we can bring down his general levels of anxiety and if that can impact his ability to both be less stressed in the face of his triggers and be more able to improve with the counter conditioning that we are using.
He is not an anxious mess, but he does have fear-based reactivity and we'd like to be able to improve his life if we can. The meds can take 6 to 8 weeks to be fully therapeutic.
Gunner is one of the sweetest dogs we've fostered and there is no nasty in him, but he does have a few hurdles to overcome and so will be remaining in foster care for some time while we work with him.
Gunner continues to do well here with a couple of hiccups. He was supposed to go in for surgery to remove two lumps (one on his cheek and one on his neck), but by the time of the surgery, both lumps had shrunk or disappeared so we will monitor him to see if the re-appear.
He has had some urinary issues involving higher than normal pH levels, some struvite crystals and an abnormally high urinary concentration. This appears to be entirely due to the fact that Gunner almost never drinks. We aren't sure why that is, but for now his food is flooded with water or stock and we will hope that we can get him to voluntarily begin to drink water. His last urinalysis did show a lowered pH and fewer struvites, but his concentration was still too high.
Gunner can be quite anxious around dogs he does not know, but has done well with careful introductions. He likely will never be a dog that can happily go to a dog park, but lives happily here with three other dogs. He can be a bit overwhelming in his play style, but is learning to moderate his roughness.
His house training has been fine here and he has shown no serious signs of anxiety when left home without humans around. This had been an issue in his previous home, but so far, we haven't seen this.
He is very affectionate and very much a velcro dog. He has a decided preference for licking his humans, and given the chance, will give you a thorough cleaning.
Gunner has hit a bit of a glitch in terms of health. I noticed he was favouring his right hind leg and noticed that his urine seemed off. So we ran him into the vet for a check up. We think he may have pulled a muscle as his knees are okay and his cruciate seems fine. He did have some resistance to a full extension from the hip, but that may be related to a sore muscle. So he's on anti-inflammatories for now with reduced exercise. And he has struvite crystals, but no infection. This is likely due to the fact that he is not a big drinker. We will encourage his water consumption and retest his urine in a week or so.
He also has two bumps...one on his chest and one on his face. We are going to have these removed and sent to histopathology just to be on the safe side. If he is still limpy when he goes in for his lump removal, we will x-ray him while he is under for surgery to check for any hip issues.
We have been working on his dog to dog social skills as he is often uncertain around dogs he doesn't know well and can present badly by hackling up, freezing and staring. We haven't seen any overt nastiness in him, but he needs careful introductions to new dogs and some monitoring. This seems to be more a matter of lack of skills as opposed aggression. While he has done fine with my dogs, we were very careful with the intros and my dogs are all old hands at dealing with foster dogs who may have some issues.
Gunny (Gunner) has had his veterinary assessment and passed with flying colours. Blood work all normal, no parasites and no obvious health issues. He was very good for his vet appt, but was clearly afraid. We will work on having some "just for fun" visits so we can begin to make the vet's office less stressful.
His weight is 10.3 kgs...which is a not bad weight for him. He is out of shape, however, and gets tired quickly keeping up with my active crew. He will certainly become more fit as he romps and plays with the resident dogs.
He continues to be a very sweet fellow and is settling well. We haven't seen any anxiety about being without the humans as had been seen in his previous home, but we are going slowly with this and in some dogs it doesn't show up until they've with a home long to care when you leave.
He gets very excited about his walks and vocalizes and grabs the leash in excitement. He does have pretty decent leash skills.
He is a classic pug licker...and regularly cleans my husband's legs and my arms--especially when settling in for sleep. He does sleep on the big bed with us and the other dogs and other than being a bit of bed hog, he has been very easy to sleep with.
Meet Gunner. He is a two year old neutered male with lots of energy and fun in him. While he's only been in foster care a short time, he is making fast friends with the youngest dog of the house (who is about 16 months old) and is learning the way of things.
He has some allergy issues which we will work on and his house training needs a bit of work, but overall he has settled in well. He's a bigger pug, tall and long.
We will be working with him over the following weeks to teach manners and general skills as well as assessing any other needs he may have.