Tag Archives: pet care

When Beloved Pet Dogs Become Killers

The attack and feintI woke up this morning to a heartbreaking incident. Our family dog Matty and our prodigal dog Shiro had just killed a stray kitten in our yard. They had heard the kitten meowing loudly and started barking loudly in return. As soon as someone opened the front door, they quickly ran outside. Shiro attacked first. Although our helper was on the other side of our perimeter wall, she saw what was happening and shouted Shiro’s name. As soon as he let go, Matty grabbed the kitten.  It took less than a minute for our helper to get to them, but by then it was too late for the kitten.

I was shocked. Here are these two dogs that our family love and adore. I cuddle with them, call them cutesy names and play games with them. They are like children to me. And today I am faced with their violent, predatory side.

When they first came to me this morning, just minutes after having killed that kitten, I couldn’t bear to cuddle or pet them in my usually affectionate way. In my mind, I was seeing them as vicious animals who had just attacked and killed a tiny, helpless, innocent creature. And here they were, looking at me with their tails wagging, strutting about like nothing happened. I was so bothered and conflicted.

I read up on why dogs attack cats. I learned about dogs’ prey drive – a natural instinct to hunt. It dawned on me that Shiro and Matty were just following their instincts. I remembered Shiro’s owner having told me the story of how he had witnessed his mother being attacked by a cat. Since then, he has been angry and vicious with cats. Matty never liked cats but she has also never been violent towards them. I don’t know why she did what she did today. Maybe seeing Shiro attack that kitten brought out her own prey drive.

Dogs, while very close to the hearts of humans, are not human.  They are not subject to our morality or our norms. They are intelligent, trainable, loyal and affectionate creatures. But we must not forget that they are animals born with natural instincts that we should respect and understand. How to harmoniously and happily live with them in our homes and in our streets is our responsibility.

(As of this writing, I’ve already taken Matty and Shiro for a walk and given them their daily doses of cuddles and kisses.  It didn’t take long for me to realize that they didn’t do anything wrong. It was a tragic accident for the kitten and a wake-up call for me.)



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Shiro, The Prodigal Dog, Returns

ShiroSoloTwo weeks ago, Shiro (even though his owner did tell me that his name is Tagpi; we just prefer calling him Shiro and he responds anyway) went home for good after several days of temporarily staying with us. He stayed with us because he wanted to be with our Matty.

Since then, he has been back to our house a few times, sometimes just for the day, other times for unplanned sleepovers.

The last time I returned him to his owner was five days ago. I took the opportunity to talk to his owner, Mrs. Y, to find out how she feels about Shiro and if she really wanted to keep him.

As soon as Shiro saw her (after being away from home for about three or four days), his tail started wagging excitedly. When she called his name Tagpi, he happily went to her. And he seemed happy and content to be back home.

Mrs. Y was very thankful that I had taken care of him for a while, and that I had returned him to her. She reminded me that Tagpi (Shiro) was her late husband’s beloved pet, and now her only companion and security measure since she lives alone.

I decided not to ask anymore if she wanted to keep Shiro. Instead, I offered to pick him up once in a while and take him along on my afternoon walks with Matty. I’ve tried putting a harness and leash on him, and he was fine with it. Took him for a walk and he was very calm and easy, usually hanging back while Matty would be her usual frisky, tugging-me-here-and-there self.

MattyandShiroIn the past two weeks, I’ve gone through these stages: 1) This must be a lost dog, we should find its owner; 2) If the owner isn’t looking for him, maybe she doesn’t want him and we should just keep him; 3) He has gone back to his owner, he isn’t our dog, that’s how it should be.

This morning, Shiro was at our gate again. Looks like he found another way to get out of their house, or he made a run for it when Mrs. Y opened her gate. He is here again today, playing with Matty, asking us to pet him and sometimes napping. Maybe later today, tomorrow or the day after that, either Mrs. Y will have him fetched or I will bring him back. Again.

So I am making peace with stage 4) Our family has grown to love Shiro and he has chosen us as his second family and home. He doesn’t come only to play with Matty; he also comes to have us pet him and talk to him. He comes and goes, our regular visitor, our prodigal dog.

When Your Pet is Seriously Ill

After our beloved family dog Vina passed away last year, I started asking myself if I had done enough to try and save her. Did I miss any signs? Should I have visited her at the vet hospital more often when she was confined? Could I have tried harder to find a compatible blood donor?

Then I started asking myself if I could have been better prepared for her passing.  When she was still sick, should I have been more open to the possibility of losing her? Could I have coped better?

I asked the veterinarians in Beterinaryo Sa Fort, a vet hospital in Bonifacio Global City, Taguig, for some tips on what to do when your pet gets sick.

1.    When your pet becomes ill

“Have them seen by a veterinarian as soon as any symptom develops. Allow your veterinarian to conduct tests to be able to provide a proper diagnosis and prognosis. Together, the pet parent and your veterinarian should be able to discuss the best course of treatment and options for your fur baby.  It is essential that during this time, vet and pet parent work together, discuss and understand each other’s concerns, capabilities and limitations.”

2.      When your pet is confined indefinitely in the hospital

“Daily visits to your fur baby while in confinement are ideal. Keep daily tabs of your pet’s progress via phone call if you are unable to come in personally.  The personal interaction is essential to a patient’s recovery and gives a feeling of security.  Personally ask about the progress of your pet’s health. Your veterinarian will be more than willing to keep you posted on how the condition is developing.”

3.      When your pet dies in the hospital

“As veterinarians, we don’t think there is an easy way of coping.  Pet parents would have to undergo the process and pain of loss, as fur babies could never be replaced. I believe that if each parent is fully informed and prepared in each step of their fur baby’s condition, death will be more acceptable. Communication would be key in this trying moment.”

VeterinarianProfessional veterinarians witness the sickness and death of many beloved pets. They’ve learned to cope with it as part of their job.

“Personally, a part of us dies with them. We actually feel the parent’s pain and loss as if we’ve lost our own, but we have to be at our strongest so that we can provide support and comfort.”