As you know, I rescued Sadie several years ago. (More on that here.) But I still don't know her history. In the years that I've been with Sadie, I've certainly seen some classic abused dog behaviors though. I have no idea if she was abused as a pup. I honestly would rather not know what really happened to her, because I am sure it would upset me. But Sadie certainly has some history that I'm sure she wishes she could forget. I really think she suffers from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), and it kills me every time something sets her off.
We experienced one of these episodes this morning. Any time Sadie hears some kind of beeping noise, such as the smoke detector (whether it's going off or the battery needs to be changed), Sadie FREAKS out. I've mentioned this briefly before here. This morning before I got ready for work, the battery alarm on the carbon monoxide detector started chirping. Sadie went running. I found her shaking in a corner with her ears back and her eyes wide. Her heart was racing. It didn't help that the cat decided to smack her as she walked by either lol.
I picked up Sadie and put her in the bathroom and quickly tried to replace the battery. (It took me awhile to figure out it was actually the carbon monoxide detector and not the smoke detector, too.) After I replaced the battery, I went back to check on Sadie. She hadn't moved. She looked petrified. I tried to calm her down as much as possible, but when she gets like this, it takes a long time for her to calm down. Every sound seems to get amplified for her, and she is just on edge for awhile. Her heart had stopped racing by the time I finished my shower, but I still had to carry her into my room, as she wouldn't leave the bathroom (even with the promise of treats!).
When this happens, it breaks my heart. I had to leave her, too, to go to work, which was even worse. She had calmed down by that time, but still looked a bit shaken. This is how she looked before I left:
You can see how scared she is in her face. And her ears stay that like for awhile after it happens. Every sound freaks her out. (And yes, I gave her that bear and her favorite blanket before I left in hopes that it would help her lol.) The best way I've discovered to calm her down is to just talk to her in a soothing tone and cuddle with her. I was rubbing her face and just being close to her for awhile. Something else that helps is Rescue Remedy, which has a version made especially for pets. It's a natural remedy (and they have a human version as well) and it definitely works. I've used the human version on myself. And the pet version definitely seems to calm Sadie down. I don't use it every time; only when it's really bad and she can't stop shaking in the corner.
Do your pets have similar reactions to certain sounds or sights? What do you do to calm them down? It's so sad seeing Sadie like this.