Every time I think that I may be getting a handle on Sofie’s night issues, I feel like I am going backwards. The medication worked for about one week. Now Sofie is having her night terrors every couple of nights instead of every night (which is a blessing). She woke up last night at 3:20 AM and barked uncontrollably for about 5 minutes. Then, I was able to calm her enough and get her to go back to sleep. (Was she really even awake?) What triggers this behavior? No one was walking around the house – I did not hear any cars or animals outside. I am not sure if the waking is inside her heador externally triggered at this point. I call what happens to her ‘night terrors’ because they are feelings of great fear experienced on suddenly waking in the night. That to me is what she is experiencing. She is fast asleep and then she wakes barking, ruff up, tail erect, in alert protection mode.
I tried the holistic route (Composure Pro, Shen Calmer, Adaptil); I tried the medical route (Xanax, Prozac, Phenobarbital, Clomipramine); I tried the behaviorist, what is left? Don’t say a pet psychic (not that I won’t try it), but just knowing that she is in pain doesn’t tell me how to help her. Getting an MRI to rule out a brain tumor is very costly, and, if true, would confirm concerns but not leave me with any additional solutions. I have so many questions:
Medical: Was the Clomicalm just sedating her for the first week and now she is hearing outside noises again?
Herbal: Do I add Melatonin or some other night booster to help her sleep? (Vet said 4mg at night is OK)
Behavioral: Do other people’s dogs wake every night because of unseen noises? Is this just ‘normal’ for some breeds? Should I start walking her before bed to get her more tired?
Psychic: Is she picking up on something that I am doing during the night that I am not aware of? I am a lousy sleeper (have been for years). But I don’t startle awake and she tends to be sleeping when I wake during the night on my own.
I am feeling like such a personal animal parent failure. If love could fix things all my animals would be perfect, but that does not work. It is very lonely on this path to find a solution for Sofie. It seems to me that Sofie and I have been abandoned by Vets, the Behaviorist, the family. When something gets this complicated, no one wants to touch it.
Until I get her sleep under control, how can I hope to address her separation and thunder anxieties? Oh, Sofie, I know you want to be calm.