A man who saved a dog’s life after he learned that the dog was being forced to drink alcohol shared his remarkable story of how he helped the dog recover from his addiction.
Redditor I_am_a_mountainman shared his rescue story after initially seeking advice for how to help the dog who developed a dependency on alcohol.
He explains he was visiting the neighbors of some distant relatives where the people there (who he describes as “animal hoarders”) showed him an alarming “trick”.
“One of their dogs ‘tricks’ was that it could drink a half bottle of wine (350mls, ~12.5US fluid ounces, of 11% alc/vol). They wouldn’t feed him until he completed this ‘trick’, which he must do twice a day, and is repeated everyday,” I_am_a_mountainman wrote. “They think it’s a great laugh… I think it’s cruel as f*ck.”
The people were “getting sick of him” because he no longer would stagger around after consuming the alcohol and told him they were thinking about “getting rid of him (which means a bullet in these parts)”.
I_am_a_mountainman immediately offered to take him and they accepted. What followed was an unusual situation for the rescuer and the dog. How could he help the dog get off of alcohol after he had become so physiologically and psychologically dependent on it?
“The dog seems to go absolutely berserk, and then looks in pain, before staggering around in fright if I don’t give him a small glass (100mls) of wine,” he said, of what happened when he first brought the dog home.
“I really want to help this guy, as he is amazingly sweet. I find it sickening that whenever my hands go above roughly my shoulder height he cowers (I’m thinking he’s been hit a lot maybe?)… poor boy.”
His vet told him that “alcoholism treatment hasn’t been studied widely in dogs” and that the dog is likely going through the “DT’s” just like human alcoholics do when they are cut off from alcohol ‘cold turkey’.”
“My vet said he couldn’t professionally recommend I keep giving the dog alcohol,” he continued, as it would be deemed “animal abuse” but after consulting with another vet, they both recommended “off the record” that the dog be slowly weaned off of the booze.
“They have decided that despite the law, given the unique circumstances, the are confident despite statute that an alcoholic wean wouldn’t be considered abuse,” he wrote. “I am going to wean him down at a rate slightly quicker than the one originally suggested (in the post), but be monitoring him constantly for signs that he is in withdrawal, in which case I’ll let him have a small amount and re-assess in 45 minutes.”
“I also have some IM Valium that I’m to give him if he has a seizure, before immediately transporting him to the hospital. The vet will look him over twice a week at his clinic, monitoring his weight and have another liver test done in a few weeks!”
I_am_a_mountainman was diligent in caring for the dog, now named “Digger”, switching him from wine to apple cider and gradually decreasing Digger’s daily intake. He and the vet also decided to accelerate the weaning process because of concerns regarding his liver.
He also provided a few other updates on Digger after originally posting his story.
Firstly, he shared that police did pay the neighbors a visit after he reported them, and he said they have been charged with various criminal offenses.
He also said that Digger has successfully gone his first day without consuming any alcohol!
“I am posting here to let you know that today ‘Digger’ (Doggo’s new name) has successfully gone 24 hours without consuming any alcohol, and seems to be fine,” he wrote. [He’s] not quite as ‘chipper’ as usual, but certainly not suffering as much as one may expect. As you can see from these photo’s he may look a little sorry for himself but still can give a smile and a yawn when woken up with a belly rub!”
And although Digger wasn’t quite his “usual boisterous self” after missing his scheduled drink in the morning, by evening he was “a bit brighter and happier to be in a room with light, and has had some food!”
“I think that the meds are causing him some sleepiness too,” said I_am_a_mountainman. “Though to be honest, I am absolutely ecstatic because he has managed to beat his physical dependence on alcohol, and while his liver had the result which was of concern to my vet, the vet is confident that by having ceased the alcohol in this time frame the liver shouldn’t suffer too much (if any!) permanent impairment!
“He should hopefully live out his days to a regular lifespan…which I consider amazing given what he has been through!”
“From today on he has started living the rest of his life in a loving home, with his new ‘family’ (2 humans, a fellow dog, and 2 cats), and can say that he is now SOBER!”
This is very good news and we’re very happy to hear of Digger’s recovery, given his troubling early life!
To read Digger’s full story, we are sharing all of the reddit posts below. We begin chronologically with his original post followed by the updates.
Note: the posts contains graphic language that may be offensive to some readers.
Here is his original thread:
[Help] Seeking advice from anyone that had rehabilitated an alcoholic dog. from r/dogs
Here is his first update after beginning treatment:
[Update] Alcoholic Dog’s Recovery Is Going Well! from r/dogs
And his latest update after Digger’s first day sober.
[Update] My Alcoholic Dog’s Recovery: 1st Day Sober! from r/dogs