Behavioural Referrals Logo

British Veterinary Behaviour Association
Blue Dog Interactive CD
APBC
Link to Gallery

Tam


Tam

Tam is a tricolour male Border Collie and was born on 2 November, 1993. We gave him a home on 5 November, 1994, rescuing him from National Animal Welfare Trust. He was dreadfully underweight even after 3 months in the Rescue Centre.

Fast forward to 4 April, 2003 when I settled down to read the Daily Mail and saw an article on the annual British Small Animal Veterinary Association Congress at which Sarah Heath was talking about pets that suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder and could need therapy and even anti-depressants. I put off making contact for nearly a year because I was sceptical about yet more travelling up and down the country for help. When I did make contact in January 2004 I was delighted to hear that Sarah did a monthly clinic at the University of Bristol and that is where we went to see her with Tam on Friday 5 March, 2004. That day changed our lives and that of Tam for the better.

We realised quite early on in our life with Tam that he had a sound phobia which seemed more severe than most other collies. Border Collies have particularly keen hearing because of the job they are bred for and some noises are very stressful for them. Tam was particularly sensitive. Over a number of years the problem seemed to worsen and became very difficult to live with. This was in addition to the problems of a dog that had obviously had a very traumatic few months with a family before he was taken to the Rescue Centre. We spent years and large amounts of money travelling the country visiting "experts" and having "experts" visit us. None of this time with dog listeners, dog whisperers, border collie experts, animal behaviourists, spiritual healers, homeopathic healers, nature diet experts, animal chiropractors and holistic vets helped us at all.

When we met Sarah, for the first time, it was not about money but about the animal and what was best for the animal. Sarah explained calmly and clearly that Tam did not have a whole list of behavioural problems but it was mainly related to a sound phobia, which without the correct help, had become more widespread, this being Tam's coping mechanism.

We embarked on a programme of clicker training, DAP diffuser and collars and medication, noting down pages and pages of all we did and Tam's reactions to things and gradually improvements came about. Sarah was available on the phone and email for advice and Jon Bowen paid regular visits for help and encouragement.

Two years ago, when Tam had made such a huge improvement, we stopped all the medication and DAP therapy and Tam has just celebrated his 16th birthday and is a very happy, healthy and contented dog. That is all we were looking for - to give a dog a happy life, not miserable and nervous as he had been before we had Sarah's help.

We are eternally grateful to Sarah Heath, Jon Bowen and all the staff at Behavioural Referrals who were always available with helpful and courteous advice.