Sneaky Pup’s New Family Discovered Their Fur Baby Was Leading A Shady Double Life
When Roger and Julie Gill purchased a farm in the country, they also adopted the family dog that lived on the property, a Great Pyrenees named McKayla. The previous owners moved into a city, and didn’t feel it was fair to remove McKayla from the farm.
She spent 12 years roaming the fields, herding animals, and enjoying the fresh air. The Gills happily adopted the pup, but didn’t realize the fluffy cloud would have a few tricks up her sleeve.
As the family got to know McKayla, they realized she had an independent spirit. She would enjoy her time on the farm, wandering where she pleased. So, her new parents were happy to trust her with the responsibility of being off-leash.
But…they were always curious how she could sustain herself on the seemingly small amount of food she’d eat at home.
Apparently, McKayla was playing the Gills like a fiddle! She was leading a double life — every day, she’d wander into the town next to the farm and would accept treats, scraps, and cuddles from people that passed her. She’d actually sit outside of a convenience store and “panhandle” for treats (very successfully, too).
It’s no wonder that she didn’t snack on much kibble at home!
Unfortunately, McKayla’s antics finally got her into trouble.
One afternoon, a couple asked the clerk inside the store McKayla frequents if she had a family. The employee did tell the strangers that she just lived on the farm next door…but, soon enough, the pair lured the pup into their car. The store clerk told them to stop, but when they refused, she alerted the authorities and McKayla’s family.
The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police were able to track down the car thanks to an anonymous tip. When police questioned the family, they simply said they believed the dog was being neglected and needed a better home.
The Gills were thrilled to have McKayla back (even if they did learn of her sneaky double life). In the future, her new family plans to find a way to let McKayla keep her freedom…but ensure that she is safely on the property.
Wandering off for a snack might be fun for the pup, but as this dog-napping fiasco proved, it’s not always the safest thing for a dog to do!
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Does this sound familiar? Your dog suddenly starts making loud snorting sounds—over and over again, in quick succession. Do you start wondering, did they swallow something they shouldn’t have? Can they breathe?! Chances are, you’re experiencing the infamous “reverse sneeze.” Veterinarians often see dogs whose owners rushed them in for an emergency appointment after finding them standing with their elbows apart, head pulled back, and eyes bulging as they snort or gasp repeatedly. Yet for the vast majority of these dogs, a vet visit was unnecessary.
Reverse sneezing looks and sounds scary the first time you encounter it. However, it’s a fairly common and harmless respiratory event for dogs.
Read on to learn how to identify reverse sneezing, what causes it, and how to tell the difference between a harmless reverse sneeze and something else.
What is reverse sneezing?
A reverse sneeze is pretty much what it sounds like: a sneeze that happens in reverse! The above video is a good example of what it looks and sounds like.
In a regular sneeze, air is rapidly pushed out through the nose. In a reverse sneeze, air is rapidly, and noisily, pulled in through the nose. It occurs in spasms lasting anywhere from a few seconds up to a minute and sounds like snorting, snuffling, and even gagging. See the above video for an example.
Because of the sounds their dogs make while reverse sneezing, many people mistakenly think their dog is choking. However, a reverse sneeze is almost as normal and harmless as a regular sneeze.
There’s no single cause for a reverse sneeze. Like regular sneezing, it’s often triggered by an irritation or inflammation in the nose, throat, or sinuses. It often occurs when dogs wake up from a nap, or after eating, when their breathing pattern may have rapidly changed. It’s also caused by irritants in the airway—anything from dust to an inhaled hair!
Some dogs experience more frequent reverse sneezing in springtime when the air is full of pollen and other allergens. Others reverse sneeze more in the winter, when sudden temperature changes between outdoors and indoors cause the nasal passages to contract.
Another common cause of reverse sneezing is pressure on the throat and neck. A too-tight collar, or straining against the leash, can irritate the throat and lead to a reverse sneeze. That’s just one more reason to consider a harness for your dog.
Finally, some dogs reverse sneeze after exercise, or when they’re overexcited. This is particularly common among brachycephalic, or short-nosed, breeds like pugs and bulldogs. When they get worked up, they may inhale their elongated soft palates into the throat, triggering an episode of reverse sneezing.
Reverse sneezing is super-common, and it won’t hurt your dog. However, some dogs become anxious during a reverse sneezing episode, and a lengthy episode may be uncomfortable.
You can help your dog recover from a reverse sneezing episode by remaining calm yourself. If you get anxious, your dog’s anxiety will increase, too. So, stay calm, and show your dog there’s nothing to panic about.
If your dog is experiencing a particularly long episode of reverse sneezing, you may be able to ease or end the episode by:
Gently massaging your dog’s throat
Briefly covering their nostrils, which will cause them to swallow and potentially stop sneezing
Depressing their tongue with your hand to help open airways
Some vets suggest gently blowing in your dog’s face
In the vast majority of cases, there’s no need to intervene. Reverse sneezing doesn’t last long, and your dog will be perfectly normal after it stops.
When you should go to the vet:
As mentioned, reverse sneezing rarely requires veterinary treatment. As soon as the sneezing episode stops, the situation is resolved. However, if episodes increase in frequency or duration, you should call the vet just in case. You should also seek treatment if your dog’s reverse sneezing is accompanied by other respiratory symptoms or if they have any unusual discharge from their nose.Occasionally, chronic reverse sneezing can be a symptom of more serious issues. These include nasal mites, foreign objects in the airway, respiratory infections, and tracheal collapse. If you’re concerned about the intensity of your dog’s reverse sneezing, take a video to show the vet. They’ll be able to determine potential causes.Most dogs experience episodes of reverse sneezing at some point in their lives. For the vast majority of dogs, it’s a common, temporary, harmless reaction with no lasting aftereffects. Of course, it still sounds unsettling to our human ears! But now that you know what reverse sneezing is, you’ll be less likely to make an unnecessary vet visit.