Our little Oliver

I’ve started to wonder lately whether my most recently rescued Westie, Oliver, might have a canine version of autism. Seriously. Here are several of the reasons I am considering the kookie hypothesis:

1) He is hyper-sensitive to absolutely any new sound, like my setting down a glass on a table, and goes into fits of barking. And don’t get me started about what happens if we open the window blinds!

2) He can get almost violent if you touch him in a way he doesn’t like and runs away all the time if you reach for him.

3) He is calmed a bit when he’s wrapped snugly in an Ace bandage, put on a drag line/leash or put in his crate.

4) He gets totally obsessed with the bag of leftover popcorn that’s on our mantel above the fireplace. He refuses to leave the room for hours on end and pitifully cries as if to say, “Popcorn, please fall from the sky!” as he stares up at it.

5) He growls and snaps at all the other Westies when we’re in the car if he gets bumped by one. (And I know he’s not in pain, as from arthritis or something like that. He just freaks when he’s touched by his half siblings—though he will play and roughhouse with them outside of the car.)

6) He loses his mind and goes all Cujo after one of my cats (with no provocation) and not the other.

I know several folks who have autistic kids and they exhibit some similar behaviors. I know he could have OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), anxiety disorder, PSTD (posttraumatic stress disorder) etc., but he’s so different from all our other dogs, I just started entertaining this far-fetched notion as a means to explain his difficult behaviors. Anyone knowing about such things, please weigh in.

Then again, at other times, he’s a most loving kissybug. Baffling!—Sid

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