Back in 1985, I had a Bull Terrier named Arthur. He suffered from a behavioral disorder that, at the time, I was at a loss to identify. Only many years after his death did I learn that what poor Arthur had suffered was Sudden Onset Aggression, also sometimes known as Rage Syndrome. It was a devastating experience and because of it I didn’t get another Bull Terrier for nearly two decades.
In August of 2003 we brought a puppy we named Mojo into our lives, and as luck would have it, I realized soon afterward that I had another Bull Terrier with a neurologically-based behavioral disorder. This time, it was not SOA but rather compulsive tail-chasing I had to contend with; I knew just enough about spinning at the time to know that it was a serious problem, but not what to do. Desperate not to lose another dog to a disorder I didn’t understand, I began searching for every scrap of information I could find.
I found some useful information on the web, but had to really dig for it… There wasn’t nearly as much on the various Bull Terrier Clubs’ sites as I had expected, and one of first listings in my search engine results was some dangerous misinformation from an Internet breeder who vehemently denied that such conditions as SOA and spinning really existed at all. On the Bull Terrier groups, I got some help that I will always be grateful for but also some really bad advice; luckily I was learning enough in my quest to recognize the bad advice and not use it. I also got the sense that there were a lot of people on the groups that didn’t want to publicly acknowledge disorders such as spinning and SOA and seemed to resent my repeatedly bringing the subject up. I began corresponding privately with other owners of affected dogs, sharing information back and forth. It was a lot of comfort to me to know that there were others who understood what I was going through.
In October of 2003 I started the Bull Terrier Neurological Disorders Yahoo group because I felt there was a need for those of us with Bull Terriers that are spinning or suffering some other behavioral disorder to have our own place to share our day-to-day experiences and the information we have gathered in our individual quests to help our bullies. I chose the term ‘neurological disorder’ to emphasize the distinction that these are not just problems caused by boredom or bad training. It seemed like a dedicated group would be a positive thing, particularly so that there would be a centralized resource where owners of possibly affected dogs unfamiliar with these disorders could quickly find helpful information. As of now, the group has eighty members (with several breeds) and I think it has been a great help — not just to me but to others.
I realized, however, that not everyone will take the time to join an email list when looking for information, and that search engines did not seem to list the group on searches very well, so I embarked on creating this site. My hope is that it will serve as a valuable resource to those trying–as I am–to understand their dog’s problem, get professional help, and know that there are others out there going through the same thing they are. Please feel free to leave an entry in the guestbook with your thoughts about this site, or contact me if you have any questions or comments.
**On December 13, 2004, Mojo lost his battle to his disorder. He began having serious seizures in addition to his other issues, and we gave him peace the only way we could. He lives on through the good things his life brought about: this web site, the BTNeuro group, those who participated in the study that might not otherwise have, and the cherished memories of him. Words are inadequate for how much he is missed.