This is a story about a giant, sweet mutt named Tomato. Tomato was part of a big, busy family in South Portland. She lived with mom, dad, four kids, a cat named Fluffy, a fish, a hedgehog and for the last few months of her life a new puppy named Lola. I know this family because I watch their two youngest kids (the twins) once or twice a week.
I loved Tomato. She was a big, slobbery dog with bladder control issues who was always so happy to see me and I was equally happy to see her. She had a big, rectangular head that fit perfectly in my arms. I was my habit to cradle her head and kiss her between the eyes every time I saw her. This was our hello and goodbye.
Tomato was 11 when I met her and 14 when she died. She had always been an anxious dog that preferred to be in the room with you, rather than left alone. She would commonly follow me from room to room, especially at night. A few months before she died she developed intense fear and anxiety that came on in the evening and continued into the night. She would start panting and pacing and although normally she was better with people nearby, in these instances nothing seemed to alleviate her fear.
One night, Tomato was so afraid she broke and chewed her way through a wood and glass-paneled door in the house while everyone was asleep. The glass was broken, the wood was chewed up and there was blood all over the place. That doorway led into the sunroom which is where they found her sleeping the next morning.
She was terrified and I wanted to help so I started with what I knew about Tomato:
Anxiety, better in company
Fear at night with a desire to escape
Very cold – she would lay with her nose less than an inch from the edge of the woodstove in the Winter
Bladder issues – this was a lifelong problem
Arsenicum came to mind with its nighttime aggravation, restlessness, and coldness but it did not fit the bladder symptoms. The fear also seemed more intense than what I would expect of Arsenicum. Then I came across Camphor. Camphor is a bladder remedy with extreme coldness (one of the coldest remedies in the materia medica) and extreme fear that is worse at night and characterized by a feeling of wanting to escape.
I gave Tomato a single dose of Camphor 200C and the nighttime fear and anxiety stopped and never returned. I gave her a few more doses over a two month period hoping it might help her bladder issues but it did not. She continued to be a sweet, mildly anxious dog for the rest of her life. And I continued to cradle her head and kiss her face every time I saw her.
She wandered out of the house after midnight a few months later, found her way to her Vet’s house a few blocks away, laid down in the backyard and slipped away.