Piper's Story: Three Homes in Four Years... AFTER Her Bark Was "Softened"
Piper, a regal standard poodle, was devocalized to "soften" her bark and then given up. She was adopted but a few months later, the family decided they didn't have time for her. At just four years of age, Piper was bounced again.
The good news is she finally has a loving, truly forever home.
The bad news is the pain of voice-altering surgery is forever too.
A Permanent Home, But Also Permanent Pain In addition to a hoarse voice that is troubling to hear, 6-year-old Piper has problems swallowing and gags frequently due to scar tissue in her throat. Her adopter, Eryn, worries she could die choking on food as other animals subjected to "bark softening" devocalization have.
Piper also coughs often, another common outcome of this cruel convenience surgery. While that's not life-threatening, anyone who’s had a cold or allergies knows persistent coughing is mighty uncomfortable.
Allergies are seasonal and colds are a temporary nuisance. But the anguish of devocalization is permanent.
Even Other Dogs Don't Understand Her It's hard for Piper to communicate with people or other dogs, according to Eryn, because thanks to "bark softening," she can't make any distinguishable sounds.
"Sometimes my other dog will accidentally step on Piper or roll over her leg while laying in bed. Piper will make a muffled sound--all she can make--to warn her. Kasha has come to understand Piper better over time, but still is slow to move because there is no sharp whine or growl."
"Piper has no true voice."
The sad irony, Eryn says, is that Piper is a very smart and compliant dog who could have been trained not to bark. Instead, her first owner opted for a quick fix--that doesn't fix anything--by having her vocal cords cut.
It was easy for the owner, profitable for the vet. But a lifetime of suffering for Piper.