Archive for May 2013

Please Don’t Go!

May 16, 2013

Recently I was away from home for a few days and while Zeke and the cat stayed home with dad, Foo Foo went to visit her sister and doggy cousins. The reports that I got said that they were both eating fine and going for their walks but Zeke was “bummed” and Foo seemed confused, especially at bedtime. Anyone who has a pet knows that they often suffer from separation anxiety when you have to leave them whether it is just to go to work or shopping or for a longer trip. Many dogs react in a destructive manner, tearing things up, scratching doors, and digging at furniture. Some bark or howl. Others gather items that belong to their owner and sleep with them. It’s their way of expressing their fear that you are not coming back.  I think perhaps dogs that know what it’s like to be abandoned or were strays are more prone to separation anxiety, but really any pet can harbor the fear.

Fortunately, neither Zeke nor Foo Foo tear things up when we go away, and they have become used to the routine of when we leave the house and come home on a daily basis. But let the suitcases come out and Zeke especially gets stressed and follows me around the house, hoping he will be invited to come along. I’ve heard other pet owners who have to travel for work say that as soon as their dogs see the suitcase, they are immediately depressed. It must be hard to be a dog and not understand what “I’ll be back” means. Some dog trainers suggest not saying anything when you leave the house but to just quietly leave. I find that if I do use the same phrase, “I’m going to work now,” or “Be back in a little while,” they seem to know it’s all right. If your pet has problems with separation anxiety and bad behavior because of it, it would be helpful to consult your veterinarian or a dog trainer for advice on how to handle it. Far too many dogs are taken to shelters because they have not learned how to deal with being left alone.

Now that I’m home and life is back to normal around here, Zeke and Foo Foo both seem relieved that their “pack” is back together again.