Separation Anxiety – Flashback Friday #8

 

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 Like most dogs, Sadie hates being alone. In this flashback photo my sleepy puppy Sadie and I are literally joined at the hip (as I write this Sadie is once again curled up against my hip, fast asleep). We are very lucky to be able to stay together most of the time, as Sadie comes to work with me everyday. But there are times when she must be in the house alone. And to her it doesn’t matter if it’s five minutes or five hours, any time alone is far too long.

As with most of Sadie’s issues, it’s not hyperactivity or destructive behavior I worry about when she’s alone; it’s inaction. When I leave Sadie home alone she goes up to her window seat to watch me leave, and then won’t move again until I come home. No matter how long I’m gone, she will not go to the bathroom (I leave pads out for her of course), she will not drink water, and she will not eat, no matter what kind of food I leave for her. If a friend or family member checks on Sadie when I have to be gone all day, she still refuses to eat, drink, or, pee. She will greet the person, all happy and excited to see them, but then return to her vigil at the window when the greeting is done. Her mommy is not home safe yet, so she cannot relax and tend to her own needs or be bothered with other people. I’m glad that I can trust she won’t get into trouble while I’m gone, but I wore about her wellbeing. If I leave in the winter, she will wait at that window no matter how cold it gets. I make sure to put blankets on her before I leave, but what if they fall off? I have nightmares of Sadie shivering and shaking from the cold, gazing sadly out the window waiting for me to return.
I know that to deal with separation anxiety I’m supposed to gradually lengthen the amount of time I leave her alone, showing her that it’s ok if I’m gone because I always come back. And I have tried that method, starting from when she was a puppy. But if I left for ten minutes or thirty minutes or two hours, Sadie always sat there and stared at the door until I returned. And when I get back she goes nuts, shrieking and crying and barking, as if asking how I could put her through that, like she feels I abandoned her. And so I take her with me everywhere I possibly can, because I can’t stand the idea of her sitting alone in the window, feeling sad and abandoned.
This post is part of the #WoofSupport blog hop.

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