Friday, January 17, 2014

Jekyll and Hyde: More Mutt Adventures

Okay, I promise you all that this is not going to turn into a full-blown pet obsession blog. But I usually write about whatever's on my mind, and right now, my mind is pretty much over-run by this new dog of ours.

I showed you in my last post how this incredibly sweet, mellow, laid-back pooch tore up the wall by the laundry room door when we left him in there overnight. So, we decided he needed to be crated (I can't believe I let the pet store guy talk me out of that the first night -- follow your instincts!!). So, I picked up a crate the next day, and we spent some time during the day getting him used to it. He actually seemed quite comfortable there -- even chose to lay down and rest in there of his own accord.

But at bedtime, he paced in that crate and barked and whined hysterically. After a couple hours, hubby put the crate in the garage, where he continued to bark, but we were able to go to sleep. In the morning, he had torn the pad in the bottom of the crate to pieces.

So I threw that away and cleaned out the crate, and, because we had no other choice, we put him back in there for the hour of time between when hubby had to leave for work and I got home from driving the girls to school.

And here you see the result.

Yes, that's blood where he tried to chew his way out of the crate. He had also managed to move himself, crate and all, a few feet into the room and turn the crate on its side. But when I got him out, he hopped over to wag his tail at me and get a big drink of water, his usual cheerful, contented self.

We should have named this mutt Dr. Jekyll.

After sitting rather stunned for a few minutes and feeling quite discouraged and lost about what to do for this animal, I called a couple vets and got some prescriptions and some advice. Last night we put him in his NEW completely metal crate (no chewing his way out of this one) with a sedative and an Adaptil collar (which emits pheronomes like a nursing mother dog emits).

He barked for about an hour. Hubby put him back in the garage. He barked for another thirty minutes or so . . . and then quiet.

Blessed quiet!

This morning when the youngest got him out of his crate, he was calm and nothing was torn up. Here's hoping this is something of a breakthrough.

Because I don't know if my daughter could take another night of his terrible separation anxiety. He's her dog, and she cried last night listening to him. And I could sympathize. It sent me back to our days with a newborn . . . actually, the first few years, with both girls. I vividly remember sitting outside the door of my crying baby in her crib -- sleep-deprived and crying myself -- and praying, "God, do I go in? Do I stay here? I'm so tired! She's so tired! Five more minutes?  Ten minutes? What do I do? What do I do???"

Such a terrible burden to be responsible for the well-being of a helpless another. I have no illusions that the separation anxiety or bedtime battles with Wheatly are anywhere near over. (And this is why we resisted getting another dog for so long.)

But, as I said, here's hoping this is something of a breakthrough.

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