When my husband and I first got married five years ago, there were two things I really wanted, a dog and children. My husband wasn’t convinced, about either. After one year of continuous hounding (no pun intended), I started to make some inroads towards getting a dog. I didn’t have him 100% committed, but we were getting somewhere. We did loads of research, and talked about the various breeds that would fit our lifestyles. But all this talk was going nowhere, and I was getting impatient.
A woman who I volunteered with had just adopted a mutt to be a companion for her aging Shelty. However, the dogs weren’t getting along, and the new dog had severe anxiety and jealousy issues. Being the sap that I am, I immediately fell for this poor dog’s sob story. She was on her fifth home in the first six months of her life, no wonder this dog had issues. Surely, I the compassionate and patient human was the right person to “rehabilitate” this dog, being that I had absolutely no dog training experience whatsoever. I went to visit the dog that evening after work, and when I got home, I told Paul that I had found a dog that I wanted him to meet. What I didn’t tell him was that this dog was coming home with us for a trial weekend. My heart was bigger than my common sense, and we kept her. That is how Asia became part of our family.
Asia was a case study in separation anxiety. She barked, jumped and eliminated in her crate, whenever we left the house. By the time we got home, she’d be covered in poop. I only worked two minutes from home, so I naively thought it would help if I returned home for lunch every day. So for several weeks, I’d come home for lunch, quickly bathe her and rush back to work, only to have to do the whole thing again when I got home that evening. This got old fast.
With time, patience and loads of research on training, Asia’s anxiety didn‘t disappear, but it got less. However, whenever one of us was sick, or on vacation or for some reason spent an abnormal amount of time at home with Asia, the anxiety would rear it’s ugly head, and we would have to re-train her again. Taking her to boarding kennels proved disastrous. The only place we could leave her was with a good friend who also had a dog. Having another dog to wrestle with seemed to dispel Asia’s anxiety. We could also leave her with my parents, but she would act depressed and morose, sleeping the whole time and not eating.
With our recent move back to Germany, Asia’s anxiety has again reared it’s ugly head, and besides driving us crazy, it’s severely irritating our neighbors. So once again, we’re re-training our dog. And, I keep wondering, when is she going to learn that we always come back?