Separation and other anxieties

Separation and other anxieties
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Chance 3.JPG

During my youth, I was a "career babysitter"; this meant that I was the go-to girl when anyone within my family's enormous social circle needed someone to watch their kids. This part-time gig allowed me the "pleasure" of being exposed to all sorts of kid/parent dynamics. My least favorite of all these relationships had to be the "clinger", the kid who couldn't bear to be apart from their mom/dad despite my being the best babysitter of all time. These kids would scream, cry and cling to their parent's neatly pressed evening wear in their feeble attempts to dissuade them from leaving. In all of my Saturday-night sittings, I never once witnessed a successful campaign, so I was the one left behind to soothe the inconsolable child. (Is it any wonder I hate kids?)

One thing I did manage to take from these experiences was that I felt bad for these temporary orphans, and that I was glad not to be the one who would be paying their therapy bills in the future. Don't get me wrong, I'm not judging these parents, but I've come to know firsthand the effects that being separated from a loved one can have. Despite my best efforts, I have somehow morphed into one of these "neglectful" mothers I was so quick to judge as a pre-teen. Chance is suffering from a severe case of separation anxiety.

How could we have gone this long without noticing, you might ask. Well, Jeremy was on holidays for the first two weeks after we brought Chance home, so the majority of his days were spent snuggled up to his best pal. We did think that he was unusually well adjusted considering the ordeal he had just endured, but we chalked it up to good luck for doing a good deed. It wasn't until after Jeremy returned to work that we realized Chance has some serious abandonment issues.

It started with his daily trips to the backyard to pee with the rest of the pack. As soon as we turned away from him he would start to quietly whimper until one of us brought him back inside. At first, we blamed the wet grass and terrible weather, even going as far as holding an umbrella over him while he went. But as the weather improved, we noticed his crying fits worsened significantly and began to develop into something more than just your typical faithful dog behaviour. As things have progressed he has become more and more obsessive. He follows us wherever we go and whines incessantly if we venture too close to the front door. It has escalated to the point that unless we are within arm's reach, he throws a major tantrum and has even succumbed to bouts of diarrhea!

While some misguided souls may consider this flattering, it is NOT! When you hear an infant screaming relentlessly for no apparent reason, do you think "Well geeze, that baby really does love its mommy/daddy!" Probably not, you're most likely saying to yourself "someone shut that kid up" and I refuse to reach that point with my dog. My heart breaks for Chance; I know that a dog's understanding of chronological progression is inferior to ours. Every time I leave, Chance thinks it's forever, he has no way of knowing when or if I'll return. This lack of control over his own destiny must be torture, but what can I do to relieve his pain and suffering? In the past I have used Bach Flower's Rescue Remedy to help alleviate anxiety and fear in my dogs, but I think I'm going to need a full arsenal of resources to combat this level of unease. Is there anyone out there who knows how to cure his broken heart?

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