Monday, June 27, 2011

Busy Weekend = Guilt

This weekend was Gay Pride here in Chicago and since approximately 95% of my friends are gay, that meant a lot of activities.  My friend Curtis and I spent Friday night grilling, watching an interesting documentary about Joan Rivers and celebrating gay marriage becoming legal in New York.  Maisie hung out with us throughout.  Saturday afternoon, I took her to the dog park for some exercise before I went to a BBQ.  She was home alone in the crate for five hours or so (about the maximum time I feel comfortable leaving her).

Sunday morning, I put on my sparkly rainbow heart t-shirt and headed to the Pride parade with a bunch of friends.  Pride is one of my favorite events of the whole summer, but too loud and crowded for Maisie to accompany me.  The weather was unexpectedly beautiful, which made the day even more fabulous.

I knew I'd be gone most of the day, so I arranged for the dog walker to come take Maisie out to the park halfway through her crate time.  But I felt terribly guilty regardless, because Maisie shakes and pants and generally freaks out when that crate door closes.  Here she is this morning, with me sitting right next to her:

The noise you hear is the bottom of the crate vibrating against the floor from her shaking (and maybe also the sound of my heart breaking just a little bit).  So what's a girl to do?  Maisie already takes Clomicalm for separation anxiety and in addition to that, I utilize all the tricks I know.  I leave her with treats and a Kong stuffed with frozen deliciousness (plus either some Composure liquid or "Tranquility" drops).  I line the crate with comfy blankets (frequently torn and/or partially eaten by the time I return).  I have a radio playing NPR next to the crate and a Dog Appeasing Pheremone diffuser plugged into the nearest outlet.  

But nothing really helps.  The Thundershirt makes a very slight difference, but not a significant one (and unfortunately, the dog walker forgot to put it back on her after the park yesterday).  

It can be difficult for me to enjoy myself when I am out with friends, because part of me is always worrying about Maisie.  For a long time, I tried to never crate her two days in a row but eventually started feeling my life was so restricted by her needs and issues that it wasn't fair to either of us (especially once I began to feel a bit resentful towards my poor, scared dog).  I am now crating her more often when necessary and keep reminding myself that her fear is not a life-threatening condition.  I took the day off from work today and I'm looking forward to cashing in a massage gift certificate that I received for my birthday, and to maybe make a Whole Foods run.  But that also means today will mark one of the only times Maisie has ever been left in the crate for any period of time three days in a row.  Although I will only be gone for maybe three hours max, I still feel incredibly guilty.  Hoping I'll be able to fully appreciate the massage anyway!

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7 comments:

Pauley, the Mr. or the Mrs. said...

It sounds like you are doing everything possible to ease her fears. We go through the same guilt of leaving the dogs. We are just this week going to start setting time aside for the humans in our lives :)

loveandaleash said...

We went through this with our Chick. It tends to be worse with dogs that get to spend all day with their people in the first couple of months together. I was in grad school when I adopted Chick and would take him everywhere with me; he was rarely alone longer than two hours. We eventually did get over this issue, and I am happy to email with you or chat by phone about it sometime if you are interested. It took some training and persistence and some reframing of the situation in our own heads. We tend to project our own feelings onto our dogs, and a lot of times what is going through their head is totally different or entirely minimal. Shoot me an email if you want to discuss.

Maisie's Mom said...

where can I email you, loveandaleash?

Two Pitties in the City said...

We leave NPR on for the pooches too--secretly, we wonder if it will widen their vocabulary. We used to feel this way when we first had Mr. B and he had separation anxiety, but we were so lucky he was an easy case. We can see how devoted you are to Maisie, so I hope she does feel better.

Maisie's Mom said...

Mr. B is lucky to have Miss M there with him. Maisie is actually fine being crated at the dog walker's house when she stays with him because he crates his other dogs in the same room with her when he goes out. the sad life of an only child...

Ximena said...

Only child syndrome, huh!? Elli has this issue -- at work mostly, otherwise she's usually curled up near me if we're chillin at home.

I wrote about how she scales 6.5" fences to get to me if she doesn't have a super playful dog with her. I really wish I could get her a brother, but it really isn't in the cards, right now... ya know?

Do you practice some minimal crate training with her every day? -- it'll get better with time if you do. I promise. :)

Two Grad Students and a Pittie said...

I cannot believe how sad she is....my heart is breaking! You obvs try so hard to make it comfy for her!

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