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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