Recently, I was busy preparing for a trip to meet my husband, who is currently deployed with the Canadian Armed Forces. We’d be spending nearly three wonderful weeks in Belgium and the Netherlands, and we were thrilled, but I’m admittedly a bit of a worrywart, and as a former military gal myself, organization is my life. So I set to a list, wrote down all the things I planned on bringing with me, and spent the next several weeks—yes, weeks—packing.
To add another layer of stress to the trip itself, Pot Roast isn’t keen on me leaving home, which doesn’t help when I work from home so he doesn’t have to adjust to life without me on a regular basis. To make matters worse, Joe has already been away for 11 months. Roast used to be super relaxed about long days alone until we moved, Joe went away for several months and suddenly, the dog started exhibiting signs of separation anxiety. The anxiety usually manifests in the form of eating anything made of fabric…pillows, blankets, dog beds, stuffed animals…you name it. So now, when I prepare to leave the house, I have a process of putting away any and everything that might pique his taste bud interest.
I’ve worked to stop the separation anxiety loop thanks to a personal dog trainer. Separation anxiety is a tough nut to crack, but I’ve been trying my hardest every day, to the point the neighbours must be wandering why I so often appear dressed to leave for some purpose, then proceed to stand on my porch for minutes before retreating back indoors and repeating the process fifteen times. It’s a long, tedious process for both of us.
The trainer did advise that I do my very best to ensure that Roast doesn’t ever actually see me pack, much less the luggage. That way, they never have to face their trigger. I methodically stockpiled my gear in my closet, and then hired a dog walker to come take him for a long stroll while I stuffed every item into the bag, prayed I didn’t push the flying weight limit, and threw the bag into the trunk.
So the next day when I prepared to leave, I tried to make Pot Roast think it was any ordinary day, swung my purse on my shoulder and gave him a quick kiss. He wagged his tail and happily set to work on the stuffed frozen Kong I’d tossed on the carpet. In fact, he didn’t seem to care I was headed out the door. It wasn’t until I was in the car, driving away from my best furry friend when I realized that in this case, it’s me who has the separation anxiety. I’d miss the 75 pounds of muscle smothering me in my sleep. I’d miss being bonked in the nose by his gigantic head. But more than anything, I’d miss the endless support and love that only a pet seems able to provide.