Life with Buddy, the early years.


The big news is that, after consultation with my own vet, I have decided that Buddy is older than first thought and have settled on seven as his official age rather than five. This is a Good Thing in terms of the current canine zeitgeist (see the Best-in-Show honors won by  the senior dog known as Stump at Tuesday’s Westminster Kennel Club show in New York).

Buddy really loves to go for walks, or runs really, since that’s what he does most of the time. That too is a Good Thing because I don’t believe I could ever walk as slowly as necessary if he didn’t. He’s a city type dog for sure, loving the pavement and approaching grass and water hesitantly and with a certain disdain. I’ve noticed that when we go out the back door and onto the lawn he always looks around very carefully, so I have to think some past experience has tied being on the grass to a bad moment in his mind. He also is a straight-forward sorta guy.  Once we start walking in any direction, he’s fixed on doing just that  and looks on my efforts to turn around or take a different path as something to be discussed, by which I mean he plants his feet and looks at me sternly.

I’ve revamped his special diet from that he was being given by his foster mother since both the canned and dry food she was using have chicken as part of their ingredients and my vet says that could be an allergenic contributor to his itchy and flaky skin issues. We’ll try our first joint shower using his medicated shampoo this weekend.

The more distressing news is that Buddy manifests serious separation anxiety. All I have to do is move toward the front door or reach for a jacket and he runs on his short stumpy legs as fast as he can to get there first. If I do leave him behind, as I found out the first time I did, he stands by the door and barks desperately for all the time I’m gone. Well, twenty minutes at least, which is the longest absence so far.

There are many ways of dealing with this and we shall work it out, with the stronger man winning. Both of us are old and weigh a tad more than we needs must, so it’s a fair fight, unless it comes down to cuteness, then I’m a goner. Right now, I’m trying is new crate which I bought yesterday, covered with a blanket when I leave to make it more “cave-like” and secure feeling, and adding some soothing homeopathic “remedy” drops to his food.

His foster home before I got him was  a house populated by four teenagers and another five or six dogs awaiting adoption so the separation thing is probably not all that odd.  he’s not used to being alone. Or, perhaps, he was actually all too used to being alone in his previous life.

Tomorrow will be the big test, as I’m scheduled for a couple of hours at the Beer Yard. I took him with me for a hour and a half session there yesterday and let him stay in the car (where he’s perfectly happy) since it was so warm out, but I don’t know if that will be feasible tomorrow. I don’t want to completely turn him off the crate experience (he likes it in there for the most part, both with the door open or even when I close it sometimes to get him accustomed to that) by forcing it too soon, but…. Well, how I deal with this is fodder for the next Buddy post, innit?

In any case, the deal is sealed between us, which became evident the second night he was here when we retreated to the bedroom. I lay down to do some reading and Buddy, having apparently  figured out that this was home, desperately wanted to get up on the bed with me as part of his ongoing effort to see  how far he can push the envelope. He  started trying to jump up onto it, all the while grunting and making other doggie comments as is his wont when being active or wanting attention. Understand, even if he wasn’t so heavy, there is no way a dog that small could make that leap without a serious running start, if at all, but it was fascinating to see him try, as  were the sound effects.He has a perfectly fine bed of his own across the bedroom (see photo above) and eventually retreated to same.

Last night he made one or two half-hearted efforts to jump up again and then went to his own place, so I think we’ve nipped the issue in the, um, bud(dy). And no, he’s not cross-eyed or snarling in the photo. He just happens to take terrible photos and his neat little doggie underbite gives him an sometimes untoward countenance.


4 Replies to “Life with Buddy, the early years.”

  1. Our dog has pretty severe separation anxiety. He had been found wandering in the woods, hair matted, etc when he was rescued (Northampton SPCA in Easton.) We can only imagine what kind of shitty life he had before us.

    Anyway, yeah. He is pretty clingy to my wife and I. When we leave the house, he would often bark incessantly. He also lays at the door so he is notified the moment we arrive home. He also has some other unique behaviors, like thinking shadows and light reflections are something worth chasing/barking at.

    2 things helped us. One, he is now on Chlomicalm, which is separation anxiety medication. That helps tremendously. Since he went on that, his days are much much much less stressed than they used to be. We also give him something to play with / concentrate on as we leave the house. We have this thing called a tug a jug – it is basically this plastic contraption that you fill with some small treats, that the dog has to swing around and knock at in order to get the treats out. This way he focuses on that when we exit.

    (Crating was an epic fail for us – he is too big and too unwilling to get in the crate and would get even more stressed than usual)

    Anyway.. good luck!

  2. One thing the Ex-GF did with her new puppy who had separation anxiety was this thing-ee called, I think, a Kong. It is a plastic toy, kinda snowman shaped and hollow. It has a hole in it at the bottom and you get a knife or whatever and put peanut butter (not tainted kind) or something like that in there. Similar to Kevin’s deal in that the dog would play with it, chew it and lick it to try to get the peanut butter. That might help.

    Also, make sure Buddy can see the picture of me in Kauai I sent him (via your email) recently. That should remind him there are good and friendly people in the world and it will calm and relax him. I am sure by now you’ve had a high quality print made and framed it for display there somewhere.

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