Dog Gone Separation Anxiety
According to Psychology Today, “Separation anxiety” refers to a developmental stage in which a child experiences anxiety due to separation from the primary care giver (usually the mother).
This phase is fairly standard at around 8 months of age and can last until the child is 14 months old.
What about adults? Don’t first time parents freak the first time they leave their child with a sitter? Don’t they call home every ten minutes to make sure everything is okay?
Even worse what about pet owners? I prefer “pet parents.”
Pet Separation Anxiety
To those of us who are pet owners, our pets are family members, not just pets. We grieve for their loss with just as much sadness and emotion as the lost of a human family member.
So you can imagine my concern when the wife and I had to go out of town overnight recently and boarded our three dogs for the very first time.
I’m sure the anxiety we experienced was much worse than anything the dogs went through.
For all we know they may have been glad to get away from us and meet some other dogs. But we felt like calling every ten minutes too.
Fear of The Unknown
These dogs have never been away from us for any extended period of time. I guess we could have left them alone and just pray that they not destroy all the furniture.
But there is no way to alleviate that butterfly feeling in the pit of your stomach when you leave your “furry family” in the care of strangers.
Naturally we did our due diligence and researched the facility, took a tour, read online reviews, etc.
But all that cannot dispel the anxiety that can only be relieved by reuniting them and us.
I know we are only talking about overnight but the time seemed endless. Any pretense of enjoying ourselves was just a cheap façade. Our “four legged kids” were never out of our minds for a second.
Some Final Thoughts
There is a thin line between rationality and paranoia. And being human our emotions ran the entire range of what could go wrong.
Imagine Murphy’s Law on steroids.
As it is with most emotional trials under fire the “what if’s” seemed much more powerful than the “what really happened.”
You find yourself looking in the mirror asking, “Would any sane person act that way?” I guess the answer is yes.
You didn’t act strangely, or over the top. You acted like a pet owner separated from those who give you unconditional love no matter how wacko you sometimes act.
It’s good to be back home again — together.