Archive for February, 2013|Monthly archive page

A Case of Doggie Depression

In All About Me, Shelley Widhalm, What's important on February 24, 2013 at 11:30 am


I don’t like it when my BFF Shelley uses computers or cleans or does anything without me, especially when her attention is on the less important stuff of life.

She goes to work all day and doesn’t come home for eight hours (though I don’t understand time, I do know that it seems like forever). While she’s gone, I don’t eat or go potty, but resort to taking naps and barking at noises.

Given my days of loneliness and unasked for solitude, I want that when she comes home, she keeps me entertained. But she sometimes leaves again to see her friends, go to the gym or get dinner. All of it without me!

She’s worried I might have doggie depression. Her worry got me worried, so I went online and researched canine and dog depression.

Apparently the symptoms for depression are the same in dogs as in people, such as becoming withdrawn and inactive, changing eating and sleeping patterns, lacking enthusiasm and not participating in what were once considered enjoyable activities.

A trigger into the depressive state can be a change in the home environment (I visited Shelley’s dad for three weeks and now am back home for the second week), or a change in schedule (Shelley’s dad is retired and hangs out with me, while Shelley has to go to work all the time).

Research shows that most dogs bounce back within a few days or months if their owners give them some extra TLC following those changes, playing with them more, taking them on walks and doing those things they like to do.

Hint: I’m waiting for my TLC.

In the meantime, I eat like I always do, which is avoid my dog food in case something better comes along, but if I’m really hungry, I’ll eat it. Usually I eat my big meal at night because I’ve been waiting all day long for the good stuff.

I sleep the same during the entire night, except when trucks in the alley make noises or people talk outside the window, plus off and on during the day for my dog naps (not cat naps, because, well, you know …)

And I pout the same. I go under Shelley’s bed and hide and won’t come out until I feel like it.

Pet owners are advised to reward dogs when they show signs of happiness, but not when they pout or mope. The reward at the wrong time would make us think we’re being rewarded for that behavior. The thing is I’m rewarded for moping because Shelley keeps asking me what’s wrong. Duh! I have doggie depression.

Dog Gone Too Much

In All About Me, Shelley Widhalm, Two homes, What's important on February 17, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Shelley, my BFF, edited me right out of her life to work on her novel revision.

She shipped me off to her dad’s house for three weeks, so that she wouldn’t have to hang out with me. Though I don’t understand time, I did understand that her sending me away for more than one minute was a very long time for separation.

I left in mid-January and returned last Saturday, chauffeured by The Dad. I got excited when The Dad took me to Shelley’s apartment, but a sniff around each room didn’t produce my BFF. I cuddled up with The Dad to wait, my impatience expressed by barking at every sound. Bark! Is that her? No? Sigh …

And then I heard her familiar footsteps on the stairs, and The Dad opened the door, releasing me onto the landing. I wiggled my tail, panted and turned a circle in my excitement.

Shelley picked me up for a long hug and kiss. “I missed her so much,” she said.

“Of course you did,” The Dad said.

Well, yeah!

And this is how I responded to my boomerang love story. I pouted at The Dad’s house for a week, reducing the amount I ate, played and sniffed, while adding to the sleeping bit. But then it snowed, and I ran outside to romp and roll, loving the cold stuff.

The next two weeks were fun as I played snow bunny, sat on the window ledge to observe the world and barked at all unfamiliar noises.
And then just as I was used to my new home, I got ripped away and shipped back, so I pouted while I had my BFF and The Dad both with me. I pouted when the Dad left four days later. And I pouted just because I liked the sympathy I get.

“I think she might have doggie depression,” I heard Shelley say.

No. I. Do. Not!

I have doggie-doesn’t-know-where-home-is-ion.

And, yes, pouting is my way of picketing to let humans know what I want from love and life. I want adoration and attention, to get petted and to be the recipient of a multitude of treats.

A Dog’s Tale: Left Behind

In 52: A Dog's Life and Tales, Being Cute, Missing Mom, Shelley Widhalm on February 2, 2013 at 11:30 am

Zoey is anxious about her toys packed up in bags.

Zoey is anxious about her toys packed up in bags.

I am at Shelley’s dad’s house for my annual winter break. I don’t like the change, but then I get used to it.

Of course I like Shelley’s dad, but still this isn’t home.

So what I do is pout and cling, making sure The Dad doesn’t get out of sight.

Think of the movie “Ruby Sparks,” where a novelist named Paul Dano struggling with writer’s block invents a character who he thinks will love him. The character, Ruby, comes to life and acts according to what Paul writes for her role. He makes her clingy in one part, where she won’t let go of Paul’s hand and is glued to his side wherever he goes.

That’s me with The Dad, except I haven’t been written to be that way. Instead, I follow The Dad from room to room because I’m afraid The Dad will leave me, too. You see, Shelley left me two weeks ago, and I do not, being a dog and all, understand time, nor do I know when and if she’s coming back to get me.

In fact, I’m left here every time Shelley has to go on vacation or has some big writing project (like editing her novel that has a million pages). It helps that The Dad really likes me, because I’m incredibly cute, but still I am a one-person dog and Shelley is my person.

Imagine here that I’m lifting my nose in the air for a big wailing howl.

Anyway, I pouted for the first three days or so, feeling sorry for myself that my circumstances changed without my being informed of the change and told why there is the change.

On the fourth day, I realized that there is the great outdoors with the big backyard, and I went out into the January sunshine to run and play. I ran to the shed where there are a few feral cats, and I tried to tell them “hello,” but they seemed uninterested in my company. I barked at the birds, people pumping gas at the gas station next door and the big trucks rumbling along the highway, plus the blaring horn and metal-crunching squeal of the trains on the nearby railroad tracks. (The Dad lives next to train tracks, a grain elevator and Highway 6, which is a strange combination.)

As I’ve said before, I bark, therefore I am. When I started barking, I could see that I was getting used to my new home. I accepted that this is the way it is, even if I like to sit on the window ledge with the hope that I’ll see Shelley’s red car turn in the driveway.

And then I’ll really bark and wiggle my tail in utter joy.