Pets are great!
So are pet meds.
Oh, I don't take them. Well...the Wonder Husband took horse tranquilizers once but that's another story. When you live with a dog that has Canine Separation Anxiety, pet meds are a must. Until 8 years ago, this disorder was one I with which I wasn't familiar. Now I live with it on a daily basis. If you've read or seen the story of Marley & Me, a memoir of family and their dog, there is an account of Marley shredding the upholstery off a sofa all the way down to the wooden frame.
Believe me, it can happen. My dog Maaco hasn't gone that far but he has ripped up blinds,
chewed through molding, bottoms of doors,
and devoured lampshades. He's put teeth holes in door knobs and flattened the sides so he can open them with his mouth.
He's torn boards off of the fence. We've put three different kinds of latches on the gate because two are not enough. He can figure out most of them.
He can't be alone for more than an hour or two before becoming panicked and anxious. If he's inside he is frantic to get out. If he's outside, he's tearing screens off to get inside the house. Or trying to stuff his 10 inch wide body under a three inch gap under the furniture. And, lord almighty, if there is thunder, lightening, high winds or fire works, he'd better not be alone or I'll find this when I get home.
And I'll find a dog that is round-eyed-wild, quivering, whining and salivating. I tried crating him when I left, but no matter how I secured the crate, he'd always find a way to escape. For a while, he was called Houdini Dog. Finally, I set the video camera up to find out what was happening. It is one of the most heart wrenching videos you'll ever see. He shrieked, in half-human tones, and bent the wires of the crate until his gums and mouth bled, for over an hour until the tape ran out. I was gone three.
I've worked with a canine behaviorist and the vet to give this dog as good of life as possible. She's helped me work on retraining and desensitizing him. It is a slow process with lots of backward steps. The very kindly vet is understanding and has helped with a medication regime.
Maaco's not currently on meds but in the past, we've used Clomicalm, an anti-depressant medication; and Acepromazine, a tranquilizer. I'm not one to drug animals, but there are instances where it is necessary. The vet only wants me to use enough to take the edge off but not sedate him. I have to admit, sometimes it would be nice to knock him out when I leave so neither of us have to worry about how long I'm gone or what I'll find when I get home.
Maaco is the smartest dog and the worst dog--all rolled into one--that I've ever owned. In fact, smart dogs are often prone to the disorder. He is not easy. The behaviorist said that even a dedicated dog owner would have surrendered him long ago. It may happen yet. Since he's nearly 8, I'm hoping to keep him safe and wear him down into old age so he can leave this world and me, finally, in peace.
I know people who've gone to the vets and lied to get pet meds so they can take them themselves. My case is just the opposite. I've thought about telling my doctor I can't sleep so he'll give me sleeping pills I can give to my dog. There are times a passed out doggy is a happy doggy. And happy is what life is all about.