Separation Anxiety

Pandemic pups are struggling. Originally adopted to brighten the lives of people isolating in their homes as they followed social distancing guidelines and didn’t see friends, family, or co-workers, the pups are now finding it’s hard to be alone as their families resume their former activities.

Since I don’t know anyone with a pandemic puppy, I am sharing a picture Zadie, my friend’s puppy, from a few years ago.

According to the news, doggie daycares are one option to help puppies transition. I imagine that dog walkers are also seeing an uptick in business and, perhaps, some work places are allowing four-footed members to join the staff.

Pettigrew is neither a puppy, nor, as far as I know, is he experiencing separation anxiety.

Yes, I can imagine you are scratching your head and wondering why, then, I chose this topic for the blog.

ME! 

It’s me. I confess; I am experiencing separation anxiety.

It started a few weeks ago. We were on our first mini-vacation in what seemed like forever and I realized how much I was missing Pettigrew. 

What’s worse is that my phone kept me up-to-date with thunderstorms notifications, so I knew that there were storms almost every day we were away. I fretted about whether the sitter knew to leave the bathroom door open so that Pettigrew could cower inside. 

Would he be a nervous wreck by the time we got home? Would I be a nervous wreck from worrying about him? OK, I did realize how ridiculous this had become! Pettigrew loves his sitter. I was sure she was taking good care of him. Well, mostly sure. 

On night two of our mini-vacation I got a hint that I wasn’t alone in feeling the absence in our family. At an outdoor concert one of my sons approached a woman who had brought her dog along. The next thing I knew, he was squatted down, giving that dog a thorough rub down. A poor substitute for Pettigrew, but better than nothing.

Pettigrew was, of course, fine when we returned. Maybe the experience even built resilience. Who knows?

What I didn’t realize was that this was just a precursor for what life held for me. A few weeks ago we dropped our older son off at college. It’s harder than it looks to find the balance between loving support and showing confidence that he has it, all without getting under his skin! 

Will my short, quick, HELPFUL, touch-base texts be appreciated? Should I try to back off? 

Plus, just as my phone told me about the thunderstorms Pettigrew was negotiating without us, the Parents’ Facebook page informs me of obstacles my son and his fellow students are navigating. 

Luckily, Pettigrew has been giving me extra attention in the evenings, following me up to bed and inviting me to join him on the floor before I go to sleep. I like to say I’m comforting him, but I suspect he’s saying the same about me.

Pandemic pups, I feel your pain. It’s not easy being the one left at home.

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