Most dogs are happy to see their owner when they get home, even when they are gone for a relatively short period of time. So, you can imagine the affect of a dog’s owner going off to college for the semester, returning only for the holidays, breaks, and the summer. Like humans, dogs develop familiarity with the people around them and miss them when they are no longer there.
This one dad had an ingenious solution to his daughter’s dog’s sadness when his daughter went away to college.
This Little Dog was so Sad When her Owner Went Away to College
When Annie Shi went off to college, her tiny Shih Tzu was heartbroken. The adorable dog, named Tara, was left in the care of Annie’s parents, but her faithful companion had her heart set on one person, Annie. It seemed Tara couldn’t understand where her owner had gone.
Tara would sneak inside Annie’s room and curl up on her bed, napping while surrounded by Annie’s pillows, blankets, and clothes. Eventually, Annie’s dad noticed a change in Tara. She no longer would go into Annie’s room, even when the door was open. He realized that the poor dog was obviously way too sad and felt all alone.
So, he turned his daughter’s former room into an office and started using it. He noticed that Tara started spending more time in the room again. Best of all, Tara appeared happier, as if she knew she wasn’t really alone and that there were other people who loved her just as much as Annie.
Depression in Pets
Just like in humans, depression is a natural response to emotional turmoil, including sadness at the loss of a loved one. Keep in mind that animals can recover from their depression the same as their human counterparts. Those who don’t, run the risk of developing physical ailments resulting from a weakened immune system caused by depression. Symptoms of depression in animals include:
- A loss of appetite
- Hiding from others
- Trouble with bowel movements
Dealing with Separation Anxiety
A big cause of depression in dogs is separation from their owners, whether this is intentional or not. Such events cause stress levels in a dog to go way up, affecting their behavior. Events that happen during the separation, such as a loud thunderstorm, construction, or home robbery, can also affect a pet negatively.
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To help your dog with separation anxiety, you should teach them coping mechanisms for when you do expect to be gone. This includes teaching them how to play with their toys to keep occupied, making sure they get plenty of exercise, and have an opportunity, at least 30 minutes to an hour, to calm down before you leave following any physical activity exercise.
By paying attention to your dog’s needs, you can ensure that they stay healthy and happy if you must be away. In the case of extended absences, make sure that your pet gets to know the person that you are leaving them with and is comfortable with them before you depart.