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Worried/Nervous about leaving home ...

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:19 am
by cherriemater
Greetings chowchow friends ...

A friend of mine is having a difficult time through her divorce as her X is making it very difficult. She has to go to Fort Worth, TX for the mediation and then trial and has asked me to go with her to be a second pair of eyes and voice when she cannot find hers. I have agreed, but just calculated it all out and I will be gone from the beloved ones for EIGHT WHOLE DAYS!!

First, it will be hard enough to be without my husband for that long but how do you suppose the boys will handle my absence?? This will also mean that they'll have to be alone for about 11 hours during four of the days in which my husband must be at work. We will park the truck outside and open the door to the garage so they have extra room to roam (and hopefully pee out there rather than in the house should their bladders not hold). Since Joe works second shift (2:30pm until 2:00am) it will not be possible to have someone come visit them so this will be the first time they are really REALLY alone for a long time (not ideal, I know).

My plan is to "bring up" anything I don't want destroyed in their frustration or loneliness. This includes laundry or furniture or anything else that may be precious. We'll put it in the second bedroom where the door generally remains closed.

Would it be too confusing for me to call them? When Joe calls at 9:30pm I usually have it on speaker phone, but it doesn't phase them much. And, every time either of us leaves, whether it's just to walk to the post office or go to town, we tell them, "Bye bye boys, Momma (or Daddy) has to go to work," so they sorta understand that concept. I can't imagine the greeting I'll get when I DO get home ... or will it be so long they'll forget me. Joe worries that they'll be confused. I dunno ... but you all know me ... I'm a worry-wort.

Any words of wisdom?

Re: Worried/Nervous about leaving home ...

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 9:47 am
by Fozzbear
Don't worry so much - they certainly wont forget you.
I dont know what their usual routine is; my dogs snooze all evening and are fast asleep at night time. With your hubby working second shift, they will probably stick to their usual body clocks and I should imagine would be asleep much of the time he is gone. A really good walk before he goes should ensure it.
Could a local dog-walker/visitor come and see them in the late afternoon/early evening if you are that worried? Maybe a neighbour or someone they know to let them out for a quick wee?
I tend to leave the radio on for my two if I go out for any length of time. I've heard that you can even get doggy DVDs that play on continuous loop and are supposed to keep them amused (whether they do or not, I dont know).
I dont know if your dogs like toys but if they do, how about a new toy or stuffed Kong?
Or a chewy treat? (I never leave mine with bones unless they choke but something safe and long-lasting).
Remember that they have each other and I'm sure that they will be absolutely fine. I hate being seperated from my two (thinking of holidaying in the UK so they can come with me this year) but I dont think that they care too much as they have such a good time with their granny!! They know that I always come back and I'm sure they will know that you will be back soon too.

Re: Worried/Nervous about leaving home ...

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:04 am
by cherriemater
Thank you, Fozz!! I think a new Kong would be a good idea. All of a sudden, they're chewing on their Nylabone again and they have a rope-a-dope on which to chew with another chewy when the other is occupied. But adding a Kong (maybe one for each) with that treat inside might be a good idea for keeping them busy.

Their normal routine includes me in so many ways and, perhaps, that's why I'm worried so much. At 11:00pm I ask them, "One more outside before night-night?" and out they go for five or so minutes. I have not, however, noticed that they do any business during this outing. It's more of a "cool off" from running the heater. At 1:30am Leo begins to scurry around "looking" for Dad, coming to me for reassurance, "He'll be home soon, go watch the door," I'll tell him and they off he goes. At 9:30am Leo starts whining for attention and I usually keep them occupied while Joe finishes his sleep. Then there's always the occasional skunk or stray cat that they see outside that causes a flurry of barks, yipes, chuffs and snipes.

You know, it's funny. This entire year we have constantly said, "This is new to them," or, "They have to learn sometime," so maybe I should also employ this type of thinking. If Joe and I ever want to go away for the weekend and we find we must board them, this "alone time" might help ease that sort of transition.

Re: Worried/Nervous about leaving home ...

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:22 am
by Sarahloo
Marti, they are going to miss you a lot! Especially Max, YOUR boy! It will be so hard for him, that I am not going to sugarcoat for you!
If it had been any longer than eight days, I would have said, try to get out of it. My Newfoundland, Julie, refused her food when I was away. It didn't matter that she also liked my parents, without her mommy she simply would not eat. Her grief was pretty intense, and so, of course, I hardly ever went anywhere. But it is only a week, so nothing can happen to Max, even if he takes your being gone really, really hard, which he might. I know you wouldn't leave them if it wasn't really, really important and if your friend wasn't the kind of friend that would also rush to your aid if you needed it! That is very important, at least that's what I think.
The 11 hours aren't that much of a problem, though. They do have each other, after all. Maybe you can get your pee-pads out again, or whatever you had that made them actually go in the garage. Yes, everything that is of sentimental value to you or just plain valuable should be put out of their reach before Joe leaves them alone. Fossbear is right, it's a good thing it's going to be dark almost the entire time they are alone, so they will nap, I have no doubt.
About somebody who can let them out: that would have to be a person well-known to the boys and experienced at handling them. They are two handfuls after all, and I wouldn't want a (near) stranger to enter a house with two giant chow boys in it. God knows what might happen. If you had a great neighbour who was also dog-savy, and there was some time to train him/her (when are you leaving?), why not? But who has neighbours like that? They would have to be very brave, too. I just thought, is there maybe a niece or nephew that could stay over for a few days? You have a few of those, don't you? Maybe one of them is on a break from school or something and would be willing to help out? I mean, the boys still have Joe, so it's not like they are suddenly being completely abandoned. You are just all going to be so relieved once it's over and you're all back together again. You're not going out into the world to have fun, so you don't have to feel guilty, but even if your trip wasn't about getting somebody divorced, you still wouldn't be able to enjoy it knowing the boys are missing you and don't understand why or where you've gone. So I understand that you're dreading it, I'd dread it too if I were you.
Before I forget, from my experience dogs don't understand that it's you when you call them! Somehow, you sound different, I guess. And if they understood you, I think that would be even worse, because they would start looking for you, wouldn't they? Give them an old sweater of yours, that sort of thing. You have some time left to plan this, and I know you will come up with the best way of handling this unpleasant scenario!
They will not forget you, and I'm willing to give you that in writing!!!

I hope you don't mind me writing this post the way that I did! Since you're a friend, I thought I could, and so I did! I'm not just going to say, everything's going to be fine. I am going to say, however, that you're all going to survive this and that things are just going to go back to normal once you're back!

Edited after I saw your latest post: make sure their chewtoys are 100% safe. if they are alone with them for 11 hours. What is that rope-thingy?

Re: Worried/Nervous about leaving home ...

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:53 pm
by cherriemater
Oh Sarah! Your honesty is must appreciated. You know my relationship with the boys and you voice my very own fears about Maxim. I never thought about him going off his food, and I need to prepare Joe for this. Since we DO NOT give them bones or retail-prepared treats (Milk Bone, dog biscuits, etc.) I think if Max only eats treats he'll be okay. Right now their treats are scrambled eggs, cheese, milk from my cereal occasionally, or leftover chicken/beef and rice or noodles. Joe spoils them, too, with food from his plate so their habits are going to be terrible when I return! I can at least keep them at bay, somewhat, because I don't allow Leo to beg when we're eating together. While I'm gone ... the boys will TOTALLY have Joe wrapped around their little paws.

Not too worried about the pee issue because we have (fake) wood floors and that can be cleaned up quite easily. I also have a black light (from when I worked in Hotels) so I'll be able to find anything the Joe doesn't clean completely. I am worried about the wicker furniture so I think I'll get out the peanut butter jars again and protect the exposed feet from chewing. I have a tall laundry basket which we'll switch out so they can't steal socks quite as easily. I like the idea of a sweater. I have a couple sweatshirts that would be okay if they chewed. I'll wear them around the house for the next week so they get my smell on them. Then I'll put one on Leo's bed and one where Max usually lays.

These are the boys "bones."
boys bones.jpg
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The green is their Nylabone and the other ones is Hartz, I think. The packages said that the pieces that come off are safe to pass through their digestive system. They will chew on one or the other depending on who has which one. Leo generally grabs the greenie so I get Max the other so he has something on which to munch.

This is the Rope-a-dope.
boys ropeadope.jpg
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It's woven pretty tightly and it takes them quite a bit of chewing to get through it. I usually tie off or cut off any lose fringes, although I have seen some fringe from their previous go all the way through them.

Finally, these are their outdoor toys. Yes, you see sticks!
boys outdoor toys.jpg
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They rarely play with the balls, although sometimes we engage them with them. But they love their sticks and will chase each other with them. Yeah ... even that big one. Please keep in mind, these are OUTDOORS and they will not have access to them when they are alone.

Your words ARE comforting, Sarah, as well as practical. This is why I posted because I want to be sure to be as prepared as we can be. The bummer is, there really isn't anyone that we trust to enter the house without one of us here. Tony could do it, but school gets out at 3:30pm so the boys wouldn't have been alone long enough to warrant the aggravation. Our nieces and nephews are all pretty far away and in school so bringing them here for that time wouldn't be an option. Great thought, though!

It think you're right about the calling deal. As long as I say I'm "going to work" I should not interrupt that by a confusing phone call. So much more to think and plan!!

Re: Worried/Nervous about leaving home ...

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:45 pm
by Auddymay
They will be just fine. They will definitely miss you, but at their age I would not anticipate any destruction. They have each other, and if they have access to the yard, they will do their business out there. A lot of their 'mommy routine' is actually prompted by you...meaning you are the one who is An example is your interactions before Joe comes home. They know he is coming, and momma comforting allows them to show a bit of anxiety, and you kind of play off this behavior. When you are gone, they will still go through waiting behaviors, but it will not be at as high a level because you are not there...does that make any sense? On Joe's next shift, do an experiment and take yourself out of the equasion when it is time for him to come home. I would be curious to know what they any event, you have well mannered Chowdren, and this will be harder on you than it is on them!

Re: Worried/Nervous about leaving home ...

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 3:46 pm
by Auddymay
PS, I trim the nylabones when the ends get like yours because I'm forever picking fur out if I don't do that.

Re: Worried/Nervous about leaving home ...

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 4:09 pm
by cherriemater
Thank you Audrey! You're right and it makes perfect sense. I am very well trained! Monday night I'll do just what you ask. Leo usually wakes me up (I usually bed down by 11:0pm then get up to make Joe dinner around 1:45am) around midnight so I'll be tough and see what goes.

When you trim your Nylabones, what do you use? Scissors? Just trim off the "bits?

Re: Worried/Nervous about leaving home ...

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:32 pm
by chowpups
Marti don't worry they won't forget you, and they will give you lots of loving when you do walk thru the door.. I had to be away 2 months almost 3 ,and Nikki didn't forget me. She probably wanted to shoot me for leaving her with my darling hubby who was fine with getting home on time from work to let her out(usually hes a workaholic and doesn't get home till later ).. but still was a long day alone. I told hubby to play the radio ( I am a big country music fan so Nikki was too, out of no other choice) as much as normal for them.. if you listen to the TV alot leave it on a timer even.. or the radio. IF thats normal for your day. Also rotate toys so they don't get bored with their toys) Nikki was always happy to see me come home. She even came to the airport for pick up.. She was fine with hubby cause he always took care of her too. Iam sure Joe does that too so there will still be something familiar to them.. Plus they have each other Nikki was alone, and I was always with her during the day so I thought she would give me the cold shoulder when I came home but she was just the same wiggle butt as when I left. (I know you think they are going to miss you more.).LOL
The first time I had to leave Nikki at 6 months with a sitter and that was hard. I called her so many times she finally told me .. Nikki is having a blast now go and enjoy your stay with your daughter.. and she sent me photos of Nikki and her 3 dogs running and chasing a frizzbee and later sleeping together exhausted.. So much for missing Mom and Dad.. She also went to a border collie meet that weekend and showed those border collies . Chows can wiggle thru those funny poles.. I was so worried for nothing..

Re: Worried/Nervous about leaving home ...

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:46 pm
by cherriemater
>>happy sigh<< thank you ever so much!!! You're right. I will miss them more than they miss me. Toys switching ... another great suggestion. I'll let Joe know about that one, too.

Re: Worried/Nervous about leaving home ...

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2012 7:47 pm
by TyChowgirl
Oh don't worry Marti. Honestly, I was a little worried about when I boarded Ty for a week and a half this summer, especially with how shy he is with new people and how much he depends on me. He did just fine! I could tell he missed me because the loving I got when I picked him up was huge. I was concerned about the no eating thing, and he did fine. Honestly, I think being at home with Joe still present most of the time will take the concern off them. And if there's a neighbor kid they know and love, have them come over for the week before school and after to let them out and play with them and slip them a 20 when you get home. That's how I made my money as a kid and believe me my neighbors appreciated it knowing that the animals were with someone they knew and trusted enough. Just a thought.

Re: Worried/Nervous about leaving home ...

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 9:20 am
by Victory
They will be fine. However, I should warn you that you might get a pout when you leave. My MingToy always knew the difference between someone was leaving got a long period and for a short time, (like going to work everyday) He was originally my parents chow, and when I visited them and met him, we learned to like each other, (he let me brush him, take him for a long walk etc) and when I was getting ready to leave to come back to my home, he was mad at me and ignored me. Seven years later he remembered me though. And when I brought him to live with me, I went to a scfi convention and was going to leave him for a few days, he wouldn't even look at me. I said good-bye to his brother LiChi, who was just fine, but MingToy went into the backyard, and turned his back on me, he wouldn't even swivel his ears around to listen. He was happy when I came home, but he was a brat about my leaving. Just saying...Darkwind was a bit the same way. My two now....I'm not sure they'd notice, LOL.

Oh and I want to warn you about letting the boys play with sticks unsupervised. There have been several cases of dogs swallowing large parts of sticks, and also getting too large an amount of wood chips and splinters in their digestive track from chewing on them. It's okay when you or your husband is there to watch, but they shouldn't be left alone with sticks.

Re: Worried/Nervous about leaving home ...

Posted: Mon Nov 12, 2012 10:22 am
by cherriemater
Stephanie and Victory ... thank you so much. I can see that it is I who will suffer more than they boys. I am so grateful that Joe will be home with them. I got out my suitcase today to start packing and we'll see how that goes today. Perhaps the boys will then associate the suitcases with a departure.

Re: Worried/Nervous about leaving home ...

Posted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 4:18 pm
by cherriemater
Thanks to everyone for your care and concern. Max and Leo tolerated my departure very well and my husband ended up taking some extra time off so they were only, actually, alone for one of his 10-hour shifts. And, good boys that they are, they peed in the garage (as I suspected they would). Our trip was cut short by a day and a half, so they did not forget me and the extra time that Joe was able to spend with them helped Max to REALLY start talking! It's the most cutest thing ever! (I know ... poor choice in grammar ... sorry Mom!)

I was thoroughly attacked when I got home (mostly from the four other dogs who traveled with us ... so I changed clothes right away) and they stayed plastered to me the rest of the night. The next day was business as usual. Neither Max nor Leo went off their food but MAN! I didn't notice how fluffy they were until I got home!! This must be the winter undercoat coming on. Bill, Daisy, CoCo and Buster are all short-hairs so that could be part of the comparison, as well.

As I thought, I missed the boys MUCH more than they missed me and I hope that I will never have to be away from them for so long. Best part about the trip is that by us actually being IN PERSON at my friends divorce mediation, she was able to secure her house and the monies she invested from a previous inheritance. It was also good for me to be there for her to talk through her pain on the way there/home.

Thanks again, my chow chow friends!

Re: Worried/Nervous about leaving home ...

Posted: Sun Nov 25, 2012 12:38 am
by wokman
A Happy ending :!: \:D/ =D=
And to all a Good night :D