It turns out Snickerdoodle has trouble being alone.
The first night in our home, he cleverly broke his way out of his wire dog crate. When we entered his room to greet him in the morning, the crate was totally intact and standing in the center of the room — about six feet away from the corner where we had left it and him. And the Dude was peacefully sleeping on the sofa, not a furrowed brow on him. He yawned, stretched, crossing his paws across each other, and looked at us with those big amber eyes as though to say “Good morning, friends!”
We secured his crate with zip ties to prevent further escapes, but the poor little guy couldn’t resist the urge to continue his Houdini ways, through various creative means. In two more days our crate waved its white flag and surrendered. Seeing how much stress and anxiety confinement was causing him, we thought we’d try leaving him uncrated in a room. After all, he had slept the whole rest of the first night on the sofa without so much as ruffling a feather in the sofa pillows.
For several days, Dude slept happily on our bed while we came and went, never causing more damage than an innocent little puddle of drool from his happy, heavy slumber.
And then just as we were feeling quite confident in his easygoing nature, he reminded us why we don’t give foster dogs too much freedom too quickly. Foster mom left for the gym one evening, and foster dad came home an hour and a half later to a wide-eyed Dude sitting on the bed with a mound of sawdust on the pillows and a shredded wood headboard.
Such are the trials of dog fostering, we told ourselves. We’re amazed that we’ve churned through eight foster dogs with no damage of any kind. It just figures that the first sign of destruction would come from one of our most gentle, docile, sweet fosters of all. Right now we’re feeling luckier than ever that he and the Chick get along so well — a dog with serious separation anxiety would be much harder to work with if he and our own picky, grumpy Chick had to be separated at all times.
A more food-motivated dog might be entertained by a challenging puzzle that keeps him busy long enough to forget about the trauma of being left behind — but not our Doodlebug. Snickerdoodle barely eats, and although he is getting better, he is not nearly interested enough in snacks to be distracted from our goings and comings.
We’re off to the pharmacy to pick up some anxiety meds, and will be trying a slow introduction to a different crate. It could be a long journey ahead for Snickerdoodle, but we’re up to the challenge — we love the little dude, and we’ll work with him for as long as it takes.