Monday, December 27, 2010

Scaredy Dog

Saturday, the roommates and I went to a Christmas party at a friend's house. They came home afterwards and I stayed over. I returned home the next day, a little after lunch time.

As I was unloading the car, Skeletor darted out the garage door and across the street. I chased him until he had to stop and take a pee. (that's usually how I'm able to catch him)

I dragged the bad doggie back home, trying not to cause him to throw up (which leading him by the collar usually does)

After I finished unloading the car, the roommates told me that he had been acting weird. Reminiscent of the old days, he was acting very scared of the living room. They told me that when they let him into the back yard, he would just stay there too afraid to come back in. Despite the fact that he was shivering in the cold, he was too petrified to enter the house.

Apparently they dragged him in forcefully so he didn't freeze. Skeletor ran into James' room to hide out and seemed interested in the window. James opened his blinds and Skeletor tried to jump out the closed window, knocking over his dvd case.

I let the terrified Skeletor into my bedroom (which seldom happens) and sat with him on the bed. He seemed to be feeling better immediately.

He had some dry food in his bowl that he was apparently not eating. I went into the kitchen and made him a big bowl of wet and dry food mixed together. I called him and called him... he wouldn't leave my bedroom. I tried biscuits, treats, raw hyde, you name it. Skelly wouldn't budge.

I was worried that his sheepishness may mean that he was getting sick again. He had been doing so well lately! A relapse at this point (about a week before he is supposed to begin heartworm treatment injections) would be terrible!

I went and got the food tray and set it down in my bathroom. Skeletor devoured the food like he had not eaten in a week. I left him to finish his food and came back a while later to check on him. The food dish was completely clean!

When he's sick, he normally loses his appetite. Hmmm...

I figured that he may need to use the restroom after that big meal, so I tried to get him to follow me to the back door. No such luck. I went and got the raw hide and biscuits... he did not want to leave my bedroom. Eventually I was able to get him to follow me down the hall, into the living room, and out the back door. I closed all the bedroom doors so he had nowhere to go and be reclusive.

Normally Skelly uses the bathroom and is ready to come back inside after 10 seconds. Ten minutes had passed and there was no sign of him. I looked outside and he was just laying there in the cold grass. I called him and told him to come inside. He walked up to the door, but wouldn't come inside.

I didn't want to force him inside, which wouldn't do much for his nervous state... so I coaxed him inside with a biscuit. Finally, once inside I sat down with him in the living room. His whole body was shivering! I moved his bed in front of the fireplace and covered him with a blanket while I made a fire.

I sat there petting him and waited for the shivers to stop. He was finally beginning to settle down. After a while, I moved over to the couch and Skelly followed. A while later, he was snoring.

When it was time for bed, Skelly walked into his cage like normal and went to sleep. He seemed to be ok again.

This morning, he has been his normal chipper self. He ate all his breakfast without my having to add anything fancy. I let him out to use the bathroom. He was running around the yard having a great time. He took a leak and then wanted to come back inside. I opened the door and he rushed in without hesitation. He's now chomping happily on the floor next to my chair enjoying the leftover raw hyde from last night.

It seems like everything's fine. I was worried about the little punk! Skeletor's sunny disposition, smarts, and vigor make it easy to forget what he's been through. Underneath his healthy, happy puppy exterior lurk the memories of being a starved, neglected, and very sick little doggie.

Being unable to fully understand what goes on in his head, I would imagine that it doesn't take much to jar those awful memories.

Hang in there, Skelly!


  1. Apparently he has seperation anxiety. You being gone caused him to freak out. You are his security. Babies have the same condition when their mama's leave them.(NOOO Mommy ! No!!!!) Normal healthy dogs can get it poor Skelly probably has a bad case. Better not leave him :)

    Love Mom

  2. It sounds like you have the right complex as his behavior might be! The first things that came to mind for me were that he has separation anxiety from you, and that he has definately been through so much, so even if he is happy go lucky most of the time, it isnt surprising that he has "extinction bursts" of that fearful behavior. Poor guy :( Also, i think i was good that you didnt try to force him to do anything. After a dog has been through an ordeal like his, positive reinforcement is the only way to go as to not further traumatize him!
    I just recently started reading your blog...have you decided to keep Skeletor instead of fostering him?

  3. Well, I'm glad he seems to be back to normal. What's the longest he's been separated from you before?

  4. Awww poor Skelly!! He missed you guys and gals!! But it's great that he's now feeling very secure and safe!!! Big hugs to Skelly - he's just happy and reassured you're there! Yay! Take care

  5. I completly understand this. My youngest kitten is 8 months old. He follows me around or sits where he can see me and if I should vanish from the room he thought I was in he will scream and I do me scream at the top of his little lungs until I talk to him or get him. He has never been with out me and if Im gone he cries, wont eat and will hide until I return.
    Just give him lots of love and hugs and snuggles and dont leave him for too long.

  6. Oh poor Skelly! Something obviously freaked him out, but he seems to have gotten past it which is good. Our cat Lola had a couple times where some small thing would freak her out (she was always jumpy and easily startled when she was young) and she would avoid rooms for days because of it - not a clue why. It kind of sounds like that is what went on with Skelly - hopefully it was just a one time thing and doesn't happen again. And lucky for him he has you if he does get freaked again!

  7. You are his pack leader. He doesn't know what do do when you're not around, so he regresses to his old self. Maybe crating him when you're gone overnight would help, (not the whole time, but maybe the roomies can do it just at bed time so he feels safe) then the roomies can just resume the normal routine. Glad he bounced back with some food and loving :-)

  8. Reading this made me so sad! I agree with everyone above that it was separation anxiety. Glad he's back to normal now.

  9. Yep, what everyone else says.... separation anxiety. You work from home, don't you? Skelly isn't used to you being gone. The poor guy was just sad and confused and missing his dad!!

    PS - Skelly's painting is being showcased in my current blog!!


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