In May we adopted Taxi from the Washington Animal Rescue League, where she’d languished for three months after her previous owner returned her (1).
Usually she is a very happy dog. She loves to run at the now-closed Clark School and she even loves Dog Beach, but she hates to be alone. When we leave the house she goes into fits of separation anxiety that are heart-wrenching. Just watch her freak out when I left for a mid-day meeting:
Seeing that 15 minutes of emotional pain, I never want to cage her, but we must. Left out she’ll tear up the house and leave us “gifts”. So we cage her and have tired everything to calm her and have the cage be positive, without success.
She’s happy to be fed and get treats in the cage, and she’ll even sleep in it every so often, with the door open. We’ve tried to leave for short periods of time to desensitize, and keep the return excitement to a minimum. Yet still she cries and thrashes about the cage for 10-15 minutes when we leave.
As you can see, she also tears up any bedding in the cage in fits of frustration that we’ve left without her. She’s also damaging her teeth with her violent biting of the cage and water bottle.
So before I have even more guilt in leaving her alone, can you help? What might relax Taxi Dog and calm her when we leave? How can we cure her separation anxiety? Is there a DC dog whisperer that can help?
(1) The Washington Animal Rescue League has a return policy I’ve never seen before. They welcome back any adopted pet, no questions asked, which I think is great. They also claim that you have the follow the adoption contract you sign when you get your pet or they can take it back, which is great in theory, but would be crazy-hard to enforce in reality.