Velcro Dog

So I’ve been away on a much-needed holiday vacation with my family which meant that Sam needed to go back to the boarding kennel (remember the last time I was out of town-see this for all the embarrassing details). I was worried that another German Shepherd might be there and look crosswise at Sam and Sam would again be a bully but I was pleasantly and happily informed there were no ‘time outs’ for Sam (yay!). There were however, assorted ‘mountings’ (oy) but I guess you can’t win them all, right? Oh, the things that dog does to embarrass me.

Exhibit A
Exhibit A

And while I had the most amazing time on the beach and sipping aged tequila, Sam has yet to leave my side since I came home. Whenever I try to do any blog work or catch up on the laptop, he straddles my lap and looks longingly up into my eyes with a please don’t leave me.”  I cannot sit down for a second without ‘Exhibit A’ jumping straight onto the middle of my lap which can be kind of inconvenient if you have to get up frequently to do anything and if I do get up, he follows me as if joined to my hip. When he’s on the furniture, he will at least lay next to me most of the time, but these days the little buddy has become ‘Velcro Dog’ and is quite stuck to me, literally and figuratively.

In order to get Velcro puppy back into the swing of his normal routine and off my lap we I eagerly signed us up for the first weekend possible to visit patients upon my return figuring it would be an easier transition for him. But yesterday I could tell he was a little off his game. Instead of his usual happy go-lucky “Hi, I’m here to cheer you up,” MO he was somewhat listless and decidedly distracted. Once in a while, all dogs will have an off day at the hospital but this was different. He wouldn’t couldn’t keep his eyes off me and never once looked for any extended period of time into patients or visitors eyes. Even with one of his favorite nurses at hospice he leaned against her but kept his eyes focused totally on me.  He laid down twice at the foot of a couple of patients beds like he was bored to tears. Poor baby, I felt so bad since I couldn’t do anything to help him out but pet him frequently to gently reassure him through touch and try to carry on conversations with patients. For this inveterate introvert, that ain’t easy.

We had several requests for visits in addition to the floor we were assigned which was full with patients. That meant it would be a long day and poor Sam struggled throughout. We came home and Sam took a very long nap and slogged through our evening walk, continually checking in with eye contact rather than the usual sniff fest with nary a second glance my way.

Today he was a tad better; there seemed to be a bunch of kids at the hospital and that always seems to brighten this simply minded pup’s disposition. Still he kept focused on me. One woman who had requested a visit both yesterday and today remarked how “in-tune” he was to me. I didn’t have the heart to tell her I think he’s suffering from abandonment issues from my absence.

Do I feel guilty about leaving him at the kennel in order to ‘pawty’ in Mexico with family? Sure, a little. But when you see a beautiful early morning beach like this, tell me that it wasn’t worth it. Go ahead, I dare you. 🙂

Mazatlan, Easter
Mazatlan, Easter Sunday

Does your pup get out of sorts when you’re gone for extended periods of time? How do you handle it?

Live, Love, Bark! <3