Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The cost of a holiday

Sure, we had fun on our recent trip to New Orleans, but Frankie and Petunia didn't enjoy the experience too much.

Petunia, for whom the phrase scaredy-cat was invented, spent the entire week hiding in the house. Both neighbourhood families who came in to check on things spent a lot of time scouring the house for her, but no way was she coming out. It's a good thing food was disappearing from her bowl with extreme regularity (there's nothing wrong with Petunia in the appetite department) or our good neighbours might have thought Petunia was a figment of our imagination.

Don't feel too bad for her, though. She got her own when we came back. I think we opened the door for her "let-me-in, no, let-me-out" dance about 57 times within our first hour home.

And Frankie. Poor Frankie. Poor sensitive, dear, sweet Frankie. You can feel sorry for him. We knew our going away was going to be rough on him, so we did our very best to find a good place for him to be. Friends are pretty much out of the question, since Frankie can't be left at home alone. We have good friends, but that's a lot to ask. And we didn't want to leave him in a cage in a kennel on a cold cement floor.

So we called around, and talked to a lot of people, and finally decided on a local kennel run by a couple who were willing to bring him into their home with a few other senior and special needs dogs, rather than have him with the general doggy population. We brought Frankie for a visit, checked them out, and decided it was the best of our choices.

He was safe, and well cared for, but really stressed. How do we know? When we picked him up he had his stressed out Cujo buggy dog eyes, and had licked one of his front paws raw. We know those symptoms well, from the days when we were first confronted with his separation anxiety.

It breaks our hearts. If only there was some way to be sure our pets know we will be coming home.

Now, after a few days of his regular routine, Frankie's eyes are his own again, and we have our sweet boy back. But his healing paw is driving him nuts, and he won't leave it alone. We tried a sock, we tried a velcro-fastened bootie. But Frankie is a dog who made a hobby of escaping from crates and closed rooms. Do you think a bootie would stand in his way?

So today we resorted to The Cone. Frankie is being a good sport about it, but he's having a hard time adjusting to his changed dimensions. Kim had to carry him up the stairs because when he looked down as he tried to climb up the cone would catch on the edge of the treads. Our champion athlete who could catch any ball thrown keeps bumping into walls and cupboards. And he keeps looking at us with those beautiful sweet eyes, and we know he's thinking "It's bad enough you left me, now you have to subject me to this indignity?"

That's the cost of our holiday: psychological trauma inflicted on our beloved pets.

It's making us think twice - no, forty-seven times - about our next holiday.


jeanives said...

And if you do go anywhere you won't enjoy yourself because you will be so worried. That's why we decided on a wooden parrot for a pet. Sigh.

Stephanie said...

I have a really good cat sitter where I live and the cats are great when we come home. I wondered if in the future when you go away again, find yourself a house sitter that loves cats and dogs and have your pets to get to know during a couple of visits the person that will look after them.

Miriam said...

Oh Stephanie, I wish we could! It's a little complicated because we live in the country, and because Frankie would have to go with the house sitter everywhere.... I'm glad you've got a good sitter - they're worth their weight in gold!

Shim Farm said...

So now you know the real reason we haven't left our pets in over 6 years LOL. I feel so bad for Frankie, but the worst is behind him! Petunia's happy-dance had me laughing...now imagine if you had 3 indoor/outdoor cats?? And one high-maintenance indoor cat? You'd never leave overnight, ever again...

Paula said...

Why is it dogs are so good at the big sad eyes?

do they practice in the mirror when you're not at home?

do they ask the cat "how's this?" as they affect a sad face?

do they give each other the big sad eyes and does it work on another dog?

why does it work so well with humans?

I've been asking myself this for years, and I really want to know.

your Frankie boy really has it down pat, though.

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Oh, I'm so sorry about Frankie! I hope he's continuing to feel better and that foot is too! By the way, have you heard of 'comfy cones?' They are padded and a bit more flexible making them easy to wear.

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