I need some help with poor Gretchen

maryo_nh(z5 SouthernNH)March 29, 2006

She is really having a hard time with her sister gone. Saturday I was judging at a competition, and friends came to take her for a walk in the middle of the day, but when I came home she had gotten the door off her cage. I put the parts aside and set up the other cage (Sasha's). Washed the blankies etc.

Then yesterday I was away for about 7 hours (not unusual for a work day) and she got the door of the other cage almost off.

I had taken her for a long walk before leaving.

So, I have to go to Rochester for the weekend and I have her dogsitting all set up so she isn't alone much, but it still requires both cages, one here and one at her "foster family". So just now I was in the basement rigging up the loose door with those metal clips, and she was at the top of the stairs, crying. You know, the whiny crying in her throat. I never heard her do that before. It breaks my heart.

Any ideas - other than getting a new dog?

:( Mary

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Get a cat????

How about a kong. Fill it with treats and peanut butter then freeze it. Give it to her when you leave. It'll take her a few hours to get all the goodies out of it.

My dog has his blankie... Would she like a teddy bear or something like that?


    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 10:10AM
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Awww, Mary, how heart-breaking for you (and her)!

My parents had a hard time with Sadie (a coyote-mix) after Inge died. For a few months after, when the wind would blow, Sadie would start howling, which, surprisingly enough, she never did before.

We ended up getting another dog, and she became like a momma to Tana, so that seemed to keep her happy. Unfortunately, I can't think of anything else that might help in your situation. :(


    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 11:29AM
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zinniachick(southwest Ohio)

Omie developed most of her neuroses after Rounder died. Then we got Rye and she latched onto him and has not left his side since.

Some dogs -- the non-alphas -- just aren't meant to be alone. And it's worse that they can't come to a philosophical acceptance of it -- the heartbreak and worry just lasts and lasts.

I really feel for you. Nothing hits like the sorrow of a loved one.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 12:01PM
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maryo_nh(z5 SouthernNH)

We have two kongs - I'll do that with the pb and the freezer, one for the morning and one for the evening. Funny, I looked at the stuffed bunnies at Walmart the other day - there are lots available right now! Do you think that will help? Either she'll snuggle or she'll have a ball shredding it... heehee. Reminds me of the time I came home to a basement full of fluff and Gretchen grinning in her cage sans dog pillow filling...

I'm waiting for the vet to call back. I'm thinking tranq's at least for this weekend.

There is a very nice doggie daycare/boarding facility nearby. Maybe I'll just bring her there for the weekend? WITH the tranqs. And the kongs. And the bunny.

And yes, she was the non-alpha-est puppy of the litter - how did you know? And always gave Sasha the right of way. At least indoors.

Thanks girls! More ideas welcome.

:) Mary

    Bookmark   March 30, 2006 at 1:33PM
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Another thing about dogs that I've noticed (and probably other pets, as well) is that if they've always known another dog companion and never been the lone dog in the household, they have a harder time when they lose their companion.

I guess the same applies to those who've always been the sole dog, and then a new dog is introduced. Sometimes, not a fun thing.

I think the doggy facility sounds like a good place for the weekend, Mary! At least she won't be alone, and maybe you can even send along one of those Eeeether bunnies with her, too. :)

You're such a good mommy, and I know everything will work out just the way it should!


    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 9:58AM
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Well if she doesn't eat the stuffed bunnies and they are cheap enough, fluff away!!! At least she'll be happy for a little while.

    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 10:31AM
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pondmaninfl(z9 FL)

Every now and then, I buy Frances a little stuffed animal from the pet section at Wal-Mart. The last one that I bought her was pretty tough. I thought that I had found an indestructable toy for her. RIPPP!!!!! Nope. She had it gutted in five minutes. Including the squeaky part.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2006 at 9:00PM
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jeffahayes(8a Upstate SC)

As far as tranquilizers go, Mary, my vet said good old Benadryl (or generic diphenhydramine), at a dosage of roughly 1 mg. per pound of dog weight is a good, safe, OTC tranquilizer that has roughly the same sedative effect on dogs it does on most humans (we used to use it with Gizzmo during thunderstorms, as she literally FREAKED when it thundered).

I really feel for both you and Gretchen. What about squeaky toys? Do they provide her any relief? Tater LOVES his squeaky, which is 92 cents at Wal-Mart (this particular one takes a while to destroy and squeaks almost anywhere you push or bite it... looks like a little yellow/orange monster). He's on his second one, and it just developed its first tear... He kept playing with the first one until it was just tattered remains, and a housekeeper we had cleaning the house threw it out, accidentally (we were letting him keep on using it as long as he wanted, while he had a new one that would squeak, as well, which he was largely ignoring as long as the old one was around)... Now that the "new one" has developed a little tear (but still squeaks for now), it won't be too long before his next one comes out and he once again has two (he has no idea we have about 10 of them stockpiled around the house (bought a bunch in case Wal-Mart quit carrying them, as he took to that toy like white to rice!)

His two favorite things are playing with Mr. Squeaky (either squeaking him or getting us to throw him and retrieve), and jumping up on the day bed to bark at all the crazy people and animals on America's Funniest Videos (I'm working on getting just the RIGHT video of him doing that to send to them, so maybe we'll get HIM on AFV, watching/participating with AFV... He'll actually FOLLOW animals on the screen around, "chasing them," if you can imagine that, lol.

But back to your woes... it's difficult to say if time will heal this for Gretchen, or not... I think fluffies, stuffies and squeakies are better than nothing -- and anything tasty she can chew on that will keep her attention diverted from her missing sister is bound to help, I agree... Can't advise you on getting another dog, as I know that's your personal decision... I DO KNOW if it was solely up to me, Tater Tot would have a full-time companion with whom to play (except at this point he may just be jealous of lost attention, lol).

Good luck with Gretchen.

My heart's with you,

    Bookmark   April 1, 2006 at 3:16PM
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maryo_nh(z5 SouthernNH)

Well, here's how it went.
My own vet is out until Wednesday. The other vet said to give Gretchen Benadryl, 50 mg, three times per day. Like you said, Jeff - and I think the idea is if she's sleeping she's not suffering anxiety? Because I think this will make her sleep 24/7. Which is not what I'm after!

Thursday afternoon, it turned out two families wanted to take care of Gretchen for the weekend, and they ended up taking turns. She was having a good time all right, with all the attention, the walks, the teenagers playing frisbee with her, etc. But both families said she does look depressed.
The only time she was alone was, for three or four hours, in the house of one of the families, the one where she has stayed (WITH Sasha) many times before. A house painter across the street said she barked the entire time. She pushed the metal bars around the cage door out some more and worked the tray out. The blankie is in shreds.
At the other family she THOUGHT she was alone for a moment, when people were in the basement and in the bathroom or something, and she started barking all panicky.

Now we're home and she's asleep on the sofa. And I'm thinking about tomorrow - I have to go to work and I'll be away for about 7 hours. I have the kongs in the freezer, filled with pb. I'll give her two Benadryls a half hour before I leave, that will keep her sleepy just until I get back. She'll have the stuffed toys - the $12 bunny and the $10 doggie - I slept with them, so they should have enough scent.
Should I come home at lunch time?

The plan:
-> I'm going to make an appointment with her "own" vet on wednesday, when he gets back. I have amitriptylene around, from Sasha to help her travel better. Maybe that will help Gretchen with being alone. But I don't know how that works with her thyroid meds.
-> Once a week to the doggie daycare. So that when I go visit my dad in Holland she can be boarded in a place she knows and likes - where she can't break the kennel...
-> If she doesn't get better, maybe a kitty?


: Mary

    Bookmark   April 2, 2006 at 6:52PM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Many people won't believe it but animals do mourn the loss of a family member. The time for them to feel better varies just as it would with humans.

Our Connie (Lab x Setter) sat near her friend Benny's (Sheltie x)grave every day for almost 3 months. She'd come inside and need to go back out within minutes and stand vigil. :-(

What you're doing sound good. Ideally it would be best to do this adjustment drug free or keep it to a minimum length of time. Coming home would be great. Helps her to not feel so alone. Leaving a TV or radio on so she can hear people talk is good too.

You might consider leaving the home for a few minutes and then come back and greet her warmly that she was a good girl and did not destroy anything. Over the next few days or weeks you would increase the time span away from home allowing her to recognize that you

    Bookmark   April 2, 2006 at 10:44PM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Arrrghhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! The message got cut off!!!!

Let's try again......

You might consider leaving the home for a few minutes and then come back and greet her warmly that she was a good girl and did not destroy anything. Over the next few days or weeks you would increase the time span away from home allowing her to recognize that you will be back and she can be a big girl and do it alone! :-)

You might consider using MELATONIN 3 mg. once a day. It is used for certain types of sleep disorders as well as helping visually impaired people stay within a normal 24 hr. day/night cycle.

It seems to not cause drowsiness in dogs. They aren't gorked from it. It just *mellows* them out. We used it for Heidy prior to thunderstorms. She used to vomit from fear of the storms. We'd give her one melatonin in the morning if there were T-Storms predicted for later in the day. Amazing. Heidy didn't care that a storm was upon us. It was also very helpful during the 4th of July celebrations.

As with everything there are precautions. DO NOT use melatonin if Gretchen has: liver or kidney disease, epilepsy or diabetes. If Gretchen can still have puppies best not to use it if she's pregnant of nursing puppies.

And as always, don't take the word of anyone, including me, over the Internet concerning the safety of your pets. Consult YOUR vet. to see if this product or others would be considered safe for Gretchen.

Hmmmm. As I'm writing this I recall there is a pheromone spray for dogs with separation anxiety and other issues. Kinda works like Feliway for cats. I can't think of the name..... Hmmmm. I'll find out what it is at work tomorrow.

Hope this helps. Please give Gretchen a hug from me.

OK. Give yourself one from me too.

C3D :-)

    Bookmark   April 2, 2006 at 10:59PM
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jeffahayes(8a Upstate SC)

Mary, it's my understanding that if you get the dosage of diphenhydramine right, it won't make her sleep all the time, just make her drowsy enough, or "laid-back" enough that she'll be more "mellow." I have no experience with Melatonin, but that certainly sounds like an even better option if there aren't the contraindications for it, as mentioned above, and of course making sure you discuss any meds you use with your vet, as well, I very much agree.

Diphenhydramine appears to be pretty benign. I take LARGE doses of it for my sinuses, to keep them clear at night with my CPAP, and was concerned about taking it every night (and sometimes during the day -- like during allergy season), on a continual basis, so when I saw my pulmonologist last week I asked him... He said as long as I don't have problems with being drowsy from it in the daytime, it doesn't hurt my body... Kind of surprised me a little, as I've been of the opinion that taking regular, large doses of any medicine may have longterm impacts, but maybe not.

I don't recall if you said if you let Gretchen see Sasha after you found her, or let her see her being buried... I know that sounds kind of morbid, but I think that sort of thing may help give the dog closure... I know after my brother died, he was never back at the house again, but Gizzmo was HIS dog. He brought her home... His bedroom was downstairs (where I am now, actually), and she was scared of the stairs, but when my mom was in here looking for papers, she braved the stairs and came down... and I took her around and let her sniff everything and kept telling her he was gone and wasn't coming back, trying to explain it to her as best I could... and she seemed to understand...

I guess my concern is not just that Gretchen is grieving, but I'm actually wondering if she knows what happened, or if she thinks Sasha just "disappeared." If she's grieving the loss of her sister, I think she can come to terms with it and you can help her through the process. But if she doesn't actually realize Sasha's dead, just that she "went away," that may actually be much more difficult for her.

So if you didn't find a way to give her a sense of finality at the time, if there's some way you can now (maybe by letting her sniff where Sasha's buried, or something), perhaps that will help... And if none of that's possible, I hope I haven't made you feel worse, because I KNOW how much you love Gretchen and how much you loved and miss Sasha.

Give Gretchen a big hug and a kiss on the head for me, please, and tell her everything's going to be OK.

Your friend,

    Bookmark   April 4, 2006 at 1:53AM
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maryo_nh(z5 SouthernNH)

Thanks C3! I'll hook up a radio (the tv is on the frizz), work on the training, and ask my vet Wednesday about the other things. And, Jeff, I'll check about the Benadryl as well. As far as I know it sometimes causes hyperactivity, and that would not be a good thing :)
Best Friends sells a product with Valerian root in it, I'll ask about that too.

Jeff, after Sasha disappeared on Thursday night, Gretchen and I went looking for her on Friday morning. Gretchen saw her first. And everyday for over a week she kept going to the exact spot to sniff. She just passes by it now. She did the same with the back of the car, where I put Sasha when I brought her to the vet. Gretchen came along. We didn't wash the bedding etc. for about two weeks, but, well, I wash that every other week anyway. So the scent is disappearing.
She does still often stand on the driveway with drooping head and tail and looks to where Sasha went. And sniffs the air.

It's just going to take time. If it takes some meds for a while, that's OK with me, and we'll keep it to a minimum.

DH worked from home yesterday. He's such a sweetie! I'm home today, he's taken Wednesday off, I don't work on Thursdays - but sooner or later she'll have to be alone. I would just like to get her over the "threshold" of the anxiety.

: Mary

    Bookmark   April 4, 2006 at 6:54AM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

This one might be a long one Mary. :-) Get yourself comfy.

Ready? Then let's begin....

The cardinal rule for all therapeutic approaches to the separation anxiety problem is the dog must not be left alone at any time except during the short owner absences required in the behaviour therapy procedures. Leaving the dog alone for a longer period is likely to cause a major set back which will require returning to very short absences and slowly increase the absence time all over again. You may need to start by just having Gretchen alone in the room next to you.

The duration of the absences is strictly controlled so the dog is left alone for lengths of time which the dog can tolerate without becoming destructive. During this absence time the dog is trained to do an acceptable behaviour like sitting or lying quietly on a blanket or chewing a toy.

If she is barking or destructive during training while alone do not enter the room where she is until she is quiet for at least 2-3 minutes. To be avoided at all costs is returning while she is barking or howling or shortly thereafter as this is a powerful reinforcement for her to howl and bark.

Never reward begging, barking, howling or other pushy behaviours. Ignoring her when she approaches demanding attention will reinforce that she is not the one in charge, YOU ARE.

**Obtaining a second dog generally does not solve the problem but it ~may help~ with dogs who have a history of being bonded very closely to another dog and the problem began after the death of another dog.**

**O'Farrell(1992) Manual of Canine Behaviour. British Small Animal Veterinary Association

The pheromone product I mentioned earlier is a COMFORT ZONE product. Here's a link for the product. It has been helpful for many dogs and their families.

Hope at least some of this helps.

Hello????? You still awake??????

C3D :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Comfort Zone Product Description

    Bookmark   April 5, 2006 at 5:17PM
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jeffahayes(8a Upstate SC)

That wasn't so long (but good info -- reads just like what I read in a book I got for dog problems, so I could fend any off before they BECAME problems)... But then mine was by a British author, as well, although I don't have it handy now, so I can't say if it was the same one.

Your concern about diphenhydramine causing hyperactivity IS a valid one, Mary, as while it DOES cause drowsiness in MOST patients, it can have the adverse affect with some people and animals, and you never know who until you try it with one... Of course one dose and you'll know whether it makes Gretchen drowsy or hyper... You may want to err on the light side that first dose, just in case, but not TOO light, or else you might not see enough effect either way to tell.

And Mary, your telling of how you and Gretchen found Sasha is SO sad, but it DOES answer my questions for me, and so she DOES know Sasha's dead, and didn't just go away or get sent away... Still doesn't make it any easier, though.

It really AMAZES me sometimes when some people try to rationalize the way they treat animals by saying animals don't have any feelings, or feel pain, and so forth... Not only do they have feelings, and feel pain, they even grieve like we do.

Give Gretchen another big hug for me, please,

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 3:47AM
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maryo_nh(z5 SouthernNH)

Thanks C3, no, that wasn't too long. I'm printing out this thread, I'll take it to the vet in a few minutes. *I love the guy. He's booked solid for the rest of the week - he was away for a long weekend and his appointments bundled up in the rest of the week - but he said to come in with her anytime today, he'll just see us in between the appointments.*

It sounds like I'm going to give up my job for a while? Not that that's impossible. I have the financially desirable option in life at the moment to be a substitute teacher when I want to, and to hang out with the DD and grandchildren at least a few days per week. Gretchen can come along to their house. And - hmm - lucky coincidence? - I'm having trigger finger surgery Tuesday, good excuse to not work for a bit...
Btw, I'm such! a! good! substitute! teacher! HA! Make! my! day! young! man!!, no problems with the students. I love subbing. Really. It is THE life, as far as I'm concerned.

Gretch is getting her shots boostered today, so we can try doggie daycare tomorrow. Maybe I'll stay - not leave - to see how that goes. So I'll be there if and immediately when she gets stressed out. I'll bring a book or something.

:) Mary

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 9:10AM
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maryo_nh(z5 SouthernNH)

Update after the vet visit. But first: Jeff, hug accomplished - I also gave her a kiss on your behalf, I know that's OK with you.

Gretchen got officially diagnosed with moderate depression and separation anxiety, more than usual after the loss of a fellow pet, but apparently it could be worse. We got the pheromone diffuser (Pricey! But I'll try to get refills online). Also an anti-anxiety medication for the first few weeks to three months, then we'll phase it out, by the name of Clomicalm. It's an SRI (but not Prozac). Then a full review of how to re-train to the cage, much like you said, Chicka3dee. Valium (5 to 10mg) for if/when we need to leave her alone before the retraining is done. The radio: talkshows, but not the shouting kind, and easy listening are best, then classical. Classic rock is not helpful... I guess Gretchen will be a Public Radio girl...

She was all set on vaccines, and tomorrow we're going to try out the doggie daycare place. I'll stay to see if she likes it.

Sofar I'm successfully ignoring all effects on the budget!

:) Mary

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 4:33PM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Awwww Mary.

I'm glad I could help out a little. Clomicalm causes some dogs to just look and act down right GORKED. If that happens its temporary. Sorry for tossing out the heavy duty technical medical terminology around but we are all adults here. :-)

Good that Gretchen (and you) are going to get through this OK!

Best wishes on your finger surgery as well.

Kindest regards,

Chick with 3Ds

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 5:29PM
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jeffahayes(8a Upstate SC)

Oh NO! NOT the TRIGGER FINGER!!! However will you deal with the unruly kids if you can't SHOOT THEM any more??? :)

Seriously, I hope that goes well, and it sounds like they got Gretchen medded up pretty well... She should be in DREAMLAND much of the time with all those meds.

I hope it works... and NO, I didn't mind the kiss, at all (if you remember, the last time I included a kiss on the head with the hug request -- that's where I always kiss Mr. Tot -- he licks me on the tip of the nose when I ask him to "give me sugar" and then I kiss him on top of the head, lol).

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 5:37PM
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semper_fi(Z7 GA)

I realize you said "other than getting a new dog" but WHEN you are ready:

Pups available for adoption in/near NH

I especially like Max. Call me prejudice!

    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 8:54PM
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chickadeedeedee(z 6-7 ish Ohio)

Max looks so *very sweet* ! :-)

What a shame his people went to the expense of getting his leg pinned but didn't bother to follow up the way they should. I'm sure that doesn't slow him down at all.


    Bookmark   April 6, 2006 at 9:26PM
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jeffahayes(8a Upstate SC)

Mary, I'm thinking if you DO get a new dog, you might want to go with either a puppy of a similar breed, or a puppy or young adult of a smaller breed, perhaps giving Gretchen a smaller dog with which she can both bond, be ALPHA dog to, and sort of "mother," be protective of...

My gut feeling is that in such a situation, she would feel "needed" and that feeling might help her get over her loss as much as anything... I know that sort of thing often works with humans, so I'm just guessing it might work with a dog, as well, but not being an expert on this subject, it's just a thought, something you may want to mull over and discuss with your vet or other folks more experienced in this area.

Best wishes with Gretchen's continued recovery... I've NOT been reading almost any forums lately, but I try to come here at least a couple times a week to see how you're doing with Gretchen because this really touched me and I want to help, if I can.

Best wishes,

    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 3:22AM
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Mary, how did it go?? We've been thinking about you & Gretchen, too.


    Bookmark   April 11, 2006 at 11:09AM
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jeffahayes(8a Upstate SC)

Yes, Mary. If I could adequately explain Gretchen's situation to Tater Tot, I think he'd be anxiously awaiting news on Gretchen, too (he's sweet that way).

Anyway, no pressure, but I keep coming back to check... I feel "personally involved."

Sure hope things are getting better!


    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 12:22AM
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maryo_nh(z5 SouthernNH)

Hi friends. (You really are). It's getting a bit better! Let me see, I have to update you since last week.

Friday we stopped by doggie daycare for 45 minutes. Gretchen kept checking out the perimeter, but she did seem to like being there. Tomorrow she's going for the day (so I can get my errands done) (or, at least until I got my errands done).
Sunday, in the cage with Valium for 1 1/2 hr when we went to church. Only minor damage to the cage pad.
Monday I got the radio set up next to her cage, and I cut up my last old disposable blanket into squares. This is the new thought: some of the digging is merely to get the bedding comfortable. If it's in squares, she won't rip them. And it's the last one... When I got back upstairs, she was lying at the top of the stairs, panting, in a puddle of drool. Postponed cage re-training.
Tuesday: After the trigger finger thing, we made the discharge nurse come outside with me because we weren't leaving Gretch alone in the car with the leather seats... The nurse was very good about it.
Skipped Wednesday due to exercising said finger under loopy pain meds. Gretchen looked more perky.
Today: Definitely more perky: her ears were up! She ate breakfast (I admit I stirred some pb in). We went for a walk in the rain, and ten minutes after, I cheerfully put her in the cage with 1) frozen pb kong, 2) bunny, 3) mommy's old sweater, 4) radio, and 5) dog biscuit. Took the car for a ride down the side street and back (3 minutes). Couldn't hear any barking! Cheerfully took her out of the cage and gave her a bit of pb while I put the kong back in the freezer.


I'm going to try for 5 minutes shortly, and hopefully again later this afternoon. Valium when we go to church tonight, since I don't know how long it will be before we're back, but hopefully she will have had two or three successes.

I got the stack of Sasha's photos ready, but we can't put them together into a collage yet - it's hard to do when your eyes are all teary... Maybe next week. Or maybe when the kids are all here Sunday morning.

It's a good thing that Adrea is posting cute puppie pictures. Jeff, we really don't want to start another 12 year dog commitment, and the vet advises against it also. He says it creates problems as often as it solves them, and for Gretchen it might be more of a stressor than a help. But she does seem to take more of an interest in Murphy than before, that is also a good thing.

:) Mary
She WILL get better, she WILL get better!

    Bookmark   April 13, 2006 at 1:37PM
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isis_nebthet(8b/11suns SoCA)

Isis went through a depression when Nebt-Het died (she got hit by a car too). Me and the dog didn't eat for almost a week. Ocean brought us tacos and said we had to eat them (Isis ate with me and I had to share food with her for a while since she stopped eating kibble)..It was the worst losing Nebt-Het because she was my first dog (okay second really because I picked Isis but ended up with Nebt-Het too) and Isis' littermate.

Isis was out of it for about a month I got Cleo and it helped both of us a lot. I'm not saying you *should* get another dog but for my situation it was the right thing. Time will heal Gretchen.


    Bookmark   April 20, 2006 at 5:16AM
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maryo_nh(z5 SouthernNH)

Wroof to all mommy's friends!

Mommy thought I might like to tell you how I'm doing. I'm proud to tell you I'm up to an hour and a half in the cage thing. I happily run ahead of mommy as soon as I see her put cat food in the rubber thing, I love cat food. She gives me a yummy crunchy thing too. And it smells nice down there, and it is soft with the blankie things and the other soft things that I can move around to get comfy. After I get all the cat food out of the rubber thing I have a nap.
I went to this cool big place where there are a lot of other dog friends! First we had to go there in the car thing. I was a bit restless in the beginning, because there were cars coming all the time, and every time I thought mommy was coming back to get me. Then I got to go to the smaller place with the quiet dog friends. But later they let me go back in the bigger place with the playful dog friends.
They all smelled my butt at the same time, that was a little scary, but after that I had a good time. When it was naptime the dog friends went to sleep in smaller cage things but I got to sleep in a large one where I could go inside or outside. When mommy picked me up I fell asleep in the car almost right away. Mommy says I can go there every week if I want to.

I also noticed that Murphy is soft and friendly, and she smells of those interesting little furry squeaky things that she brings in the house whenever she can. There is one here somewhere at the moment, actually. One of these days I will help mommy when she wants to bring it back outside.

It is often quiet around the house nowadays. I don't have to hurry to eat my food, and - this is funny - I'm training mommy to put little nice tasting bits in it, she worries about my appetite and I pretend I'm not hungry. I think she's catching on though. She only put some cat food in it this morning, no cheese or pb or cooked chicken liver. Hmm.
They also keep wanting me to go outside alone. But that isn't a lot of fun. I'd prefer if someone came outside with me and then they can throw the round flat thing or the round chewy thing and I can run after it and bring it back. It is always fun to wait with barking JUST until mommy bends down to pick it up! wroofheehee.
Daddy has been staying home some days lately too. This is OK for company, but he spends most of the day talking to the thing on his ear and making pecking noises on the flat grey thing on his lap. But yesterday he took me for a long walk and then he played with the dirt next to the very large water dish outside in the yard - the one with the orange fishie things in it. He was digging with this - thing - not with his paws. Humans are so unhandy. I wanted to go to sleep on the couch inside but he wanted company outside, so I gave in and slept in the grass nearby instead. Mommy missed all the digging, she left early with her nice clothes on and it took a long time before she came back.

Miss Adrea, thank you also for your kind thoughts, just like all mommy's other friends from the - thing - on the table in the corner of the room with the couch they let me sleep on. Mommy and I had a hard time the first few weeks. Even now sometimes mommy just starts crying and then she comes to give me a hug. Then I sniff her face and that makes her feel better. I don't stand at the end of the driveway anymore, and I keep my head and my tail up more everyday. I guess Mommy and I are "recovering"! I do have to get her to stop eating chocolate though. She was groaning when she zippered the nice clothes yesterday.

I will give you more updates in another week.

Wroofly yours,

    Bookmark   April 20, 2006 at 8:30AM
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zinniachick(southwest Ohio)

That was really funny, Mary (and Gretchen.) I am becoming a sap, because it actually brought a tear. I've got to get out more. :)

    Bookmark   April 20, 2006 at 10:03AM
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Oh, Gretchen, that last paragraph made me sniffle! You're such a good girl!! Yes you are!


    Bookmark   April 20, 2006 at 2:42PM
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sheepco(MN z4)

Mary, how's it going? (Gretchen too?) Sounding good!

You're sounding smart to me, DON'T get a second (or 3rd or 4th) dog 'til you're ready! Gretchen will enjoy you're TLC one on one more and you'll all heal better. If another dog is meant for you, it will come...maybe not at the right time, but it will come...

Best wishes, Sarah

    Bookmark   April 23, 2006 at 11:59PM
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jeffahayes(8a Upstate SC)


This is Tater Tot!!!

Harf Harf Harf Harf Harf!!! If I could, I'd hop and skip ALL THE WAY up to New Hampshire and Harf Harf Harf all over the place and hop and jump and bounce off the walls and YOU, Miss Gretchen... HARF! HARF!! HARF!!!

But as it is, I'm just sending you my Harfiest wishes!

Harfy Ponding!
Tater Tot!

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 9:28PM
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maryo_nh(z5 SouthernNH)

Hi Tater! I passed your greetings on to Gretchen.

Thursday update!
- Her ladyship has been willing to crunch down a large carrot! This is great news, because she hasn't been interested.
- She's been doing the little deep-throat woofie again to tell me stuff, like food? play? out?
- Yesterday we visited her fostermommy for a cup of tea - this is one of the places where she tried to take a cage apart etc - and after a bit of initial confusion, she rooted happily around their yard, pooped under the trees, and looked with lively interest after a three passing dogs walking their person.
- She's been in her cage (with all the upgrades) for almost three hours with no problems.
- Having only one dog to take along is definitely easier, and Gretchen comes with me every time we go visit DD with the grandchildren. Gretchen and Riley (just turned 2 in March) are building up a very nice relationship based on sharing crackers and running after balls...

DH and I are discovering the 'real' Gretchen, unaffected by the presence of a bossy and excitable sister. She is an affectionate, calm girl (except on the walk around the wetlands behind us...)

I think we're almost there!

I'll try to make a photo of herself this weekend when she has the perky look.

:) Mary

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 10:06AM
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That's awesome news, Mary! I'm SO glad it's going well, and that you didn't break down and get a dog. My parents are trying not to go there, either, even with all of my urgings. :D

Hope you have a great weekend, Gretchen! Hi, Tater Harf!


    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 12:53PM
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mary, i am so glad gretchen is coming along! before i lost my sarge cat, who frost was so attached to, she was the most demanding of my attention. after he was gone, she mostly ignored me except at night i better "put up and shut up" :)

well, at that time she drove my old man, stinky, mad by craving and demanding his attention all the time. actually, enter romeo may have been when she became stand-offish. but, i dont think so. anyway, very shortly after losing my old man in january, she has been full speed ahead for my attention. she will even get b/t me and romeo or not even care much if he jumps her for doing so. she sleeps with me in my bedroom. before, she would only do so if i was in the living room (her wild streak). she is relaxing out of desperation for attention! at the same time, she is even more demanding than ever, so although she is relaxing, i am not :)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 6:08PM
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Aww! what a lovely thread, so glad Gretchen is getting better! I do believe animals grieve, and Gretchen is so lucky have a Mum & Dad who understand her.

    Bookmark   May 1, 2006 at 12:01PM
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maryo_nh(z5 SouthernNH)

Hi folks.

This is going to be my last post on this thread. Today I worked a seven hour day, Gretchen stayed at home by herself, and she did fine. The cage is still in one piece, the blankie bits are not shredded, and she wasn't hyperventilating when I came in. She was thirsty and ready for a snack, but not frantic. She's now happily sleeping on the rug behind me.

I'm declaring her ALL BETTER!

Now I have to get to the vet before they close to refill her little grey pills...

:) Mary

    Bookmark   May 5, 2006 at 4:05PM
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Thanks for the happy ending, Mary! You & Gretchen made my day! :)))))


    Bookmark   May 7, 2006 at 1:14PM
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