Our adorable dog is a real sweetheart. In most ways. She does have her challenges. She had a year or so long struggle with separation anxiety after moving in with us, for example. The trim in our old house was much worse for the wear thanks to her. We had to replace several doorways when we put the house up for sale. At that point, we never left her home alone anymore, but the damage had been done.
While the house was on the market, we started to feel like Ranger was ready to stay home alone. Sometimes she would even seem to express her desire to just stay home, particularly when it was raining, for example.
After we moved, we started leaving her for a few minutes at a time pretty immediately upon moving in. This went well, and we continued, with her seemingly able to stay home alone for fairly long stretches, considering the separation anxiety - up to about three hours. Longer might have been possible, but we didn't want to push it too much. Of course, one school of thought is that the length of time probably doesn't make that much difference to her once we were gone, so perhaps it was for our own peace of mind.
And we still took her places when we could.
This has all been working out pretty well for us...until lately.
I'd been giving her treats to find when we left off and on. Lately, I guess it had turned into every time. At any rate, Ranger seemed triggered to go looking for food when we'd leave. We had a number of incidents of her eating food not meant for her, even if we just left for a few minutes, say to answer the door (we've still not been added to our remote entry system, so we have to go downstairs any time we need to let anyone in - sigh).
Coleslaw and poletna fries were early casualties. We figured she was getting up on the counter to get to these things, as they weren't pulled down to eat or anything. Then she got even more gutsy and got into the snack baskets on top of the fridge twice before I rearranged.
I was worried that when she couldn't get to these things anymore, she'd start opening cupboards or pull the trim down from the pantry door in an effort to get in there. Luckily for her (okay, us, really, we wouldn't really do anything to her), she hasn't done that. I'm toning down leaving snacks out for her every time we leave and this issue seems to be solved (other than not being able to leave anything eatable beyond fruit out in the open even if we're just leaving her for a minute).
What happened when we skied on my birthday, though, well, we're not really sure yet what that means. Our downstairs neighbors emailed us at 10am to say that Ranger had been crying and barking for the last couple of hours and they wanted to let us know in case something was wrong. I didn't see the email until after we left again for our run.
What's odd about this is that it was the first two hours we were gone. I'd have expected her to have issues after we were gone for a long time if she was going to have any issues. After all, she's been staying home alone for quite a while.
When we got home from skiing, there was a chair knocked down, making us suspect she'd been chasing the cat, and the couch had obviously been slept on, although she not normally allowed up there.
So, what happened that day? Is it usual for her to freak out, but our neighbors usually aren't home? They said they'd never heard her act like that before. Was it some sort of unusual activity between her and the cat? Licorice usually has power over her. Ranger is usually scared of her, but without us home to ensure she doesn't fight back, did she chase Licorice after a swat? Sometimes she does seem to just get interested in Licorice and whine at her. Was that what happened?
Licorice, just to point it out, weighs all of 4 pounds to Ranger's 60+, but still, she has the upper hand in the relationship usually. Ranger is quite cowed by her.
So, all of this has us wondering about leaving her home alone. We have left her in the last week and things seem to have been fine, but now we wonder. Is she home crying and we just don't know? It's a bit of a mystery. We're hoping it was just an anomaly and she's usually doing this:
'Cause we sure do love our little brown four footed family member.