Weekly Wisdom – The Penny Mason Post

Almost anybody can write a good love story. It’s much harder and more interesting to find out what it takes to be married for 50 years.

-Diana Gabaldon on writing the Outlander books.

Weekly Wisdom – The Penny Mason Post

We may have democracy, or we may have wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we cannot have both.

-Louis D. Brandeis, Associate Supreme Court Justice 1916-1939.

Weekly Wisdom – The Penny Mason Post

When we look at the ocean all we see is the surface. But what is actually down there is a whole other world that’s not only mysterious but also generates fear. And I was drawn to that.

Greg Skomal, World’s leading authority on white sharks in the Atlantic

Weekly Wisdom – The Penny Mason Post

If what I do can make a difference, can improve someone else’s life, if only for a moment, then it is worth doing.

-From the book Wintering Well by Lea Wait

Confidence Building: The Solution to Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety

The love we share with our canines is a wondrous thing. But creating an overwhelming need for attention is a recipe for misbehavior when we must leave our pets at home alone. Seeking a simple solution that may help with your pet’s separation anxiety? Read on.

I haven’t featured a pet based post recently, but in view of a friend’s recent experience, I decided it was my duty, as an experienced pet owner, long-time obedience trial competitor, certified dog groomer, to impart a bit of advice concerning a problem which causes property damage and emotional distress for owners, threats of eviction for pets in rental homes and apartments.

Symptoms of Separation Anxiety

Some symptoms listed by a FETCH by WebMD post, exhibited by dogs suffering separation anxiety include, but are not limited to:

  • Obsessive pacing
  • Drooling
  • Excessive howling, barking or whining
  • Having accidents when owners are away for a short time, although housebroken
  • Chewing, digging, scratching
  • Panting for no apparent reason
  • Frantically trying to escape via windows or doors

Contributing Factors Resulting in Separation Anxiety Symptoms

Does your dog freak out when you leave? – asks this Humane Society of the United States Post. The article goes on to list some of the potential reasons pets become anxious when their people are away from the house.

Generally, theses “canine panic attacks” can be caused by one or more of a few general issues.

Previous Experiences

A traumatic background – like being sent to a shelter after having a home – one or more times.

A change in routine of a loving family member – as when a pet was adopted by someone working from home who then returned to a conventional position requiring long hours away each day.

Altered family structure following an event like a death, divorce, a child leaving for college or marrying and moving out.

Owner Over-attachment

Dogs are very intuitive regarding their owners feelings, though sometimes feelings can be misinterpreted. An owner who lavishes constant affection on a pet when at home, and is overly demonstrative when leaving the house is setting up a typical scenario which can result in separation anxiety.

Genetic Predisposition

Some pets are simply more prone to separation anxiety due to inherited temperament.

Creating an Independent and Confident Pet

Various specific techniques and actions can be employed for each individual situation, but generally speaking confidence and a stable environment are most important in preventing and correcting separation anxiety issues:

Inspiring confidence in your pet

Enroll your dog in an ethical training class. Learn how to work your canine; the best ways to offer correction and praise.

Pets who must follow guidelines, who know what is expected of them, who experience consistent praise and support for proper behavior feel more confident and secure, they are better able to spend time alone without worrying when their humans will come home.

(Of course setting up the proper environment when you leave is important too. Pet proof an area and leave a few safe toys for mental stimulation.)

Minimize Emotional Highs and Lows

Don’t make a big deal of greeting your pet when you leave and arrive. Be positive, but treat the times as a normal part of every day. You are not leaving forever, just a few hours. Don’t make your pet feel you are upset. Don’t act like you’ve been gone for years when you enter the house after work.

Being aware of how our own behavior appears to our pets is a major factor for preventing separation anxiety and other behavior problems. Need more help in solving your dog’s behavior issues? Contact a certified trainer or canine behavior specialist who utilizes positive reinforcement methods.

Celebrate the New Year’s Debut but Do So Safely

Many of us are anxious to turn over the last calendar page of 2020 in the hope that 2021 will be more peaceful and safe for everyone. Let’s not let our enthusiasm create a hazard. Celebrate at a distance and don’t overindulge.

Love this vintage display of glasses, a reminder of mid-twentieth-century hospitality.

Christmas Trees are Welcome Gifts No Matter What Size or Shape

The pine cone tree on its birch base and the little tree crafted from festive green and silver paper were quite unexpected and very welcome gifts received by mail this week from a friend in Maine. They make a great addition to the mini forest she sent me a few years previously, when she led a paper tree fundraising project with her grandchildren.

They remind me so much of the thick, fragrant pine forests of the distinctive northeastern state so different from my native Midwest. I haven’t made it to Maine in a few years, but memories return as I sit at my desk and admire the miniature artistry.

The tiny tree inside the dome was a gift from my husband. A talented designer and machinist, he created this “world’s smallest Christmas tree” himself from exotic wood, metal and Austrian crystal. It’s not easy doing intricate craftsmanship on such a tiny scale.

We didn’t put up a traditional Christmas tree, but our holiday will still be special thanks to these thoughtful creations and the other small decorations displayed about our home, many of them gifts I’ve received from friends over the years.