Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Project Briscoe: The Bloodletting (okay, not really)

After receiving Briscoe’s blood test results from the special lab and finding out he does not have hypothyroidism I can no longer use that possible medical condition as an explanation/contributing factor to Briscoe’s separation anxiety. After discussing the thyroid test with my vet and Briscoe's earlier blood tests, he has been given a clear bill of health. Phew.

Over this past weekend, I dogsat overnight for some friends and kept busy with wrangling the Toby-Briscoe-Luna triumvirate. This glamourously involved cleaning up poo, barf, distributing food fairly and managing the occasional barking fits. Another exciting Saturday night. It was fun, but two is definitely the dog-maximum for me.

Sunday, after our adorable guest returned to her home, I became very motivated and confident about trying to leave Briscoe at home – alone. I have left him home alone with the door shut in very short intervals: to switch out the laundry 25 feet from my yard, taking my time getting the mail or going outside to sit quietly while utilizing my Crackberry. After another round of outdoor web surfing, I left Briscoe home alone for an extended amount of time, a first since mid-November.

Backing up a bit, I needed to relocate Toby to my bedroom as a precautionary measure, he tends to sniff out Briscoe's chews & kongs which leads to doggie rifts. My purse and keys were snuck out one hour earlier (these combined are a sure-fire trigger and Briscoe starts to worry I am leaving him). I turned on the TV for some noise, filled one kong full of treaty goodness and strategically scattered two chews for Briscoe to happen upon after some diligent sniffing.

While Briscoe busied himself in the living room, I quietly stepped outside and sat and waited. 5 minutes, quiet. 10 minutes, I could hear some whining, but couldn't hear any pawwing at the door or panicked barking. Progress? 15 minutes, I could hear some noise, but my guess was that it was a kong getting rolled around.

I then gathered my items, hoping he couldn’t see me through the one small section of window that isn’t covered/in need of repair, and tried to sneak out of the yard quietly. A couple of dog-free errands would be mine! I have heard new moms laud the first time they were able to get out of the house or stroll around Target peacefully. I likened this solo trip to the grocery store and gas station somewhat similar. Ahh, the sweet gloriousness of freedom!!

In all, I was gone 45 minutes. When I returned (he can hear my gate open, it has a loud clang when it latches) and opened the front door I found a very excited, full of nervous energy and a little whiny Briscoe jumping around, but there was zero damage (!!!) Briscoe had not jumped on the kitchen counter as he has during previous anxiety fits - I purposely placed coins on the counter and none were displaced. I swept the kitchen floor before I left and there was no visible proof that the door frame had been chewed or any vulnerable item pulverized.

I hope to try this again several times this week and over the upcoming 3 day holiday weekend, for varying amounts of time. I hope for single steps up and zero steps back. Team Briscoe!!


Melissa said...

Congratulations on another victory! It's often the same with parents when leaving small children with a sitter. The best policy is to SNEAK OUT without a lot of goodbyes or fanfare.

Question, though: How were you able to leave without the gate making sound?

Ali said...

Awesome!!!! And thanks for taking care of my nervous doggy last weekend. Hope the progress continues with Briscoe. And yay for non-furlough 3 day weekends!