out of service

How to relieve your dog’s separation anxiety


Does your best friend suffer from separation anxiety? Years ago my family had a dog that looked just like the one from the movie Lassie. Our dog was a year and a half and the poor girl was so emotionally attached to my 14 year old son that we couldn’t even go to the grocery store for longer than 10 minutes. As our ‘punishment’ we would walk into a home that was utterly demolished – she even jumped on the gas stove and almost pushed the burner on. It got to the point where we simply couldn’t go anywhere as a family because someone had to stay home with our pet.

If you’re reading this and jumping up and down yelling, “She’s knows my baby, she REALLY knows my baby!” (If you really are, I’m now a tad nervous and will be sure my byline will be out!) Now, take a breath and take comfort that this is quite common with dogs and it is simply a behavior that needs to be modified.

Let’s look at a few signs of separation anxiety:

First, when you prepare to leave the house, does your dog:
•Pace back & forth
•Drools uncontrollably
•Nip at your clothes (not fun of course if you’re on your way out to a special dinner)
•Barks/Whines
•Pushes you to play ball, catch, tug-of-war (anything to get your attention on him)
•While simply picking up your keys the pet goes into a panic

When you come home, your dog has:

Defecated or urinated (our lovely dog used to be such a mess he would actually walk in it all and pace through the house – imagine my face & that reaction!)
•Chewed or licked himself to the point of no fur on one spot (or several)
•Been destructive, especially around doors & windows (I still dread the day my landlord sees the door jamb where our ‘darling’ dog shredded it to pieces – any suggestions!)
•The list could go on and on but I think you get the idea

What can be done to help decrease the anxiety for your beloved pet
and your family?

There is good news. There are many terrific sites and books out there that can help you and you’re best friend. Check the bottom of this article and I will add them for you. Simply put, we love to be around our dogs and vice versa. Usually our dogs become more a part of our lives then we even realize.

What can you do? Put your pet on anxiety meds. No, I’m kidding but did actually have a professional doctor suggest that to me! Dogs are remarkably sensitive to the warning signs when you are getting ready to leave. You may grab your purse, change your shoes for the twentieth time, (guys, twice), look high and low for your keys or your cell, etc…Your dog watches you go through these rituals and is on high alert you are about to leave them.

Ways to help alleviate the anxiety for your dog


•If possible, start doing this when you have a good amount of time to dedicate – like a long holiday weekend, etc…Start by diminishing the amount of attention your dog gets during a ‘normal’ day with you. Lessen the time by about 20 minutes or so. (This will take a great deal of patience on your part so you need to be 100% committed.) During the 20 minutes ignore him/her for that time. You can do it, neither of you will be traumatized. Do NOT give in to the dog’s sad, droopy look, nudging you under the arm, etc…Stand strong. This will get easier.

*Please note – if you are in a bad mood, do not attempt to start; skip the day and wait until you are in a decent mood. Dogs will feel your negative energy and the point is to make it a fun activity.*

•Next, start leaving your dog in their own part of the house for short blocks of time, at first. Remember to stay in the house – they just need to be in their own place while you are in yours. When they start crying, (because they will), suck it up and say, “I know I can, I know I can” – chant over and over until you can no longer hear the barking or whining (or you feel like you’re about to go crazy, whichever comes first). When a silent moment comes – and it will – wait about 30 seconds and go to him casually, saying absolutely nothing and keeping it low key. On no account what- so-ever should you jump on the floor and roll around with your best friend and allow him to lick your face/teeth clean. You are only defeating the point, and all that silly chanting, and now have to start at the beginning! Just go on with your business in the house and let the dog go free to do his thing. Make sure that nobody pats the dog, says ‘good boy’, no matter what. It just confuses the dog all together.

•Think of your daily ritual when you are about ready to leave the house without the dog. Do you grab your keys, put your shoes on, brush your hair, apply lipstick, do a dance, etc…? Now write those steps down and start with the first one. If you put on your shoes first start here – go through the motion, tie the laces, etc…and sit down. Now go put them back where you got them. Do that at least 10 times, with a good 5 minutes in between, and after awhile he’ll get bored and leave you alone. It is tedious work but you have to be sure you don’t skip anything on your list. You will have to start all over again.

When you come home – there is still work to do!

As excited as you are to see your buddy, do not give him any attention. Yes, read it again if you need to. When he jumps up on you, trying to hug or push you down, running in circles – if you acknowledge him, in a positive or negative tone, you’re creating another problem. Say hello to your pet and go about your business. After 10/15 minutes or so you may know drop down and act like a complete loving fool.

Congratulations!

You are on your way to making your life happier and your dogs! But before you attempt a day long trip, try increasing the time away bit by bit so the dog understands you are coming back. The whole point is that he/she needs to learn whose boss. That is you, never the other way around.

If you can truly dedicate to following this, without skipping ahead to save time (my 14 yr old tried and it backfired), it will slowly teach the dog that it’s not life or death if you’re gone for an hour or 8 hours a day. He or she will live happily without you and get some relaxed dog time! You just have to be committed to continue your regimen – you are the owner, not the other way around! Good luck!

Some useful websites:
Separation anxiety in dogs & tips on how to treat them
Humane Society Tips for Separation Anxiety

Over 89 million women and girls worldwide have been diagnosed with endometriosis (en-doh-mee-tree-oh-sis). A little over 5 million are here in America, with the youngest age reported at 11.

Endometriosis is a condition where the lining of the uterus (which comes away from the uterus wall during menstruation) ends up in other parts of the body. Some of the organs that are affected can be the lining of the pelvic cavity, the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the gastrointestinal system.

For many women, pain starts before or during menstruation and gets worse as their period progresses. Yet others have pain only with ovulation, while some suffer the entire month. Some of the symptoms are severe pelvic pain, painful intercourse, difficulty conceiving, increased gas or bloating, and depression or fatigue.

Have you or your daughter ever missed a day of work or school due to severe menstrual cramps? Were you brought up being told that pain is normal and just part of being a woman? It’s not. Mild cramping is normal but debilatiting pain is not.

Any women who’s mother, sister or aunt has the disease are 10 x’s more likely to get endometriosis themselves. Teens make up 5 to 6 percent of endometriosis patients. If your daughter is missing school excessively and experiencing severe pain you should contact your health provider. Many of the drug treatments for endometriosis are hormonal treatments, which can damage growing bones. Always research all options, especially when dealing with young women.

Severe endometriosis can lead to infertility. While in the ovaries, endo can produce cysts that prevent the egg’s release. In the fallopian tubes, implants may block the passage of the egg. More than 30% of women with endometriosis report infertility problems.

There is only one way to diagnose endometriosis and that is by a surgical examination using a laparoscopy. It is a fairly simple procedure and is commonly done on an out-patient basis.

Finding a doctor who understands your pain and is willing to treat it is vital. There are doctors who specialize in the treatment of endometriosis. The Endometriosis Association is a terrific resource for anyone who thinks they may have this disease or loves someone who is suffering. They have a monthly newsletter that will keep you up to date on all current research and supply you with doctors in your area who treat patients with endometriosis. There is also a list of support groups in each state for you to benefit from.

The EA also has a family membership for the many families who are affected by endo and because coping with endo is a family challenge. There is a teen newsletter as well as a mentor program where they connect a teen with a young woman who has been dealing with the disease for years. The website is http://www.endometriosisassn.org .

Endometriosis can make you feel like you are the only person in the world who is suffering – it’s nice to know that isn’t true.

Does Your Child Suffer from a Mental Illness?
5 million young people have a mental illness. When your child is diagnosed w/mental disorder you need all the support you can get; especially from grandparents. Some tips follow…
http://www.associatedcontent.comarticle/1838763/does_your_child_suffer_from_a_mental.html

I just wanted to spread the word and remind anyone using the 2009 Writers Market to please, please remember to call and verify the contact information. That way all of your hard work doesn’t get tossed in the slush pile due to having the wrong editors name on your query/envelope. I can’t tell you how many magazine/publishers, etc…have the telephone numbers that are changed or out of service. We are talking A LOT of them (obviously many have gone under due to our great economy).

One magazine, who you have all heard of – even if you’ve just crawled out of a cave, had the wrong address, phone number, and editor contact (the editor hasn’t been there for 4 years). I called information trying to get a working number with no luck at all. The operator and I tried everything we could think of. After about 15 minutes I’m able to reach a phone number that is linked (in an ass backwords type of way) to the mag.

Thinking I’ve finally gotten thru and I’ll just find out the new name of the editor, blah blah blah, home-free right? (Nothing is easy like that in my life!) The girls voicemail I have been forwarded to says,

“Hi this is Lisa (insert a 14 yr old giggle fit here). Friday is like my last day and all calls will be taken by our interns. Thanx!!”

After a large case of eye rolling on my part I wait for an intern to pick up. Wouldn’t you know it, I got the intern with the deep southern drawl AND a case of the crippling teen giggles. I ask for the correct editors name,

“Oh, ummmm, you want ummmm, who’s name is it again?”

I try again.

“That’s right, I’m sorry! Ummm, I can’t find the name right now but I can give you our email address.” I respond with a ‘fine’ and then have to wait another 5 minutes to get an email addy, three times, that was totally wrong in the end. The kind child did forward me to a voicemail of someone (it could’ve been her cousin back in Hillville at that point (please don’t give me grief on that comment, I am from the sticks so I can make fun of myself) saying they were on the phone or in a “really, really important meeting right now”.

I left a lame message and hung up.

An hour later I was still exhausted from the total mind circus I encountered. (And no, I never heard back from them.)

National magazine with over 2.5 million readers. Any guesses?

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