Second Chance: Don’t Leave Me Alone

Second Chance: Don’t Leave Me Alone

Dear Pet Column,

My dog has a really hard time being left alone at home and becomes destructive in an attempt to get out of the house to look for me. It is difficult to leave him and I don’t know what to do.



Sincerely, Anxious Dog Dad

Hello Anxious Dog Dad. So does this mean “Dad of an anxious dog” or “Anxious Dad of a dog”? Addressing this question is the first step toward rehabilitation, which I explain below.

My name is Buddy. I too suffer from separation anxiety when it is time for bed here at Second Chance and all my people leave me. I am going to review all they do to help me to calm down and relax, things you that you can try – including working on your own anxieties…

Here at Second Chance a lot of emphasis is placed on exercise and energy needs, but an equally important element of our enrichment program is having a quiet and calm place where all us animals can feel safe and relaxed. A well-balanced, noise controlled environment goes a long way in supporting equanimity.

We always get the same bedroom every night furnished with nice beds and blankets and lavender scent is sprayed on our bedding. Additionally different flower remedy essences like Rescue Remedy or similar tinctures are added to my water bowl for a definitive soothing effect. Classical music is played throughout the day to create a tranquil setting, but in the evenings we prefer quiet.

We also practice being chillaxed each day, coming in from the play yards and walks with volunteers to unwind for a bit. Because I am working through my separation anxiety, I also receive the added support of additional late afternoon playtime to get some nervous energy out before settling in for the evening.

I am gradually transitioned into my run where I’m allowed some extra time to decompress and get in a more relaxed place before the staff leaves me. This kind of consistency helps me feel safe and gives me something to look forward to. The staff always handles me with very serene energy especially in the evening, speaking in very soft soothing tones to guide me into a relaxed state.

Quite importantly, they make sure they are not anxious about leaving me. Otherwise I would pick up on immediately which would make things much worse.  Instead, they just go through the routine and leave without any emotional fuss over me and that lets me know I am supposed to stay behind – but they will be back.

Separation anxiety is tough on pets and people alike. It presents in varying levels of severity and can take a big commitment by a pet parent to get us through it. If your pet is experiencing problems in this area ,give my staff a call for additional resources and support.

Cats also can experience anxieties.



My feline friend Cally just arrived at Second Chance and being in a new environment caused her angst. She was telling me how some cats feel more safe high up on a shelf or tucked away in a box or bed. Allowing any animal with anxieties to move at our own pace is of paramount importance so we don’t feel forced into overwhelming situations. Cat nip is always helpful as well and a special treat like tuna can go a long way to making an unsure cat feel better.

I am hoping that, once I get my sweet and fun-loving self into a home, I will adjust better to being alone. I get along well with other dogs, but love people, tennis balls, and squeaky things the best.

Editor’s note: It’s no secret. The Telluride region is dog heaven. Well, pet heaven. Unless you are one of our furry friends who gets caught in the maw of neglect and abuse. Then heaven is on hold until Second Chance Humane Society comes to the rescue. Second Chance is the region’s nonprofit dedicated to saving animals’ lives and promoting responsible pet parenting and human-animal bond. In her weekly blog, executive director Kelly Goodin profiles at least one, generally two of the many animals now living at the no-kill shelter, Angel Ridge Shelter, a dog and a cat, hoping to find them loving permanent homes. The column is sponsored by Ted Hoff of Cottonwood Ranch & Kennel, who from time to time exercises his skills as a dog whisperer, partnering with Kelly and her staff to help train a particularly challenging animal.

Ted Hoff & Mae

Ted Hoff &  Magnificent Mae

By the by, there is no better place to park your pup than Cottonwood whenever you head out of town (for locals) or are heading to town and staying somewhere that does not allow pets. Consider joining Ted’s Very Important Dog (VID) Club for added benies. (Details on Ted’s website.)

Second Chance Humane Society Animal Resource Center and Thrift Shop are both located in Ridgway, but service San Miguel, Ouray & Montrose Counties. Call the SCHS Helpline at 626-2273 to report a lost pet, learn about adopting a homeless pet, or about the SCHS Spay/Neuter, Volunteer, Feral Cat, or other Programs. View the shelter pets and services online:

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