Separation Anxiety and Our Quest for a New Dog


Once upon a time, we had a dog. . .

He was an awesome dog.  Awesome?!  Pretty lofty to describe our 4-footed friend, but awesome he was!

His name was Gus.

6 months after Mark and I married, we rescued him from the pound.

He was awesome!  (I guess I said that already)

I admit . . . it was not all happy cozy times with our mutt. . .

  • We dealt with mange.
  • He had food allergies and had to eat raw meat.
  • He chewed up my Birkenstocks.
  • We got a $500 vet bill for Canine Bloat.
  • He had an overactive scent gland!  Oh, my word!  If you know anything about this, it is absolutely horrible!  Horrible!
  • His extreme separation anxiety resulted in $400 in window repairs (I’m serious).

Of all the not so fun things about Gus, it was really the last one that was the kicker.

The Evil Separation Anxiety

He could not stand to be left at home alone.  He had broken out our home through the window 6 or 7 times and was an expert escape artist.

It all came to light when one day I came home from the store to find the front window busted out.

Gus was gone.

Knowing how loyal our dog was, I figured he must have chased after the would-be robber.  I called the police and they got word that a stray dog was about a mile down the road, sitting in the parking lot.  It was Gus.  Hmmmmm….interesting.

We poured out all sorts of love and affection on our guard dog and were so happy to get him back.  The only problem was the fact that this happened several more times.

So we set up a video camera.

We found that Gus became a raging lunatic when we left.  Our docile and calm dog was VICIOUS!  He was howling, barking, and biting at the window frame.  HE was busting the window out.

Our Attempts to Deal with It

We tried a muzzle but were scared he’d pass out from trying to breathe.

We put him in a back room so he couldn’t see the neighboring chihuahua being walked and freak out.  He was a Houdini and got out of the room several times Other times he chewed on the door frame.

Clearly, he wasn’t safe to roam free in our house.

So we resorted to getting him a large wire kennel and crated him when we left the house.  He chewed at the metal and mangled it beyond repair.


We tried to find him a new home for about a year.  We were frustrated and had given up.

We Gave Him Away

My mom, (who was dog sitting for us) called one day to say that she found a new family for Gus.  They had kids and another dog to keep Gus company.

This family lived in a VERY small town, (population 15 or so).  It seemed like the perfect home for Gus.  He had more roaming ability and wouldn’t need to be kenneled.

My heart sorta fell into my stomach.

I hesitated but said yes.

As soon as I hung up the phone, I bawled like a baby.  Why wasn’t I happy?!  We finally found him a new home!  But we’d had him for 8 years!

It’s been about a year and a half since we re-homed Gus and I still get choked up when I think about him.  I miss him.  In fact, a few months ago I texted my mom and asked her if we could get Gus back.  She said she would see.  But we decided he was probably in a better place and with the RV thing, it just wasn’t ideal.

If you’ve made it through this story, (which is entirely too long) bravo!  🙂

All this to say. . .

We are Considering Getting Another Dog

Months and months of Ellie and Eli asking for a dog have started to wear on our resolve.

Gus really did a number on me and I still get sad about him.  I wonder if we’ll ever have another dog that could possibly compare.

You might be thinking, “What in the world was so great about that dog?”

I don’t think I can explain it…the thrust of this post has been his negatives, but he really was a wonderful dog 95% of the time.

Still, we are considering it. Mark said we should be crazy and get a Great Dane.  🙂

I still wish we could get Gus back.  I really do.

Are we nuts?  I’m thinking so.

Figuring out the Right Breed

Today we’re looking for a small, non-shedding type.  And we welcome your suggestions!  I’d rather not get a poodle or a yippie dog.  Whatever dog we get, I know we’ll get attached and love him/her.

We’d like to get a rescue dog again, but the shedding thing is really our biggest concern so we’ll have to look for either a purebred or a shelter dog with that breed in it.

So what do you think?  We have several wish list items.

  • small
  • kid-friendly
  • non-shedding
  • not yippie

Think it’s possible?

13 thoughts on “Separation Anxiety and Our Quest for a New Dog”

  1. First off – Gus was an AMAZING dog and despite the whole anxiety thing… he was so wonderful, sweet, mild tempered, and totally put up with all the kids! Remember how he used to sit with his back legs backwards like a chicken??? I miss Gus!!!!!

    Now… have I made you cry?? If not – then you should consider getting a Labradoodle or a Goldendoodle. I have wanted one for quite some time and I could live vicariously through you!!!! Otherwise, get 1 of my other top dog breeds: a jack russell terrier!!

    Back to the first part… if you DID cry when you read that, then you should get Gus back 🙂

    • I keep saying we should get Gus back….it just won’t work for us and I think we need to accept it. So stop trying to make me cry lady!!

      We checked on a mini goldendoodle. $650!!! Insane!

  2. We had/have similar needs. After EXTENSIVE research we discovered a ‘teddy bear’. Ours is a Bichon Frise/Shih Tzu.
    Pros: not yippy, non-shedding, SUPER with kids, 8-10lb max (although I have met a 16 lb ‘anomaly’ teddy bear), hypo allergenic, fast learning, people pleasing, never runs away, super cuddly, really playful, etc.
    Cons: scared of thunderstorms (like 30 min b4 they even happen), sometimes she p’s when overly excited (when meeting a new person or when we come home after b’n gone), she’s a ninja licker (which I think is HILLARIOUS but i will concede, it can be annoying), needs a ‘professional’ haircut (either taken somewhere, or buy a professional, $150, clipper), cost around $300-$600 (but they live 20-25yrs), my dad was a vet so I’ve had tons of exposure to dogs & we were/are pro pound people but in my lowly opinion our Miley was worth every penny & then some…
    …we got ours at Pets R Inn at the Fargo Mall. Its not a “normal” pet store. They were/are WONDERFUL! She needed to have a hernia surgery right after we bought her & THEY paid for it! They’ve known the ‘mama & papa’ lines for over 30 years of puppies…They are anti “puppy factory”…

    • Thanks you for the info and suggestion Chris!

      We just called on a mini goldendoodle…but for $650, that is a little tough to swallow. *gulp* I’ll check out Bichon Frise/Shih Tzu, maybe someone breeds them nearby as Fargo is a little too far for us.

    • We’ve had beagles and they are the best! Pros: besides super adorable, can range from a 15-30 lb dog depending on size, amazing family dog, easily trained, great temperament, no real health problems! Cons: can shed even if brushed everyday, can be quiet vocal with their howling, they are hunting dogs so will take off if off the leash! Overall the pros outway cons for us because they truly are the best dogs and rescued or not I have never heard of a beagle turning on their owner as they continue to love even if abused before! And although we don’t have any at the moment, they will be our choice when it comes time to get a dog again. Any beagle owner will tell you “Once a beagle owner, always a beagle owner!” lol good luck on your hunt!!

      • Great to know about Beagles! They sound like they have a wonderful disposition. Too bad about the hair – LOL! But it sounds like you guys have found the perfect dog for your family!

  3. I have 2 Papillons ( each 6 pounds) … Love them more than anything! Why don’t you pick a dog from a Shelter? Or maybe 2 .. this way they keep each other company!

    • I’d LOVE to go to a shelter and really don’t care so much about the breed or being purebred. The local shelter doesn’t currently have any non-shedding types. We aren’t in a hurry, (Mark is in NO hurry) LOL! The shedding thing is a big deal for us though.

      Papillons are adorable!! At that size, you could probably fit 5 in a camper! 🙂


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