Monday, May 16, 2011

Andy's Claustrophobia

The bowls were kept near the cooler on the right.

I had a lot to learn about Andy. I knew he loved to play, play-fetch and swim. I knew he loved Abby and my mom. He also had some hang-ups. As I came to know him better, I would find out just how broad and seemingly endless the hang-ups he had. I knew quite a bit about Abby. I helped raised her. Learning about Andy’s quirks and idiosyncracies could be funny but at other times it would be frustrating and even sad.

The first thing I learned about Andy after he moved in was that he was claustrophobic. My condo had a gallery-type kitchen. Even though the square footage in the condo was barely over 900 sqft, the kitchen had ample room. I thought I had a good idea by placing the dogs’ food and water bowls at the end of the kitchen. I wanted the bowls to be far out of the way of the hallway traffic between the entrance and the living room. I wouldn’t run into them. Yet the bowls sit close to where the food and water were making it easy for me to refill them.

On the first day, I knew the idea had fallen flat. Andy was hungry and thirsty. He took a step towards the bowls but would back out. I could hear him “tip-tipping” after advancing a step towards the bowls only for him to “tip-tip” back out. This went on a dozen times. I was watching TV which is why it took me a while to catch on to Andy’s dilemma.

I stood up to take a closer look. Andy backed all the way out. I commanded him to eat. He wouldn’t. He drooped his ears down. I knew that look of fear. He had that same look when it thunderstormed. Andy was claustrophobic. I knew I wasn’t going to cure him, so I had to put the bowls in a more accessible place for him.

I put the bowls at the entrance of the kitchen galley. Andy would not be closed in and would never feel trapped. As soon as I put the bowls at their new place, Andy ate and drank with no problems. Putting the bowls there was not efficient space management in such a small place. I had to make the adjustment to accommodate my baby boy. It fortunately worked.

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