Monday, July 4, 2011

Andy's Separation Anxiety

All alone outside. What a pitiful face.

Andy's Reaction to "I'll be back"

Andy had separation anxiety when he was younger which subsided for quite a while until a few years later when he was living alone with me at my condo. Andy’s separation anxiety did not lead him to tear things up or for him to pitch temper tantrums like Abby did when she was alone. For example, Andy would scratch at the door if he were left alone outside. If Andy needed to go to the bathroom, he would let us know and we’d let him out. Once he had taken care of his personal business, he didn’t want to be alone any longer. He would scratch at the door to tell us to let him in. Also, if we had been out of the house for a while, Andy would jump up on the side door before we opened it and scratch vigorously. We have two doors with permanent scratch marks.

This separation anxiety subsided when he matured but it resurfaced when he was around 7 when he lived alone with me at my place. He didn’t mind it when I left for work. He had some sleeping to do and had no time to sulk. He’d bid farewell (i.e. he let me pet him) and went into the living room to lie down. But in the evenings when I left him alone to go somewhere, he did not take it well.

Before I left, I always said “I’ll be back.” If I said that later in the day, he would pout and sulk. If he had a toy in his mouth, he would drop it and stare at me blankly. He would also put on an expressive show of sadness by drooping his ears and hanging his head down. He would not let me pet him. Andy would go by me to the stairs and went up into the loft. He could not bear to watch me leave. His heart was broken. I’d always tell him “bye bye” and would ask him to see me but he absolutely refused to say good-bye to me.

I was curious to see how long it would take him to go back downstairs after I left so one day, I stood just outside my door when I left. I quietly waited and about a minute later, I heard him ‘boom boom boom’ down the steps. I immediately opened the door and caught him while he was on the landing. He stood motionless. He would not come all the way down. He was sending me a message. If he was trying to make me feel guilty, he succeeded.

No comments:

Post a Comment