How Pixie Helped Rocket Beat Separation Anxiety

March 28, 2011  

And he helped her overcome her problems, too

By Jennie Griffith

Whenever I had to leave Rocket alone, even just for a really quick errand, he’d have a meltdown. I’d come back to find him sitting in a pool of drool and shaking so violently you could hear his teeth chatter.

Rocket had spent most of his formative puppy months in a kennel with no interaction with other dogs and no attention from humans. Being left alone was now terrifying for him. When we adopted him from an animal control facility, he was just under a year old and desperately thin. And his rear legs had atrophied to the point where he would fall over when going around a corner.

We brought him home and fed him five meals a day until his weight stabilized. But we couldn’t help him overcome his severe separation anxiety. When I was home he refused to leave my side.

I began to realize, after about four months, that despite our love and care, I couldn’t relate to him like another dog might be able to. I decided he needed a companion – a friend who would help build his confidence.

So we started looking online for a smaller female, and found one in Missouri who I had a gut feeling would be a good match. Several lengthy phone calls later with her awesome foster mom, we decided to adopt Pixie, a Boston terrier/pit mix who has sweet eyes and tends to snort a lot.

Pixie made her way from Missouri to our home in Massachusetts with volunteers who help drive dogs to their new homes around the country. She was the last pup dropped off on this particular odyssey, and the people who drove her to our house said she had never stopped wagging her tail during the three-day journey! It’s wonderful to see a dog so joyful, but Pixie had been whacking her “happy tail” against doors and car seats so hard it was bleeding. She also had severe diarrhea and heartworms. So we needed to keep her away from Rocket and give her the quiet she needed until she could become a healthy playmate.

We also learned that Pixie was quirky. She would hide or bury every toy, and when she and Rocket were introduced to one another we’d have a hard time finding where she’d hidden her newest treasure.

But Rocket and Pixie have gotten along wonderfully from the get go, and it was clear from the beginning that she had a calming influence on him. He was good for her, too, and in the end, each of them has helped the other overcome their previous traumas. We are now able to leave them in the house together with no crates and no problems, no shaking and no drooling! And Pixie has pretty much stopped hiding all of the toys.

Today they’re sweet, silly, happy pups who bring us all so much joy!

If that’s not a happy enough ending, Rocket has achieved his Canine Good Citizen, and Pixie won first place in a 4-H Obedience competition with my 9-year-old son, Justy.

They’ve marched in several parades with our Obedience Club and are active in obedience work and they’re working toward becoming certified therapy dogs. My goal is to get them out there to do some good for others while being breed ambassadors.

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Comments

2 Responses to “How Pixie Helped Rocket Beat Separation Anxiety”
  1. DaneRay says:

    Thanks for sharing such a touching story!!!

  2. StubbyDog says:

    @DaneRay Thanks for your comments, we are so glad you loved the story as much as we did.