Make no mistake, Molly, my Irish Wolfhound is “The World’s Greatest Dog”, however, she is a tad neurotic and shall we say “high-strung”. For instance, Molly will bolt at the sound of any exploding fire-cracker or gun going off. She freaks at the mire possibility that someone wants to brush her….and, she strongly dislikes the car/truck.
Molly’s senses go into high alert whenever the suitcases come out. She freaks when she’s expected to climb up into the back seat of the truck. We have a lovely dog ramp for her. That is not the issue. It is fear of the confined space. Molly will look left, then right, desperately seeking an escape route. If none are available, she will simply freeze on the spot. That’s 162.9 pounds of resistance, firmly planted on all four, slightly quivering long legs. She fits in the truck just fine and even has room to lie down but pants, shakes and just refuses to budge.
I recall one time, when the truck was all loaded up with suit cases and groceries, bound for our cottage and Molly froze on the spot refusing to move. We ended up out smarting her by leading her off in the opposite direction and convinced her that she was going on a walk. I phoned Warren and let him know our location when we were one street over and a little calmer. The truck wheeled up to the curb. Warren hopped out. He grabbed Molly’s two front legs, while I lifted her back rear end. I’m surprised that a neighbour didn’t phone the police. We looked like two crazed dog nappers. Someone is going to break a leg or something. This method can’t go on.
Getting Molly into the car is definitely a two-man job. I recall a year or two ago, when Molly was still going to the cottage. I would get help loading her into the car for the ride up, but be on my own for the return trip home. I have a shameful memory of Molly and me up at the cottage; me ready to go home. Molly went into her frozen stance on top of the deck. The car door was four steps and sixty feet away. I’m surprised a neighbor didn’t call children services after hearing me yell at her to climb down those steps…. or else. Let me tell you that it is hot frustrating work chasing your pet all over the property after Molly has slipped her collar.
In the past we have been fortunate to have two teenagers who didn’t want to travel with us either. They were delighted to make a deal and stay home to mind the dog. Now that Warren and I have retired to the country there are no kids at home to help out. We want to travel a bit more and Molly’s fear of traveling is putting a real damper on our lives. She is part of the family and I don’t want to leave her behind.
Last week Warren and I renewed our passports. It is time to deal with Molly. First, we consulted with our new local vet. She recommended we try two products: “Bio-Calmed” which is an anti-anxiety drug, and the “thunder-shirt”. We ordered Molly an XXXL size shirt and it fit. Image that. http://www.thundershirt.com/ The thundershirt is made with soft gray fabric. It wraps tightly around the dog’s torso and shoulder area and is held tightly in place with velcro. The theory is similar to the idea of swaddling a baby. The dog feels comforted. Molly instantly seemed more relaxed and secure. While I can’t endorse these two products as being exactly a miracle, they did help us get Molly in the back seat of the truck.
We are ready to head out. It is to be a four-day mini trip, through new York state and into Connecticut staying for three nights in supposedly “dog friendly” hotels.
I will report back upon our return. Wish us luck and happy trails.