Our family has had an emotional week. I wrote earlier about hospice and how helpful it's been to have a dog with us during the process. Those four days we spent with my mother-in-law were made much easier because we had the company of a dog.
While we were happy to have a dog with us, the remaining three dogs at home weren't as happy to be left alone. We've got a new dog (I'll try to get a good picture soon). He wasn't here for even 24 hours before this new schedule of home-for-an-hour-every-seven-hours was thrown on him. So he was in a new house, with new dogs, and a brand new (long and lonely) schedule imposed on him. I felt really bad for him. But he did just fine actually.
I tried to come home at regular intervals and keep their (new) routine, well, routine. I'd let them outside to do their business and run around, then feed them, and let them visit with me for 30 minutes or so. During that 30-minute block, I gave them each a peanut butter stuffed food toy. I didn't want the new dog to think "Uh oh, there's the peanut butter; she's leaving again." Then it was back outside for another pee break, and a few more minutes of lovin' before I gave them another peanut butter stuffed toy and left again.
I left a light on for them at night, as well as the radio. Then I began to wonder if that was a good idea — when we were home with them during the night, the house was quiet and dark. Was the light and radio a cue to the dogs that things weren't normal? So I compromised and turned on a night-light and lowered the volume on the radio when I left them at night.
So now we're getting back into a regular groove and I hope to start working with the new dog. See what he can do, what he likes, doesn't like, and all that. I'll keep you posted on our progress…