Moving Stress and Furry Kids

If you don’t yet ‘know’ us as a family, I would like to take a moment to introduce you to Leni, our 8 year old black lab that acts like he is still 6 months old. Leni is, without a doubt, one of my best friends. He has been my marathon training partner (up to my 30K runs) and my confidant when some days just don’t turn out the way you want. He sat with me in the bathroom through two pregnancies worth of morning sickness and helped the kids learn how to walk by letting them hold onto him to steady themselves. He is not just a family pet, he IS family.

Our furry kid, Leni

We had discussed how to handle the move with the dog. He gets stressed over luggage, etc., so we often keep vacation packing for after he has gone to his vacation farm. We had decided he would go there for the moving weeks then we would return and pick him up after settled in our new home and show him his new Swiss paradise!

What we didn’t expect was his stress to occur before this. Our house is up for sale and anyone who has been here before knows that means a house that is beyond hospital-level of clean with toys, dog beds, etc., all being hidden each morning when we leave the house. Let’s face it,  no one wants to see a chewed up dog bed big enough for a tiny dinosaur in the middle of a living room when looking at a new house. He doesn’t understand this and has unfortunately reacted badly to this change in his life. He has been a mix of depressed and agitated. If you know Leni, you know he is a gentle giant and agitated is not in his repertoire. I noticed last night that he has begun to obsessively lick his paws and cause open sores. Heartbreaking.

Not entirely knowing what to do, we took him to the vet this morning. He has the most amazing vet who immediately agreed Leni was not acting like his normal self. We talked about a plan of action but in the end, it really boils down to a catch-22. We are stressed. Our home is disrupted. He is stressed by these two things. This stresses us out more and thus, the cycle continues. Our ‘prescription’ is to treat his wounds, try to keep his home life as stable as possible and keep his dr informed. If needs be, his dr recommends sending him to his vacation home for a bit of stability. I hate feeling like I can’t make my dog happy when my days and nights are spent obsessively searching for a home with a garden he can play in! If only dogs could speak!!!!

I look forward to the day I can post a happy picture of my silly, happy, big-dog-trapped-in-a-small-dog’s-body, labrador and say, “we all appear to have survived the move!”

Until then…Lenster, I adore you and we’ll sort this out! ❤
Photos courtesy of Louise Francois

Author: Jennifer Hart

Traveller. Wife. Mother. Bilingual. Hiker. Shopper. Skier. Snowboarder. Soccer midfielder. Marathoner. Canadian. Wine lover. Mama also to a crazy labrador retriever. My running keeps me grounded. My writing keeps me sane. My kids and husband keep me loved. These are our stories, love them or leave them. We may not have a permanent home but we have each other.

5 thoughts on “Moving Stress and Furry Kids”

  1. Aww, poor puppy! I hope things settle down for him soon. He’s adorable!

    I found you via the “Switzerland” tag on WordPress. I’m moving to Switzerland soon too 🙂

    Like

  2. Having been through the difficult stages of moving with my pets and not having an alternate living space available, I had to get craftly quick, with both an elder dog and a puppy (both Jack Russells).

    #1. I always left one room with a few toys. The potential buyers are going to understand that you have pets. They are more concerned with an overabundance of pet-related items or worse pet smells. I kept a few of their toys out, and put their beds in one of the upstairs rooms. Potential buyers have already pretty mich decided based on the ground floor if they like the place or not.

    #2. I used homeopathic remedies. There are gentle drug-free products like Dr.Goodpet Calm or Bach flower essence to help reduce their stress levels. I also used bitter apple spray to prevent paw/tail chewing at night. I made sure they each had a soft chew toy that I did not wash to help them feel comforted.

    #3. Dog Appeasing Pheromones (DAP)
    DAP is a plug-in diffuser which gives off similar effects of the natural pheromones the mother gives off after birth. For their sensitive sniffers, it’s the emotional equivalent of smelling mom’s chocolate chip cookies and they are triggered into a calmer state.

    #4. Thundershirt
    This swaddling super-shirt is an instant stress reliever for poor dogs who are temporarily stressed out by circumstances around them: thunderstorms, fireworks, or strange people in their house. Check them out: https://www.thundershirt.com

    Best of luck to your family on the move, and extra love for Leni!!

    Liked by 1 person

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