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only the lonely

Tuesday was Zippy's first day where both Julie and I went to work. Julie left early and I stayed around and tried to get him as crate-comfortable as possible before I left, too, at around 11:40. Julie got home a bit after 2:00 (yeah, so it wasn't a full day of work...) and found him grateful to be rescued from the crate. We didn't set up a video camera this time, so we don't know exactly how it was on him, but he happily went back into his crate several times during the evening, which seems like a good sign.

Then yesterday we set up a webcam so that we could watch (and hear) him in real-time from work. This proved both good and bad. It's good because now we know how he feels about being left alone for work hours; it's bad because now we know that he isn't a big fan. He seems to be pretty good for the first hour, mostly sleeping, and then gets a little mouthy during the second hour. From the third hour onwards he's pretty upset, with a lot of barking and 'talking'.

We haven't determined what it is that is stressing him out. It might be fear of foreign sounds, such as the upstairs neighbors moving about, cars coming and going outside, or lawn mowers and power washers. Or it might be that he isn't crazy about being cooped up. Or it might just be a matter of him missing us.

Because he does get kinda stressed out by being left alone, it breaks our heart every day we close the crate and walk out the door. At the same time, everything that we have read and heard seems to suggest that as he gets more comfortable with the routine and with his surroundings, he'll get less and less stressed out. Eventually it will just be the way things are and he'll learn to amuse himself with chew toys and the ever-popular sleeping, rather than listening intently for any sign of our return. So we push on with the plan.

So far today he's doing a lot better than yesterday. True, he's had some loud spells, but overall he's doing a lot more (alert) sleeping, which is pretty great to see. Now if only he would investigate that Kong toy that I filled with treats and kibble, and topped off with peanut butter...