Posted by / July 9, 2012

Incriminating Evidence...

Friday night Tim and I took Tim's parents and daughter (Stephanie) out to dinner to celebrate his Dad's 72nd birthday. While we were out we kept talking about how far we've come with Basil's separation anxiety and how we ourselves feel less stress with our routine of leaving him home alone in the house outside of a crate for up to 3 hours at a time.

We bragged and bragged about how it's been months since we've come home to a chewed-on blanket or anything of the like and how he will sleepily walk to the door as if we interrupted his deep on the couch slumber as we arrive home.

So when we got home, he did his classic little sleepy-walk-waggy-tail routine, but as we walked further into the entryway, we saw this:

Doesn't it always happen that way? The minute you try to show off in front of family and friends, you get proven wrong. Haha, we were actually pretty light hearted about this little paper shredding incident because we chalk it up to being our fault for leaving that paper out in the open. We have a whole routine of sweeping the front 3 rooms he's confined to of anything like this he might get to. We're also so confident that our new routine is working that we both know this was just a mere bump in the road and light years away from where we were with leaving him alone this time last year.

What's also funny about it is the fact these paper documents are actually the rental details for a beautiful Richmond wedding venue we scoped out but turned out to be a little higher budget-wise than we cared for — so we took it as a sign that Basil also disapproved of this particular venue.

Oh Basil, you sure know how to keep us on our toes!

For those wondering, learn more about our history with Basil's separation anxiety and how we continue to overcome it here, here and here.


  1. Hah! The same happens with us. Lucy has been so good at not messing anything up while we're gone; however... if there's something sitting on our low coffee table once we're out the door, it's almost guaranteed she's gonna get into it.

    1. Haha, so funny Lauren — we are the same exact way.

  2. I saw in one of the previous posts someone recommended a Thunder Shirt. We got one for one of our dogs (she's scared of the "wind man") and it helps her a lot. To the point where I feel like she is asking me to put it on her when it is really windy. The kongs you are doing is great too! I like to put them in the freezer once they are packed in with peanut butter -- makes it a little more of a challenge. It sounds like Mr. Basil is making progress -- congrats. Cheers - CT

    1. CT - what an awesome idea to put the kong in the freezer, we are SO trying this next time we leave!

  3. Came across your blog b/c I was looking up home made dehydrated sweet potato sweets for my doggie and then I saw your posts on separation anxiety. How I wish I had found you guys a year ago! I had dealt with the exact same issue with my girl (rhodesian ridgeback) who suffered from EXTREME separation anxiety. I had some of the same barriers - she hated being in her crate even though she was crate trained from the first day home. She had no issues sleeping in her crate with the door closed at night but at around 8 months simply refused to be locked up in it when we went out. She did not touch kongs or bones in it and she would soil and scream in it. And when we tried to keep her contained in the kitchen area when we went out, she would break loose and soil due to anxiety (not a destructive chewer). It got so bad at one point I could not even leave the front door for 1 second without her starting to scream and bark in panic. We would exercise her, do training with her, leave the TV on, give her chews and kongs but she just simply hated being alone. She would soil b/c of the anxiety then bark/scream/howl until we got home. BTW we tried the thundershirt but that did not work for us.

    It's been over a year now and I'm happy to report with training and the use of a pheromone calming collar, she stays home alone with no issues. She gets free roam of the whole house and always gets a frozen kong and chews when we leave. The TV is on, the blinds are closed to minimize outside distractions. I simply started doing counter conditioning w/signals associated with us leaving (opening/closing doors, jangling keys) then randomly stepped out for 5 seconds, then 10secs eventually working up to 10 minutes then coming back in. I've even snuck out for 2 hours, just waiting in my front yard (hiding) and listening to see if she was crying or barking. The longest we've left her home now is about 6 hrs and on a usual day she can be home alone for anywhere from 1 hr to 4 hrs or so.

    So there is light at the end of the tunnel and I'm so glad you've shared your story for any other dog owner with this frustrating and heartbreaking issue.

    1. So happy you found us and sounds like things are going much better for you. Basil continues to improve every week. Thanks for stopping by and hope you will visit often!


Mary and Tim Vidra, here! Both Richmond natives & do-it-yourselfers by nature, we are continually in search of simple solutions for living more sustainably — sharing ideas, tips and tricks for DIY home decor, urban gardening and cooking.


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