One of the most common issues animals have is anxiety when their person leaves them. For some animals, even having their person leave for 5 minutes can cause anxiety and for others, being gone for work is a major issue.
Inevitably, there will be times when you need to be away for longer periods — a week, two weeks, even a month or more. It’s always a good idea to let your animals know you’ll be away and for how long, where they’ll be staying while you’re gone and who will be taking care of them and also to answer any other concerns they might have. This can be done through a communication session or by connecting with your animals yourself. Most animals will do just fine when their person is away for longer periods, whether they stay at home with a live in pet sitter, have a pet sitter visit every day or if they spend the time in a kennel or cattery.
Others . . . not so much!
For the worriers, one of the things that I’ve found that can be really helpful is what I call a “check-in”. These are short communication sessions that I do telepathically, while the person is away — without the animal’s person on the phone with me — to make sure the animal are doing OK, to find out if they are having any problems and to remind the animal when their person will be back. After the session, I email the animal’s person to let them know how their animal is doing.
Recently I had a client, Donetta, who was going to Europe for twelve days. She has two older dogs — Jazzy, who is very relaxed and goes with the flow and Charlie, who was a rescue and came with issues. Through previous communications, we’d found out Charlie was claustrophobic, especially when confined to a crate or confined in the house during the day alone. Donetta worked out a solution that worked well for Charlie. Before Donetta’s two week trip, she hired a pet sitter to be at the house at night and care for the dogs — but she was concerned that Charlie would worry, due to the change in his routine. We scheduled a communication session before her trip, so both dogs would know what the plan would be. Charlie was concerned, but was reassured that I’d check in with them while Donetta was away. I checked in with Charlie and Jazzy twice while Donetta was away. Jazzy was fine, but she was concerned about Charlie! The first time I checked in with Charlie, he was trying to be brave, but was concerned about when Donetta would be home. Although the dogs were cared for, the pet sitter was not following through completely, which concerned Charlie. I reassured him and confirmed that he was OK, being fed and was warm enough. Charlie’s energy felt much better (less worried) at the end of the talk. During the second check in, Charlie told me he knew Donetta would be home soon and couldn’t wait to greet her!
Sometimes the worrier is the person, not the animal. One of my clients, Kristin, had the opportunity to travel over seas for a month with her husband. Kristin scheduled a pet sitter who she had total confidence in . . . but Kristin was still concerned about her beloved kitties — especially Jasmine, who was older and was having some health issues. Kristin asked if I could check in with her cats twice a week, which I did. The cats couldn’t wait for Kristin to come home and they were grateful for the check ins . . . like having a friend call to make sure you’re OK. One day I received an email from Kristin between check ins. The pet sitter had emailed and said that Jasmine wouldn’t eat her wet food. Jasmine tended to be thin, so not eating was a big problem. The pet sitter tried several cans of food from the open case of canned food, but no luck — Jasmine wouldn’t eat any of it! Kristin asked me to find out what was going on. When I asked Jasmine, she said the canned food smelled “bad” to her. I asked if she was hungry and she said yes — she wanted to eat, but not if it smelled “bad”. I emailed this information to Kristin — she instructed the pet sitter to open a tin of wet food from a different case of cat food. Jasmine immediately ate the food from the new case without a problem! Perhaps the food had gone “off” or been contaminated somehow . . . but finding out from the cat what the problem was prevented an unnecessary vet visit and worry for Kristin!
Vacation should be an enjoyable experience for you and as stress free as possible for your animals. Letting your animals know what your trip plans are, how they’ll be cared for while you gone and, if needed, having “check ins” planned for the time you’re away, can go a long way toward decreasing worry for you and for them.
“ I want to tell you, Sky, how very helpful it was to have you talk to our dogs during our recent twelve day vacation. Before we left, you explained to the dogs that we would be gone and when we would return. You explained to them who would be caring for them and how it was going to work. I believe the most important part however was that you talked to the dogs twice while we were abroad and emailed us after you talked to them to let us know how they were doing. This was such a help for the dogs — and for us! Having you checking on them during our vacation was helpful to all involved and eased our worry immensely. Thank you for your wonderful help with the 4 legged ones in our family and the 2 legged ones too! ” — Donetta Z., CO
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