On Being a Canine Popsicle


This is what Wendell looks like after spending a freezing cold night in the woods. We gave up searching for him last night, but at 7am this morning Ian found him in his dog house, shivering in his sleep, and carried him into our house. We wrapped him up in an electric blanket turned on high and rubbed him vigorously until he fell into an exhausted sleep, which we let him enjoy until we had to leave for school.

Yes, I feel like a terrible dog parent. But I’d like to see what anyone else could have done in our situation. Wendell’s anxiety has been prevalent ever since we adopted him this fall. Yet over the holidays we traveled to several different houses, and Wendell performed wonderfully at each one. We were even getting him to respond to our vocal commands and hand signals. So confident were we in his turn for the better that yesterday we decided to let him off leash on his afternoon walk. Before the holidays we did this a lot, allowing him to scamper through the woods until we got close to home, at which time we would reattach his leash. Usually this is a great system, but yesterday Wendell wised up to our shenanigans and gave us a wide birth on his walk. Every attempt to catch him was thwarted, though he’d nudge our ankles and and attack his loose leash in a manifestation of his inate herding nature.

Thus, from about 5 to10:30pm, we took turns wandering outside in the bitter cold and calling for him. We opened every door in the house, lined doorways with bits of hotdog, and tried to coax him into his dog house. Absolutely nothing worked, and we eventually retired to bed, fearing what state we would find him in in the morning.

Needless to say, Wendell’s severe anxiety towards our house is not doing us or him any favors. Perhaps his doggy nature is giving him a sixth sense and he is actually the sane one, sensing spirits or demons that haunt the premises, of which Ian and I are completely unaware of. Maybe. But either way, we can’t trust that he won’t allow his anxiety to cause him to freeze to death someday. I hope he enjoys spending the better part of the next few months securely on his leash.

Wendell’s not the only pet that seems to enjoy our new electric blanket!
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7 thoughts on “On Being a Canine Popsicle

  1. I would consider talking to your vet about an anti-anxiety medication like Xanax for him. It sounds crazy but it might be helpful….

  2. I f you want to sedate him a bit, give him a Benadryl or a half of one. It will make him more quiet, and less scared.
    Of course if it is hard to catch him, he may not consume it. My sister has to do this to her dog, cause he sometimes has seizures. This makes him really calm, sometimes makes him sleepy, but it is OK it keeps him from having them, that is what the Vet told her to do.

  3. I have heard there are some over the counter calming agents (one of my co-workers uses it for her dog when she needs to get him in the car or when there are fireworks). She said you can get it at specialty places that just cater to dogs and other pets. So a trip to the vet may not even be needed. OR there are some cook holistic groups on-line that might have just the remedy for your pup –> ask em.

  4. Lydia I was talking with my husband this morning about your problem… He is great with animals and works with horses with problems all the time but he good with dogs also. He suggests getting a carbon monoxide detector if you do not have one already. He thinks that the problem with the dog is not the dog at all but the house. That the dog is intuitively afraid of the house… something like a smell or sound that you all can not detect but he can…. I am not sure if this helps but Tom thinks you may want to check the heating stove ?

    1. Jolyn, your concerns bring to light some of my own that I’ve been having about living in an old, largely unregulated home. Other friends have also raised their concerns about carbon monoxide to us. My husband and I are going to look into buying some carbon monoxide detectors tomorrow.

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