1 is The Lonliest Number

Published: April 22, 2011

In February of 2003, my then wife and I adopted Kisses from BREW as a playmate for our other beagle Zoey. We took her in renamed her to Zephyr and immediately she became a lovable member of our pack. I loved taking them both out for my runs and watching them chasing each other in the backyard. The two dogs were inseparable. Unfortunately, in 2005 my wife and I separated and she took both dogs with her. I was heartbroken over losing the dogs; they were the only thing I lost in the divorce that I was actually sore over. For a year and three months I did not get to see Zephyr or know how she was doing. Finally, in August 2006, I received an email from my now ex-wife saying that she was moving and could not take both dogs with and asked if I could take Zephyr back. Of course I said yes and saw her again that September.

Something was wrong though. The second she saw me, she started growling and barking at me which was completely out of character for the lovable and affectionate beagle that I knew. I asked my ex if she had always been like this and she said yes. Well I put her in the car, got some supplies from the pet store, and took her home. What I saw caused my heart to sink. Zephyr had become a frightened, insecure dog that was afraid of everything, didn't trust strangers, afraid of children and suffered separation anxiety the likes of which I have never seen in a dog before. I would leave the house for work and almost everyday I would come home to a disaster. I bought two different wire cage kennels and she managed to escape from both. She would chew up her bedding, the carpet and the front door. I enrolled her in obedience class and had some success in calming her down but she wasn't getting much better.

I knew having a playmate would be helpful for her, especially while I was gone during the day, but I didn't have the time to invest in a puppy and I didn't want to get a rescue that may come with its own share of issues. I then hired Bark Busters which does in-home dog training using the same approach as Cesar Millan (The Dog Whisperer). Finally, in February of 2007, and even though Zephyr still had her issues, she finally calmed down enough that I thought we both could handle another dog.

In comes Maximus. I adopted him from the BREW adoption day at Petco in Alexandria, VA in February of 2007. Fortunately the only issue I had with him was housebreaking and that was resolved in a couple of weeks. He is an awesome little guy. The impact he has had on Zephyr far surpassed my expectations and was far beyond what I could hope to gain by myself. Almost overnight, Zephyr's separation anxiety is all but gone, and although she is still afraid of children and untrustful of strangers, she is much more calm around them, she warms up to visitors much faster than she did before and more importantly, she does not go into a total panic every time a neighbor slams a car door. But just as important, is the impact both dogs have had on me. Being newly single and in the Navy has been extremely stressful. But no matter how hard things get for me, I still have two dogs who always manages to brighten my day. They have been a reminder to me that, no matter how bad things may have been in the past and regardless of how bad things might turn in the future, I should be thankful for the good times I am having now with them. As I write this, both dogs are quietly napping with full little tummys, both are happy in their new home, both get plenty of water and good food and both are in beagle heaven chasing rabbits and each other in my back yard.

Thanks BREW for giving these two dogs everything a beagle could ask for and thank you for giving me two of man's best friends.

Paul, Max and Zephyr

1 Response

  1. Nicole

    Good for you for taking her back and getting her a friend. I “lost” my youngest pup in the divorce, only to have him contact me four years later asking me to take the beagle mix back or he’d put her down. My experience was similar to yours. My loving, sweet confident girl was gone. Instead she was frightened, huddling in corners and had incredible crate and separation anxiety. Luckily we had two other dogs in the family already and as she got to know them, her separation anxiety lessened. She is still very anxious when she is home alone (if the others go for a visit), but is even more anxious to go on visits. I will never know what happened to her to cause this, but am somewhat reassured to see that she is not the only pup to me so severely affected by divorce.

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