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Been There, Done That by Laura Nethken

Published: October 16, 2016 4:00 AM

My paycheck just came, so Dave and I had some running around to do. Cash the check and do our bi-monthly duties of playing middle man -- divvying the money out to its rightful owners.

Not like we get to keep any of it, although I did put in a request for $45. It wasn't in the budget, but I was determined to spend it nevertheless. I planned to buy a Thundershirt for our Beagle Boy Cletus.

I saw a notice for them at the vet's office. You just Velcro your dog into a little jacket and it keeps them calm. Our Duke could have used one big time for thunderstorms and fireworks. Cletus needs one for separation anxiety. He's got that in spades.

His anxiety causes me anxiety, which my friend said I'm transferring back to him. Yeah well, he started it.

I can't get out of the house without him. Dave can step out anytime. By the time Cletus looks up from the couch and wonders if it was the back door he just heard, too late, Daddy's already out.

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Not so much for Mommy. If I walk into the kitchen, Cletus is so close to me he's running into the backs of my ankles. No way am I getting out that door without him.

We tried all kinds of things. Put him in a kennel, they said. That worked twice. I tossed the treats in, he went in to get them. I locked the door.

After that, he refused to go in no matter what I threw in.

So we bought a baby gate. I tossed the treats into the living room and while he went to get them, I slid the gate into position and ran for the back door.

Barely making it out alone as he came crashing through the gate. He's quite solid for a Beagle. Probably has something to do with all those treats.

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We tried a Children's Chewable Benadryl (vet approved) to try to slow him down a little. Yeah, not so much.

The most recent plan involved a cut-up hot dog (in as many pieces as possible). I make a big production of the hot dog, while Dave quietly makes his escape.

I set the plate down in the living room, set the gate and run for the door.

I can't do this anymore. I'm a nervous wreck any time Dave and I have to go anywhere. I have no intentions of just staying home because the dog has issues.

We need groceries and clean clothes and Dave needs to get out of the house now and then.

This is why I had to have a Thundershirt. I called a local company in town and they said they had just a couple left on clearance.

We were even invited to bring Cletus in with us to see if we could find one to fit him, but sadly no.

We ended up at the big box store, who online said they carried Thundershirts, but in real life, not so much.

So we headed to the big city to an honest-to-goodness pet store. They had to have them.

I'm so glad we were headed into town. The traffic coming the other way was horrendous, thanks to the bridge being out. If I had to make that commute every day, I'd definitely be finding a different way or changing my hours.

At the pet store, I went through the whole place twice and couldn't find a Thundershirt. Now what? "Now ask somebody," Dave said.

They said they were in Aisle 3. I had just torn up Aisle 3, but OK, here we go again.

And there they were, about halfway down. According to the box, he was a medium. The first medium I found was pink. Oh great, what if all they have in his size is pink?

Then he's getting a pink one and I'll try to dye it.

But then I found a nice camo one. I couldn't wait to get home and try it on Cletus. Of course, there was no point in being in too big a hurry with the detour.

At home, Cletus didn't share my enthusiasm for trying on his Thundershirt. According to the weight limit on the box, he should wear a medium. It fit a little snug.

I guess that's the point. It supposed to calm a dog like swaddling calms a baby.

It's supposed to be based on chest size, not weight, according to the package. Maybe he's got a big chest for a little dog.

Dave said he's probably big-boned. Now he really is channelling Dukie.

We had one final weekend at the campground to test out the new Thundershirt. It worked about 50 percent on keeping him quiet as golf carts whizzed past.

The big point is how it does on calming his separation anxiety.

His anxiety level may get worse when he finds out we're on a six-month hiatus from camping. I'm crushed, too, but at least it will give me some time to work on writing my books -- Columns I and II, and "It's All About Duke."

And we'll be back at camp in the spring before you know it.

Copyright 2016 Laura Nethken


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