Did a Weekend Trip Make My Dogs Think They Were Abandoned? Apparently, Yes! – Dogster

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Hi, I’m Allison. Read my introduction to learn more about me and my three mixed-breed dogs from Thailand, Jelly, Lorraina, and Manic.

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The first time I left my dogs at a pet resort, I was riddled with guilt. We had to leave them for three nights while my husband and I went to Ohio for the weekend. Relocating the dogs from Thailand to the USA was hard on them, so I was concerned they would think we abandoned them.

Of course, they have often been left alone for a few hours. They had water, treats, and their beds in a secure place. But they were going to be in an unfamiliar environment for three days.

It was times like that when I desperately wished we could speak the same language so I could reassure them that our trip to spend the weekend on our friend’s alpaca farm in Ohio’s wine country was just for a few days.

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Getting Over the Guilt

I imagine most people feel a bit bad when they leave their dog to go on a trip. However, some people might keep their dogs at home and have a pet sitter stay with them. Others might take their pet to a family member’s home so they can be with someone they know while they are away. However, others might need to drop their fur kids off at a pet resort, which my husband and I would need to do.

I admit this was a stressful situation for us and them. We moved them from Thailand to the USA about a year and a half ago. The ordeal took about five days, and while Manic seemed to be fine after the journey, Jelly became more attached to me. She would remain by my side constantly. Even when I went to get a drink of water, she would follow me to the kitchen, keeping a close eye on me.

Granted, being at a pet resort would be far different than airplane travel. They would have round-the-clock care, their favorite treats from home, and private playtime together. Yet, I still felt guilty. How would they react when we returned from our trip?

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Lorraina outside
I wasn’t sure how Lorraina would react.

The Drop-Off: Let the Trauma Begin!

On the day of our trip, we harnessed them all in the car. Manic loved car rides and thought we were going to his favorite park for a hike. Jelly seemed neutral about the car ride. She liked to stick her nose out the window, but that day, it was drizzling, so the windows remained closed. Lorraina sensed that something was going on, but she was always a little bit suspicious.

When we got to the pet resort, the rule was to text the main office, and they would get the dogs and lead them inside. I was not sure if this was a protocol they took on because of the pandemic or if this was to reduce the stress and traffic of dropping dogs off. Either way, we texted, got our dogs out of the car, and waited. We spoke to the staff members a week before we planned to drop them off, explaining our dogs’ little quirks (Jelly sometimes fakes injuries for attention, Lorraina hates having her stomach touched, and Manic could escape from Alcatraz).

The staff came, took the dogs, and led them inside. Once Lorraina saw that we were not coming with them, she started to whine and dug her heels into the floor. Jelly did the same thing. And then Manic reacted in the same manner. We jumped into the car and drove away so as not to cause the staff more stress.

Now, I am not a parent, but I think this must be how some moms and dads feel when they drop their kids off at school for the first time and start crying for them.

Jelly side viewJelly side view
Jelly was not happy to be left at the pet resort.

The Pick-Up: Let the Resentment Commence

A few days later, we returned to the pet resort to pick up the trio. After sending the main office a text that we had arrived, we waited patiently outside the car. Three staff members came out in a few minutes, leading Jelly, Lorraina, and Manic. At first, the girls looked stunned to see us, as if they had accepted their new life as a pet resort dog and assumed that we would never return. After the look of shock left their faces, the “angry” barking started.

Lorraina started making sharp, quick barks in rapid succession, wagging her tail and trying to lick any exposed skin on our bodies before we could even get her into the car. I felt like she was trying to tell me that she was furious but deeply loved us at the same time.

Jelly started with the barking as well, but it was a combination of high-pitched yips rather than a full bark. She circled around, yipping as if saying she would never forgive us for abandoning her for what felt like 10 years.

Manic was simply happy to see us and even more thrilled to ride in the car again. He is a simple dog with simple pleasures.

But Jelly and Lorraina were less forgiving. The yipping and angry barking continued for the next 10 minutes while we drove, but then it eventually subsided. Lorraina occasionally cast us a loving glance, just happy to finally be back with her favorite people. Jelly switched between giving us the death stare and looking out the window. She was going to hold a grudge, for sure. Manic, on the other hand, looked transfixed with the world passing him by and the wind flapping his ears—simple pleasures.

Maybe the next time will be easier for them. But it could also fuel more resentment. I guess we will wait and see.

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