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I am on a mission. To rescue my daughter Sarah from a loving but distraught relationship she has with her anxiety ridden dog Wiley. At twenty, my daughter committed to rescuing Wiley from someplace down south (as a pup). Wiley is a boxer/husky mix with blue eyes. Sarah is now twenty six and Wiley has broken her emotionally as I witnessed yesterday. For six years she has loved the dog (as do I, he's almost human) trained the dog (and took him to a trainer), fed the dog, medicated the dog — it is her "baby", all while going to college, working and living on her own. She now lives in her third apartment in which Wiley's destructive behavior while being left alone is mounting. He has literally scratched the moulding OFF several of the doors, knocked over the TV and plants, ripped up bedding and what more can I tell you. She broke down while I was there yesterday. She has no freedom anymore. She can't afford the anti-anxiety meds anymore. She can't leave him on his own and it's killing her to even discuss giving him up – which is what I'm trying to convince her is the right thing to do. It has to be a break-up. So what do I do? Who do I contact. Is there anybody or organization who can help me? Veterinarians just want to sell dog prozac and have little practical advice. I will not standby and see my daughter stressed out anymore. I need the name of some organizations who would take a chance on him. At least my daughter will know that he's getting a second chance with someone and not a shelter/cage. She and Wiley live in Rhode Island.
 

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I am making assumptions about Wiley and the severity of his separation issues, so take what I say with a grain of salt.

Separation anxiety IS treatable but it is a long road, and medication like fluoxetine is often a large player on that road. I know you are looking for resources to surrender the dog. But if your daughter is looking for training resources, I recommend Malena DeMartini's "Mission Possible" course. She is the nation's leading expert for separation anxiety and her course is virtual, self-led, but with professional advice. I believe it is $99.

Not many shelters will take a dog with true separation anxiety. And if I were you I would be wary, and ask plenty of questions, if a shelter easily said yes. I don't fault owners for thinking that surrendering is a kind option as it gives the dog another chance at a home. But the reality is dogs with severe separation anxiety are very hard to place. My heart goes out to your daughter because people really do start to feel like prisoners in their own homes when they have SA dogs. That said, when people are walking through a shelter looking for a nice companion, how many are going to willingly take in a dog who literally cannot be left alone without significant investment in daycare, sitters, medication, etc? So the truth of the matter is dogs with severe behavior challenges like this sit in shelters longer. And a shelter is one of the worst places for dogs with SA. Not only are the dogs rarely ever with people, but they live in pretty much a box surrounded by other distressed, barking dogs day in and day out. On top of that, SA dogs present poorly because when they do meet people, they are often frantic and their existing anxiety compounded by shelter stress may also cause them to present other undesirable behaviors. These dogs are also poor candidates for fostering because even foster families have normal needs, like getting out of the house to get groceries. For those reasons, I think it is inhumane to surrender a dog with severe SA to a shelter, even if the choice is considered with the best of intentions for all parties. I think a home to home situation is much better, but it is still a hard sell.

Again, I am making the assumption that Wiley has classic "separation anxiety" and I could be wrong. Though even by your post, it sounds bad but not horrible. Destruction is normal. I've seen dogs literally try to claw their way out to the point where their nails are bloody stumps, and they sit, shaking, in their own blood and urine every time they are alone. Also dogs who jump out of glass windows in order to find their person. So, it could be worse. But it could be better. If your daughter does seek to rehome, I think it would be reasonable to ask that the adopters put the 'rehoming fee' towards signing up for the training program, so that they show initiative in helping Wiley get better. But she would need to be absolutely transparent about the degree of his anxiety. I've spent hours of my life counseling would-be adopters about separation anxiety because when people see a cute dog, they literally cannot envision what it is like to live with an SA dog. I ask questions like "who will watch this dog be when you need to do a 20 min grocery trip?" And when they give a casual answer (ex. 'oh he'll be fine for 20min') I paint them the very real picture of how much damage a dog can do in 20 min.
Best of luck.

EDIT: Meant to add one more thing. I am in no way speaking for 'shelters' as a whole because each is different. But even if a shelter was willing to take Wiley, there is still the possibility that they may euthanize him if his behavior deteriorates in the shelter. They would make a difficult choice like that for the sake of the animals' quality of life. Different shelters have different policies on if owners are notified should that decision become a possibility.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you Canyx.
Your comments are well received and truthful no matter how difficult the situation is. My daughter Sarah and I have pretty much arrived at your conclusions and there are no good solutions here. We will continue to “rehome” Wiley and hope for the best. Thank you again. Your response should be bricks & mortar reading on dog forums.com
 

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I was talking with my Aunt, who is a vet tech. She let me know that there are vets who do behavior training. Google search "behavioral veterinarians" and see if there's anything in your daughters area. They do evalutations, perscribe meds, and do training to help the dog.
 

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I don't know if the OP will see this reply, but have you ever tried a crate? My dog is crated while I am gone at work because he is a trash can and will chew up and eat things. He likes his crate though and doesn't try to escape or anything. I know some SA dogs don't do well in crates, but if you haven't tried crate training, you might consider it. You can condition the dog to see the crate as his "safe" space. I know it might seem "mean" to keep a dog in a crate, but they can really see it as a place of calm and safety, especially when they are anxious.

I also saw a post once on facebook where a person used a stuffed dummy of a human being that they set on the couch when they left and it helped their dog a lot.
 
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