Salvation came for Zeke in the form of a crate. (If you look closely, you can see him through the door.)
Being a scientist, when Zeke’s behavior from separation anxiety became unmanageable, I started to research. And most of the final resolution will be achieved through retraining. But what to do in the interim? We were to the point where we rarely went away. When we did, we factored in, could we take Zeke with us? Mercifully, the worst behavior occurred over the holidays. I had quite a bit of time off from work and we had understanding and gracious family who welcomed him at holiday gatherings. My mother-in-law even said he was an angel as he slept under the dining room table during Christmas dinner. Just don’t leave him alone. It awakens the beast.
My husband and I also tried to schedule our responsibilities so our time away from home did not overlap. We were mostly successful. This was no way to live. So, I called various dog control agencies seeking a crate that might hold Zeke. From them and on line searches I discovered the Impact High Anxiety crate. It is the only crate I found that is guaranteed against damage, even destruction from the dog, for two years.
This crate comes with a hefty price tag but it is guaranteed. If it worked, Zeke’s life was worth the cost. There was brief pondering, after some of his more destructive episodes to our home, if we would have to put him down. Luckily these were brief considerations and are now in the past. We decided we couldn’t do that to a dog that wasn’t aggressive. Also, what it would do to me would not be pretty.
So I pursued the Impact crate. It is made of aircraft grade metal with marine quality butterfly latches and a large metal main door latch. It has many, small ventilation holes to prevent the dog from getting its mouth in them. The turn around time was approximately three weeks. This is a small, family owned company that makes the product on demand. And then 5-7 days to ship from Idaho to Ohio. This seemed an eternity.
I must have sounded desperate because our crate showed up in about a week. I did tell the lovely lady on the phone about Zeke trashing the dining room. She was sympathetic and I am so grateful. You can see Zeke’s crate between the “normal” crates of two of our other dogs.
Life is back to normal. At least as normal as it ever gets around here. We can go away for a few hours. Of course there is much retraining still to be done with Zeke. This will be a work in progress and I will continue to report on that. To date, Zeke has only put a few surface scratches on the paint of the new crate and I don’t foresee that changing. I even anticipate being able to foster dogs again in a couple of months.
I can’t help but think that part of Zeke’s purpose may be to teach me greater patience and humility. And just maybe to share his tale and trials in the hopes of helping another.