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Daisy – My Stress Gauge-O-Meter

September 18, 2011 Leave a comment Go to comments

Roxanne Hawn recently wrote a touching post about how her absence and some very stressful life events are impacting her dog, Lilly. I could so relate to her sadness about how Lilly was reacting to that stress by hiding in dark places.

It’s an awful feeling when you realize that your stress is impacting your dog. You feel both guilty and sad.

Daisy is especially attuned to my emotions and stress (just as Lilly seems to be with Roxanne’s). When I am stressed out Daisy reverts back to a lot of her old behaviors: staying in her kennel (her safe spot) for longer periods of time, pacing back and forth near the back door because she is afraid to come through the doorway to come inside (doorways are often a problem for puppy mill dogs), pacing inside nervously, even hiding out in her kennel and refusing to go outside even though she really has to go potty.

I have learned over time that reading Daisy’s behavior is so very important, not only as a gauge to her own health and well-being, but also to mine.

It makes me wonder how much more dogs have to teach us if we only just pay attention? I’m still learning.

  1. September 19, 2011 at 2:17 AM

    I hear ya. It doesn’t take much for me notice with 6 dogs how they are reacting to my stress. It is helping me catch it quicker, but it’s not always easy. Sometimes life just gets ya.

    • Mel
      September 19, 2011 at 4:58 AM

      With 6 dogs I’ve got to think it’s like having 10 foot speakers in your house. but, I know what you mean. When we’re in our everyday stuff it’s hard to pay attention and catch it right away.

  2. September 19, 2011 at 6:56 AM

    So I guess the lesson is that if you really want to be kind to your dogs, you’ll take very good care of yourself.

    A nice massage? I’m doing it for the dogs. Happy hour with friends? Hey, it’s important for the dogs. A nice nap on rainy afternoon? Yep, it’s really important for the dogs.

    Here’s hoping you do lots of things to relieve the dogs’ (and your) stress levels. 🙂

    • Mel
      September 19, 2011 at 9:01 PM

      I’m all for a massage! Better yet, happy hour! Maybe we could all wear our sombreros and drink margaritas? The dogs could accompany us with their own sombreros too! Already I feel less stressed. Daisy too! 🙂

  3. September 19, 2011 at 8:36 AM

    Thanks so much, Mel, for mentioning me and Lilly and our sad, sad state right now. With her surgery for a possibly cancerous tumor set for this Weds, I’m terrified that my stress is the cause … like she took on my negative energy over these last 2+ years. I know it sounds weird, but I blame myself (in similar) fashion for the loss of our dog Cody years ago. His cancer came out of nowhere (seemingly), and we lost him 10 days later. That was during the time that led to my big transition to full-time freelancing. I was very stressed.

    I’ve really tried over the weekend not to obsess, but I’ve pretty much worried myself “sick” … over Lilly and over the ongoing thing with my mom’s health.

    I only have a 1/2 day to work today because I’m going with my mom to see her cardiologist this afternoon. I’d better get to it.

    Deep breaths and big hugs all around.

    • Mel
      September 19, 2011 at 8:58 PM

      Oh Roxanne. I couldn’t help but think of you all day and what you are going through right now. I will be thinking of both you and Lilly on Wednesday and hoping for good news. Let us hope it is not cancer.

      I am so sorry that you feel so much guilt over Lilly and Cody. Why do you negate the possibility that the cancer with Cody was from genetics? Or, the environment? Or, just plain old bad luck? My friend lost her Leinie the same way. Suddenly and unexpected. I don’t think she had any extra stress in her life that could have caused Leinie to get cancer, although I can ask her. I hope you stop worrying yourself sick. From one worrier to another? It never helps.

      I am so hoping you at least had some good news from the cardiologist today.

      Hey God! Could you give Roxanne a break here???

  4. September 19, 2011 at 11:40 AM

    It is amazing how connected they are to us – My dog gets especially upset when my husband is stressed out . . or when he is really excited and screams at the television during a sporting event 🙂 I like the idea of getting a massage, happy hour, and naps . .afterall, we owe it to them, don’t we?? Hope you and Daisy are feeling less stressed soon!

    • Mel
      September 19, 2011 at 8:46 PM

      LOL! Yes we do Julie! Happy Hour anyone??
      Does your dog feel your husband’s stress more than yours? Or just as much? So interesting.

      • September 20, 2011 at 9:52 PM

        I think I’m better at hiding my stress than he is 😉

      • Mel
        September 20, 2011 at 10:05 PM

        I want to be you Julie! 🙂

  5. Jen
    September 19, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    Elka gets agitated when I do the dishes. Truth be told, I hate doing dishes, so I guess I can’t blame her!

    Sometimes dogs are so in tune with us, that it surpasses our own self awareness. The relationships that we all have are truly amazing.

    • Mel
      September 19, 2011 at 8:45 PM

      Why do you think it’s the dishes Jen? (Pssst! I hate doing the dishes too!) If my dogs opposed dish wash I might be liable to give it up. I love your description “Sometimes dogs are so in tune with us, that it surpasses our own self awareness. ” Isn’t that the truth?

  6. September 19, 2011 at 12:24 PM

    Hear, hear, Pamela! I’ve heard of blaming the dog, but how much better to thank the dog for all the fun and stress reducing things you’re doing. Shhh, I think I hear Frankie telling me to go eat a piece of apple bread right now.

    Mel, here’s to you and Daisy having far less stress in your lives from now on. And of course you too, Rox. I hope you know you can’t really “give” a dog cancer. Stress can impinge on the immune system but it’s not carcinogenic.

    • Mel
      September 19, 2011 at 8:43 PM

      LOL! I loved Pamela’s response too. Oh! The thought of a happy hour brought about by my dog!
      Agree with you about Roxanne giving her dog cancer Edie.

      BTW – What is Apple Bread? Yum!

      • September 20, 2011 at 9:32 AM

        Thanks for the laugh, Edie. I’ll try to stop believing I’m carcinogenic. ;o) And, Thanks, Mel, for the let’s-give-Rox-a-break shout out. I’ve been waiting more than 2 years for that, and it just hasn’t happened yet. Someday.

      • Mel
        September 20, 2011 at 10:07 PM

        Shall I give another shout out tomorrow? 🙂
        I really am hoping for good news for you and Lilly Roxanne.

  7. September 19, 2011 at 4:27 PM

    I definitely see this with Buster – not so much with Ty, but he’s more like a cat than a dog. 🙂 The importance of taking care of ourselves … just one more thing our dogs can teach us. I hope life is more peaceful for all your sakes.

    • Mel
      September 19, 2011 at 8:41 PM

      I love that you guys always say Ty is like a cat. Makes me smile. The only thing he’s missing is the “meow”.
      I can totally see Buster being sensitive to stress. German Shepherds are so sensitive to what their humans are feeling. I like that. Dogs teaching us to take care of ourselves. 🙂

  8. September 20, 2011 at 12:19 PM

    I have seen this in Bella too – she’s very sensitive to the emotions in the house. She even used to get stressed when my husband would get worked up while playing a video game, so I had to point out to him that he needed to be calmer!

    • Mel
      September 20, 2011 at 10:07 PM

      Can’t blame Bella on the video games AJ. Daisy doesn’t like it either.
      It’s funny how much the really do read us.

  9. September 20, 2011 at 2:57 PM

    The only time I can ever remember my dog reacting strongly to my emotions is when I started freaking out about the moth flying around our living room. I hate moths, even thinking of them makes me shudder, and I immediately jumped up and started dancing around for fear it would come near me. Shiva had been fast asleep but she must have sensed my emotions freaking out as she instantly woke up, jumped off the couch, and started barking at me. At me! Like I had somehow disturbed her. Sheesh.

    I agree with the others. If you won’t take care of yourself for your own sake, let it at least be for your dog’s sake. Totally justitifies that extra glass too. 🙂

    • Mel
      September 20, 2011 at 10:06 PM

      LOL! My freak out would be spiders. Eeek!
      I can just imagine Shiva barking at you too!

  10. September 23, 2011 at 12:08 AM

    Since I’m late to the party, here’s the plan
    #1 – Everyone and their dogs put on sombreros
    #2 – WE get a human AND canine massage therapist to come over & give us massages
    #3 -AFTER or during massages – your choice. Humans get extra strength margaritas, doggies get extra large bully sticks.

    Sounds like a great de-stressing plan to me 😀

    • Mel
      September 23, 2011 at 6:33 AM

      Ha! Now THAT sounds like a great way to de-stress! I wonder if Daisy would wear the sombrero?

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