|Separation & Social Anxiety is a problem in some dogs and can take years to overcome
The following is my own experience with a very troubled Male Red Doberman
I was called upon the first week of October, 2011 regarding a male red Doberman Pinscher named
Charlie Brown. Charlie, I was told has a very special need. Charlie had just lost his lifetime parents and
did not know why he was taken away from his home, He only knew he was not a happy dog. Charlie I
was told was suffering from a very severe case of separation anxiety, more intense than any other dog
they had seen. If Charlie was to come here he would take a lot of work and it could be years until he
was completely relieved of his anxiety issues. This was something I had to do. How could I turn away
the neediest, most distressed, and displaced Doberman I was asked to take in yet and said "bring him
Soon there was a knock on my door and in walked Charlie Brown,on a lead with his ears sticking
straight off the side of his head, wide eyed, and breathing heavy. The person that was holding the other
end of the leash told me that Charlie Brown did not warm up to men easily but Charlie walked right up
to me,gave me a lick on the nose and said hi. I took him off the lead, took the few things that came
with Charlie , said thank you and closed the door on his old life.
Charlie Brown then met Sydney my dog of seven years, Syd was a lab mix with some Dobe in her.
Sydney had already had a few foster Dobes in the house so Charlie was nothing new to her. Sydney
more or less let Charlie go where he wanted. Charlie Brown went to the bedroom and looked around,
Then he jumped up on the bed and curled up in the far corner. That was Sydney's spot. She let him stay
so we let Charlie Brown sleep.
The next few days were all about Charlie Brown, letting him know he was safe and that he could
wander around and be a dog, there was nothing to worry about and no one was leaving him. Sydney
even found that Charlie was not like any of the other foster dogs that have invaded her home. Sydney
began to form a very strong bond with Charlie Brown. Everything was going great and I thought that in
no time I could have Charlie back to being himself, We just didn't know what "Himself" was for Charlie
I had a neurology appointment and was unsure if leaving Charlie out loose in the house was a good
idea and I had not been told if Charlie was crate trained. I decided to use the crate and pulled it out. I
put the crate in the room I knew Sydney would be so that she could keep Charlie company. I lead
Charlie inside the crate with no problem and thought, This is going well. I closed the door behind me as
I returned a couple of hours later and when I opened the door I found the crate in the same room but
completely torn apart, bars ripped apart at the welds, both doors had been bent off the hinges. I
immediately thought Charlie was going to be in the house injured. The only room I could not see was
the bedroom so I went in expecting the worst. Instead I found Charlie brown curled up in his corner on
the bed, Sydney laying near him.. I checked Charlie over looking for any sign of injury and found none.
Then I noticed the window. The mini blinds had been torn down, ripped apart, and killed on the floor,
The window sill was shredded, and the drywall under the sill had taken a hit and was pretty scratched
up. I went back to Charlie and checked him over again, I looked in his mouth for splinters or broken
teeth and found none. Then I checked his paws for splinters and aside from his really long nails
everything looked fine. It was then I noticed Charlie Brown would let me look in his mouth,roll him over
to check his paws and belly, He never gave me any problems, no grumbles or growls. Charlie Brown
was extremely tolerant. I then looked at Sydney and asked her, " you watched him do all this and never
asked him to stop?" I then walked out of the room without acknowledging what Charlie had done. I just
let him sleep. Charlie was eating good, and all his other functions seemed OK, he didn't have any bowel
problems in the house so I did not worry about a thing.
Charlie had no other problems until December 2011, Christmas eve. Myself, Sydney, and Charlie Brown
all went to my brothers house for the evening, he lives two doors over from me. It was a nice time,
Charlie met the whole family and had a great time. When it was time to leave I brought the dogs home
and I returned to my brothers' to grab a couple of things. I was only there a couple of minutes. When I
got back to my front door I could not get in, I hadn't locked it. I went around to the back door and went
in that way. I was met by Charlie Brown in the kitchen completely stressed and having an episode. I got
down on the floor with Charlie and began talking calmly to him, using his name, telling him it was OK
and he could relax and take it easy. I grabbed some cookies and went out in the yard with Charlie.
Charlie would not leave my side except for a minute and then he was right back. I tried to see if he
could catch a cookie and it just bounced off his nose. We went back inside,turned on the television and
laid out on the couch with Charlie's head in my lap, That was when I noticed the front door. The reason
I could not get in was that Charlie had removed the brass knob from the door, completely destroying it.
I just laid there relaxing with Charlie and again I did not bring Charlie's attention to the door, I just let
him lay there, getting positive reinforcement hanging out with Sydney and myself on the couch.
Months went by and many foster dogs stopped by for a while, Charlie did great with some, others he
would run to his corner on the bed and hide. Sydney had given up her spot to Charlie by this time. I had
learned that as long as Charlie was left home with other dogs, he was fine. He did not eat my house.
Charlie was showing progress. I have had people telling me I was being to easy on Charlie, others told
me he should be put on anti anxiety drugs. I disregarded all of their comments as not a single one had
any experience with separation anxiety in dogs. I admit, neither do I but I am disabled, I have all day
long to read every piece of information I could find online that gave me any insight into his behavior.
Anything that could help the dog that was now being called "my boy". Sydney had let Charlie become
her buddy and she had a great part in Charlie's recovery to this point. They did everything together
and although Sydney did sleep between Charlie and I,She did let him keep her spot. Charlie was
starting to be relaxed in his new home.
Nothing really changed until May of 2013, Charlie was in a daily routine in his new home, he had his
friend Sydney and a string of foster dogs stay with him. The biggest change was the addition of Baxter,
the little white puppy from next door. We took care of Baxter while his Mom was at work. Baxter
started coming over when he was about 14 weeks old. Charlie took to Baxter immediately. They would
chase each other through the house and around in circles. Baxter is no more than eight pounds and
would give Charlie a run for his money. They would always end up sleeping next to each other on the
couch,or on Charlie's bed. They loved to run around out in the yard, No one was going to mess with the
little guy when he had his Charlie with him.
May 6th, 2013 I got a call that my Father had passed. I ran out the front door for the hospital. When I
returned my Nephew had told me that Charlie jumped through the screen in my bedroom window in an
attempt to follow me. Brandon brought Charlie back in the house and closed the windows so Charlie
wouldn't try again. Once more Charlie had done something bad, he made a big mess of another set of
mini blinds and jumped thru a screen I now had to replace. Other owners might have raised their voice
to Charlie,yelled at him,sent him to a corner,or even outside. Once again, I ignored the bad behavior
and began the positive reinforcement reassuring Charlie that he was OK and this was his home too.
A little more than a month later we got the horrible news that cancer was found in Sydney's hip. It was
very aggressive and she would not be with us much longer. On June 18th the vet came to visit Sydney
at home for the lat time. We all went to the bedroom and I held Sydney in my arms as the vet told me
she was gone. Charlie Brown had been laying on the floor with us, his head on my lap and when I lifted
my arm, Charlie Brown gave his Sydney that last lick on the nose. They put Sydney on a stretcher and
carried her out the door. Charlie followed his girl as far as he could.
That event marked two and a half years that Charlie lived in my home with Sydney and Myself. When
my friend from rescue stopped by to visit she entered the house and watched Charlie Brown and
Baxter hanging out together. Being dogs, Charlie did not rush the door and then start prancing around
the room with those big ears stuck out like sails. Christa looked at me and said " You know Charlie is
your's He won't leave here" You belong to Chucky Boy, as she called my Charlie Brown. We decided to
see if Charlie could stay on his own without Baxter and ended Baxter's daily visits. Charlie did great.
Last month marked three years that Charlie Brown has lived here in my home. As I said before,Charlie
has his record of destruction. Four window sills, five window screens, The paint on the front window,
and three drywall repairs. I have never given Charlie Brown any kind of drug,I have never once raised
my voice at him for tearing up out my house. I have never laid a hand on Charlie except to play or
stroke his coat. Separation Anxiety is a very serious condition in some dogs. We never know what
happened to them, If they could talk our job would be easy but they can't. I listen to them with my heart.
I am happy and very proud to say that Charlie Brown is my independent,confident, big red Doberman
Pinscher that watches me pick up my keys and walk out the door,all without my hearing any
crying,whining, and carrying on, He wants to go with me, but when he can't I know that when I get
back home he will be doing nothing but laying on his couch or on my chair. Nothing is
touched,moved,jumped through, or shredded. When I am eating I can place my plate full of food within
his range, He never even attempts to help himself. Charlie Brown has not had a panic attack or
separation anxiety event for over six months now and is a completely different dog, he is now a
goofy,lovable,big red Doberman. I am proud to call him my own. Charlie Brown still can't catch a
cookie,they still bounce off of his nose, his head,every where but his mouth.
December 2015 Christmas Eve, Charlie Brown developed a very dry, horse cough. The vet was closed
so I could not get Charlie in until the 26th, Doc took x-rays and told me that he wanted to schedule an
ultrasound for the following Saturday. I took Charlie home with medication and spent the next week
preparing myself and holding my dog. We went in on Saturday morning for the test, I had to wait what
seemed like forever for the Doctor to tell me the results. A tumor was found taking up most of his chest
cavity. I was told it was terminal and he would not last much longer. I made the decision after the
consult not to let my dog suffer for another second and chose to let him end his life with dignity and
the respect that he deserved. As big of a pain as he was went I took him in, I would repeat every
second to have a dog like Charlie. He is on the shelf above my bed with his sister, Sydney. My first. Do
not let your dogs suffer. Give them the same respect I gave my Charlie and let them go happy, with
love while you hold them in your arms like I did with mine. There is a reason that Dobe Rescue of Mi.
came into my life. It was so that I can learn how to be a true dog owner. I have always been a dog
lover. If you do not understand give me a call and I will explain it to you. 586-362-8496. Now I have
taken on Luna, OHHHHH Boy. Charlie was easy.
Charlie and Dolly Spring 2014
|Charlie & Dolly after Charlie Browns surgery to remove a large fatty tumor.
Nothing left to heal but the hair re-growth, and what better medicine than
Goodnight Charlie, I'll see you
again some day. We will wait for
John together. Tell Sydney.
Your buddy from next door