Living With Mary: A New Normal

A quiet evening with Mary at home

      There are many things that I wish I could change in this world. World peace, hunger, homelessness, violence and so many more things and not necessarily in that order even, but there is one thing that I really really wish that I could change right here where I live, actually here in my home.

      As most of you have read in the last few blogs, Mary and I have moved to a new place. It’s a highrise building that has a lot of things going for it. They are as follows;

*Cheaper rent

*No utilities

*Better building

*Garbage disposal (I have NEVER
had one before)

*Special area for dogs to potty (BAGS PROVIDED!!!)

*Maintenance crew (is AWESOME!)

*Each apartment has smoke alarms

*Each apartment has built in sprinklers here in case of fire

*Each hallway has built in sprinklers encase of fire

*Brand new carpet

*Brand new paint on the walls

*Large closets

*Friendly building daytime manager

*Friendly building night time manager

*Friendly neighbors (Mostly)

*Animal friendly building

*Two brand new elevators

*Balcony (Awesome view)

*A/C provided

*Laundry facilities provided

*Library on first floor

*A service coordinator on site

*Group Transportation Service for
grocery shopping

      All of this sounds great right? I mean all the way down the line. Great for me, great for Mary. Life is good and it’s a sweet deal. I mean this place is really very nice. It’s a 1 bedroom where before I had two bedrooms but this place is the right size for me (and Mary).

Almost ready for a afternoon nap

      Only one fly in the ointment. Only one reason why I’m having a hard time with this new place that Mary and I moved to. Can you guess what that could be? Yep, the princess herself hates this place. I’m not being sarcastic it’s just fact. 😦

      We moved on the 1st of July and before the first week was out I had the first clue that she hates it with a passion. July 1st was a wednesday and on the 5th when I came back from church, as I stepped off of the elevator on the 6th floor, I heard HOWLING, from my apartment. Not crying and whining. Not whimpering….HOWLING! Like she was mourning my death or hers. Apparently she had been doing that most of the time I was gone. The walls are made of concrete so I’m not sure how many people heard through their own walls, but if they were in the hallway, oh man, yeah there was no way of missing that awful sound, trust me. Mary is almost 13 years old, but she has a very powerful set of lungs.

      So the next day I call and set up a vet appointment for the following day to see about getting her yearly shots (they were due at the end of the month of July) and seeing about how I could help her adjust to this new place and if possible getting something that would take the edge of her anxiety and keep us from being kicked out on top of that. Even the best of neighbors are only going to overlook so much.

      I explained to the Vet that Mary has never been like this before. Shoot, even when I left to go run errands she wouldn’t bark if someone knocked on the door. Family and friends were the ones who clued me in on that when they would come for a visit and I wasn’t there. They could hear her prancing and walking around by the door but she wouldn’t bark unless I was home. She’s just always been a quiet girl unless I’ve been near. We talked about her age and options and it wasn’t pretty.

      Even though we went from one apartment building to another one, everything is different.

*I’ve completely disrupted her life where everything is changed

*She’s less than 3 months away from being 13 years old

*Caracts, the Vet said that she can still see rather well but it’s just going to get worse

      So the solution was two fold or so it seemed. 1.) I was to do exercises with her, which I am still working on. Leaving her in the apartment and going outside the apartment for a minute at a time and then coming back. Retraining her for my absence so to speak and increasing the time each day. And 2.) Giving her a dose of a medication called, ACE that is to work as a doggie tranqualizer.

      The Vet asked me…Did I want to take the edge off of her before I leave? Or do I want to just have her full out sleep while I’m gone? My thought was just to take the edge off. This medication takes 3 hours to fully get into her system and be working. So if I want to leave around 3 or 3:30pm then I need to give this medication no later than noon of the same day and it lasts for about 8-10 hours.

I had only given Mary a half of a ACE pill. Right before I left to wash clothes. She rolled out of that little bed and then rolled over to face me and the look on her face before I took her picture was like, "What happened? How did I get off the bed?"

      So…..I gave her a half of a pill. These pills are already marked so that it’s easy to break a pill in half or even into fourths. Which is handy. And it’s a 75 mg pill. I was definitely praying that this would work. I mean I don’t want her miserable and I also don’t want us to be kicked out of the building right? So I give her the medication and I wait a longer period of time. I waited 4 hours, thinking it’s going to work and she’s going to go to sleep because she can’t walk a straight line. When I took her out to potty and she squatted she tipped over. I leave with clothes to wash, come back an hour later and she’s HOWLING again.

      So, a few days later I tried again. I had to leave, I had a few errands that I had to run and I knew that I would only be gone just over a hour, because I was taking the bus and the other part of the time I would be walking. I wasn’t going to be gone all that long. I gave her a pill and waited 4 hours again and then left. I hurried because I wasn’t sure what would happen after I left. Granted Mary didn’t get up to walk me to the apartment door, but I thought that meant that she would soon be fast asleep, that’s the normal thought of what was going to happen, right?

      I hurried and I hurried and made it home as quickly as I could. I was anxious and yet dreading when the elevator would open because I was a bit scared of what I would hear. Would I hear silence? Would I hear Mary howling? Would there be neighbors pounding on the ouside of my door? I just didn’t know….

      And the time comes, the elevator stops at my floor, the door opens and I step out. And there it was….I could hear her whimpering, whining and crying….I’m truly STUMPED! Mary is just not happy here when I’m not here. At all. There for awhile she was doing better I thought and then there was someone who stepped onto the elevator when I got back from running an errand and the woman was complaining about Mary and didn’t know it was us. I thoroughly apologized to her.

      The building manager and the asisstant manager told me that it just takes time and that all we can do is try to ride it out and keep trying. That Mary has to have time to adjust and to keep trying to work with her. And then it was pointed out to me that it’s in my lease about no barking or whining and all after 10pm which the neighbor that pointed that out was smiling and trying to tell me to lighten up. Dogs are gonna bark during the day. Granted there is a difference between howling and whining.  Which Mary, even when I have to leave for just a little bit to run errands or whatever, is never left alone later than 6pm.

Tired & happy from a long walk that we had

      A friend of mine here in town, made the comment about what a fighter and how determined this little girl (Mary) is, because her dog who is on the same medication and goes to sleep. Her dog is twice Mary’s size and weight takes the same thing and it puts her dog out. Anyway, my friend mentioned what a fighter Mary is because she was/is so determined to not sleep and will cry for me through the medication until I *listen* and come home to her.

      So far nothing has worked, medication, those exercises and also leaving a movie on the tv so that she can listen to it while I’m gone. I know it’s going to be okay eventually, it’s just waiting to get to that point. At least the last few times she hasn’t actually howled, it’s been whining and crying when I step off the elevator. Which I never want her to ever be that upset, I want her to be able to relax and have a comfortable life. At the very least a nap on her own when I leave for a bit.

      I have a new respect for anyone who has a furbaby that has any type of anxiety disorder. Not that I didn’t before, it’s just now….I have a deeper understanding of what you’re going through.

      Until next time. Love on those furkids! 🙂

Kari Lee


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