Friday, July 25, 2008

Stockholm Syndrome

Poor Buddy. I am convinced he has finally given in to symptoms of Stockholm Syndrome; defined in Wikipedia as a psychological response sometimes seen in an abducted hostage, in which the hostage shows signs of loyalty to the hostage-taker, regardless of the risk in which the hostage has been placed.

When then-husband brought Buddy home, we never crated him. He lived free, roaming the house at will, ate when he pleased, lounged as he liked. His work was 24/7 protecting his girl and the other people in his house from thieves and plunderers. I am convinced he thought he was a person.

When I moved to Northern Virginia three years ago, 12 year old Buddy stayed with my sons until we were ready to bring him down to live with us. It took Meg and I time to adjust; it took Buddy a little longer and he was slightly more dramatic. He went insane.

Separation anxiety on acid. I came home one evening to find that Buddy had trashed the house; ripped holes my new couch, broke a lamp shredding the shade to bits, and tried to gain his freedom by digging holes into both my external doors and walls. $400 worth of damage. Not good. I was worried we might have to put him down.

I took him to the vet, where we talked about a lot of things. Not unlike my Vacuum Man Super-like Heroes, he wanted to do $2000 worth of tests on Buddy in an effort to rule out other more organic reasons for his psychotic break. I understood this and appreciated the wisdom of getting a baseline, but I was hard pressed to get $400 to fix my apartment; $2000 on my 12 year old insane dog was, unfortunately, not an option.

We crated him.

Buddy hated the crate. Hated. The. Crate. He wrenched the iron bars apart, he broke the clasps, he flipped it over and would crawl out the larger holes in the bottom. He would somehow manage locomotion to move the crate 10 feet to reach the doors and attempting to dig his way out again.

We drugged him.

Got him a prescription for alprolazam – an anti-depressant. Appreciate, if you will, the fact that if anyone deserves anti-depressants in that house, its me ~ and I don’t have any ~ so for me, the "not an animal person" to get a vet’s prescription to give my dog meds – it’s a big deal. I was vilified for doping him, but I couldn’t keep missing work and Meg couldn’t keep missing school to babysit crazy dog. He was 12, old by any doggie standards, and crate training was devastating him. He’d pant heavily and run when we’d say “Buddy? In the crate!” Every day, it was an ordeal.

Three years later we no longer have to give him daily doses of alprolazam and he has finally accepted the crate as his home, his cave, his life. He is now one with the crate. See? Stockholm Syndrome. Embraced the evil crate, surrendered to it’s (and my alpha-dog) will. He goes in there when he's scared, when he's tired, when he just wants to chill.

I have broken him, and I am sad.


Zamris Habib said...


Brenda said...

This is why I don't have a dog: I couldn't bear to create him!

By the way I found your blog today (via First Life 360) and really enjoy your posts! So I've subscribed to your feed and will be back!

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