My son went off to college, leaving my husband and me with his five-year old dog. It’s only been two days, but I can see that the dog is very depressed that he’s gone. Actually, we all are. What can I do to cheer him up?
Short of having your son attend a local college and live at home, nothing is going to instantly cure your dog’s blues. What will add to his sorrow is if you become his partner in commiseration and mope around the house, in essence, reassuring him that something is terribly wrong, through your actions and emotions.
Since the dog and your son were very close, you and your husband probably didn’t factor into his life. Now you have the responsibility of not only tending to his daily needs but also forming a strong emotional bond with him. Just by doing the basic tasks of feeding, walking and showing him affection will help cheer him up. To accelerate the attachment process, try and spend quality time together. Going on a hike, taking him to dog training class, or becoming a certified pet therapy team will all do wonders for both his (and your) state of mind. If you’re away home a lot during the day, consider our Playcare or Fast Track program. Designed to keep your dog’s mind and body busy, it’s a great alternative to having him be alone and moping at home.
By committing yourself to forming a relationship with the dog, I promise that by the time your son goes back to college after his next school break, his dog will have a much easier time adjusting. As for you and your husband – keep the Kleenex handy!