Alas, Cocoa, our one-year-old standard poodle, did not like the time I spent away from him–a few yards away, outside the fenced-in backyard–trimming bushes and trees in the front yard. He barked. A lot.
Our dog trainer (really adult owner trainer) told us that Cocoa barks because he is afraid of being left–abandonment fear, in human psychology. He told us to ignore it and that Cocoa will stop. Today, it helped, sometimes. Still, I was frustrated by the barking.
Then, I remembered how a friend of mine is sure her friends don’t like her if we tell her we can’t do something she wants or needs us to do. She then does her own version of barking. To be honest, I can feel, and speak, that way sometimes, too.
I remind my friend, “It’s not always about you, you know. Sometimes, people just can’t do or be exactly what we want, for their own very good reasons.” She usually says, “I know, but its scary.” I try to remind myself, too.
I can’t reason with Cocoa, but I can always come back to him. He can learn that he is safe.
The truth is that most of us, not just Cocoa, have fears of being left alone. And the truth is that we never are. God never goes away. Maybe if I remembered that more often, Cocoa would feel safer, too.