Depression
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    Hi everyone, Cafu is our 1 year old black and white Baseji. After one year with him, I am so amazed at how human-like his emotions are. My wife left for a long stay in CA two days ago. Cafu is unrecognizable. He has spent most of the last two days in bed, ate only half of his food, and he has not done any of his typical play, such as running around the house, stealing clothes, etc. I am shocked and now I am depressed as well to see him like this. Any similar experiences?

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  • I've never had one react that strongly to someone's absence. I think I would be making sure there isn't something else going on. Timing could be coincidental and perhaps there is more to this than missing your wife. Has she been gone before with similar results? At least check temperature and respiration to see if they are normal.

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  • Always check for illness... however that said, unless sick, they will not starve themselves. I have never in 30yrs of Basenjis had one that has had that kind of reaction to one of the family members being out of the house. Is your wife the main care giver to Cafu? How much do you interact with him? As long as healthy, take him for walks, spend time with him.. do "mind games" at home..... don't baby him

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    I took him out for walks twice today, and his behavior seems normal out of the house. Temperature seems normal and respiration as well. She did travel before a few months ago, I remember that he seemed down for a few days, but not this bad. We are both caretakers, but he is more attached to her. If she is in a room in the house that he cant enter (closed door), he will show anxiety sometimes. He does not do the same with me. Also, when we come from outside, he greets her more than me.

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    I went away and left my basenji boy with my husband. He was so depressed he would just lay by the door waiting for me to come home. He finally settled down after a few days. When I got home he climbed in my lap and slept for 2 days. It was like he had benn so upset he was exhausted, we took him to the vet and the vet laughed at us. He was fine. He was a very sensitive boy and he did get depressed. Yours might be the same.

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  • They are definitely different in their responses to being left. We left our boy Sunny in a kennel for a couple of days to attend my niece's wedding (back in '99). Came back to pick him up. Staff brought him to the waiting room where on seeing us he promptly turned his back and sat down, totally ignoring us! He was obviously not amused at being left in a kennel for a couple of days. After a little time he decided to forgive us, but he certainly got his point across. We were a lot more choosy about who we left in charge of him when we had to be away after that.

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    He seems to be doing a little better, eating more. Knowing him very well, I can sense that he is very sad. I guess based on the replies that just like people, there is a lot of variation on how the animals respond. Maybe he is a very emotional animal.

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  • My Male was devastated whenever I went away. Moping and not eating. We decided to make it a holiday when I went away and Max got extra walks,longer play time, special chewie
    and special toys that were only brought out when I was gone. No saying "Oh poor baby" "its okay" or anything sad. Only happy and happy voices and lots of love. It worked!!

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  • One thing to be cautious of is not to make too big a deal out of the missing person's return. Anyone who has dealt with separation anxiety will tell you that the more low key departures and returns are the better. Yes, we all love it when our dogs are excited to see us, but feeding that excitement can backfire. If the dog is already reacting badly to someone's absence, making a fuss when they return may accentuate the problem when you leave. For me, ideally I want the reaction to my return to be "oh, you're back", very matter of fact and unexciting. Day to day I preferred it when my dog didn't even get off the couch when I opened the door! A little more acknowledgement after a long trip was fine, but I did not ever want a dog in hysterics just because I came back. Some people encourage this behaviour and wonder why their dog becomes increasingly anxious when they go out.

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  • I'm the main caregiver, so while my daughter is the MOST LOVED, Cara does get upset when I am gone. If possible, maybe she can skype with Caru. Our basenji, Cara, loved to see my daughter on skype when she was in France... even tried to bring her toys to throw.

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    @DebraDownSouth I was going to suggest that maybe a phone conversation might help. When I was a kid, our family dog was most attached to our Mother so when she unexpectedly landed in the hospital, the dog was just beside himself. After about 3 or 4 days, Mom called the house & wanted to talk to the dog & Skip got geared up like she just walked in the door!!! So we "allowed" Skip a phone call to Mom about every other day & both did okay! But when she came home, Skip stayed by her side for about a week except to eat & go out to relieve himself. But now days, with skype ~ Deb, that's an excellent idea!!

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