Monday, April 12, 2010
April is Stress Awareness Month
April is Stress Awareness Month. In the previous blog, we’ve talked about how our wonderful Sibes help us to de-stress (I love The Thundering Herd’s description of a "Sibe blanket!"), but now let’s turn the tables and discuss how we can help them.
Right at this exact moment while looking at my FiveSibes sleeping peacefully, with a couple basking in the sun (yes, I have two who just love sunbathing, go figure-I think they missed the “Siberian” memo), while the other three are stretched out in their shady happy place, one would think “no stress here.” While true, there are many who do experience stress or wind up in stressful situations. Even my wooly boy did two years ago, when there he was totally enjoying life as a Sibe pup, getting spoiled, growing up, and falling in love with our alpha girl. It was a year of bliss for him. Then suddenly, three crazy, frisky, jumping, crying, talking Sibe pups dropped in…and not for a visit, they came to stay. My poor boy just sat on the grass in the backyard and stared off into space and drooled. I seriously thought I did some type of damage. I even had a dog whisperer come to be sure we were blending the Sibes well and not doing them any emotional harm. We got the trainer's "thumbs-up" and thank goodness, with lots of TLC and time alone with his Husky love and us (and lots of private car rides that included stops to MickyD’s for vanilla ice cream), my beautiful boy came around. He even decided the three pests were not so bad. It did all take time and patience and lots of hugs and reassuring. Introducing one new member to the pack family is stressful enough, but we had that times three! Although the optimal way would be a slow and easy introduction, it was not an option here at that time. What I did was make sure our first two had their special times, their special walks and car rides, and their own down time away from the pups. My daughter tended to the pups, so they were well taken care of while the older two had their special time with me. Now they are a very close-knit Sibe family that is frequently seen in (as in the above photo) what we call the “Husky Huddle!”
Stress can come in various forms, even for the happiest of Sibes for just like with the Hu-family, situations arise. Separation anxiety is one that a lot of pets experience. For example, when our three pups first came home from the breeder, they slept together in one crate before we began the separation process into individual crates as they started to grow. To help ease their anxiety, along with us camping out on the floor with them 24/7 for a few days, their constant companion was the TV (my baby boy loved rock videos – he was weaned on the radio listening to AC/DC, Def Leppard, etc., while his two sisters loved cartoons as my daughter had them hooked on those!) Sometimes, we had to search for Disney movies as a happy medium as they had the marriage of both cartoons and music! Rescue Remedy and Comfort Zone were two more constant companions at the time. Occasionally, we will still use a little Comfort Zone spray when needed. (Not to product endorse, but that stuff is GREAT!) These days, the only times our Sibes get stressed is when one of us in the Hu-family is stressed or if one of the their Sibe family splits from the group for a solo walk or visit to the vet. When that happens, one of us steps in and keeps them calm and occupied until the other Sibe member returns. (And we still keep the music and cartoons on standby!)
Until next time, stay well and stress-free! Now let's go get some Sibe kisses!