Finnegan, Our Dachshund

So as some of you may know, Chelsea and I moved into a new house about a month ago. We couldn’t be happier with the move and we love the house. It’s the place we’re going to grow together and form our lifelong memories. However, there has been one “person” involved with the move who hasn’t been quite as happy — Finnegan. Finne, our 12lb dachshund, has always been anxiety-ridden when we leave the house. He makes a mess in the house that we always have to clean up. But, it’s usually contained to a rug that’s been designated his. When we moved to the new house Finne became overwhelmed with anxiety. He has chewed and clawed on the doors, destroyed shoes, eaten the vertical blinds and found things to chew on that we didn’t know we even had.

On the advice of a dog trainer we decided to record his behavior while we were gone (yesterday, to get Chelsea a new car). When we came back we found the usual pee on a mat and a pair of my (valuable) flip flops (my fault, I shouldn’t have left them out) destroyed. When we watched the video we saw something so terrible to watch — a dog with overwhelming anxiety and in genuine pain while we’re gone.

Finne is so much more than a pet. He’s family. I would give up everything I’ve earned in this life, aside from Chelsea, for him. To see him with such anxiety breaks our hearts. Our special dog is horrified while we’re gone.

This got me thinking about a TED Talk I saw a few months ago given by Carl Safina, one of the leading scientists and professors of animal ecology.

Finne displays so much emotion – things we typically associate with humans – so it’s hard not to associate him as such. We wonder what he thinks, what he feels and how his past has shaped him into what he is today. Finne was rescued from a no-kill shelter in Boca Raton, FL, but what was his life like before he got lucky and landed at Animal Aid? Why is he so filled with anxiety with my wife, his savior, leaves the house?

It’s easy to dismiss dogs and animals as not having the emotional capacity that humans do. But, the older I get, the more I think about how human Finne is, and all animals are. Being a part of Finne’s life has made me so much more compassionate and sympathetic towards little guys like him.

Getting home yesterday and seeing Finne in that video reinforces how much we care for him, and how special a dog he really is. While Chelsea and I won’t be able to stop working until long after he’s gone, we hope that with some training we can make his day a little better. It’s not about us and how we have to clean up his mess; it’s about reducing the anxiety in our little guy and making his world better.