I Almost Lost My Dog to Separation Anxiety

Summer of 2017, I faced my biggest public shaming to date. I had asked a friend of mine, who runs a famous dog-centered Instagram account, to announce that my dog, a regal 65-lb Goldendoodle named Bentley, was up for re-homing.

Stephanie Asmus

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The post immediately blew up and I was inundated with hundreds of messages of people around the country eagerly trying to rescue my dog from the heartless monster that was, me.

The guilt and shame people approached me with was unbearable. I cried daily. What people didn’t understand was I loved and cared for my dog more than anything, but his separation anxiety was ruining my life.

Quick Back Story

I actually rescued, then 9-month-old, Bentley after stumbling upon a bizarre broken-English Craigslist ad. I found XL Bentley living in a XS crate, severely underweight and dehydrated, and most confusingly — shaved to the skin with nicks and razor burn. After his recovery at the vet, Bentley would spend the next year overcoming fears of the unknown (leaves, manhole covers, wind, cars), learning to run in his now adult-sized body and drinking my toilet bowl dry every night, as a survival instinct from not knowing when he’d get water again. To this day, he sleeps with a nightlight and a very real fear of the dark.

In many respects, Bentley had grown into the perfect dog. He had hair, peed outside, sat, stayed and shook paws upon request. He walked so good on a leash I’d forget to leash him at all, he never begged (except for me to brush his teeth…honestly), didn’t chew things or ever attempt to eat children. He had even become the perfect adventure dog, going on long runs through the woods, cannon-balling into lakes and streams, running along side me on my bike, and always eagerly coming back to me when beckoned.

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Stephanie Asmus

Austin-based designer, writer, and entrepreneur. www.stephasmus.com | IG/@stephasmus