In one of my earlier attempts at resolving Ray’s separation anxiety, I thought that it would be a distinct advantage to be able to monitor him while I was away. Technology came to my assistance in the form of Skype!
I created two Skype accounts, one for Ray and one for me, then all I had to do was to find an internet access point away from home and set up a Skype connection with Ray.
There was a slight learning curve in that the sound at Ray’s end must be turned on so I could hear him, but the sound at my end must be turned off so that he didn’t hear anything unusual and get really stressed! His hardware was an old laptop with a separate webcam plugged into it, all of which was placed on the stove in the kitchen. The stove was considered the most strategic place as the webcam would “see” 99% of the kitchen from there. For the purposes of this training, Ray was restricted to the kitchen by a gate at the kitchen entrance doorway.
After a number of “dry runs” and the inevitable fine tuning, I was ready to test! I left Ray and went out the back door, and walked around to the front porch and logged in from there. There he was, just curled up on the kitchen floor seemingly quite relaxed. Test passed!
Being totally confident that I could leave him for much longer (he had managed 30 minutes unmonitored with no apparent problems), I took a walk to our local Tim Hortons (a coffee shop) with the expectation of relaxing with a coffee and using their WiFi to get me connected. Everything went fine until I actually connected with his Skype account and found myself looking at an empty kitchen! Where was he?
Our kitchen includes a small seating area which overlooks the garden so there are a number of visual obstructions however, hiding a 75lb dog would be difficult so where was he? I knew that there was a blind spot right in front of the stove but if he was there, surely he would have appeared by now? Perhaps he had forced his way through the gate and was wandering around the house or, more seriously, charging around looking for me!
After studying the scene in front of me, and not seeing any sign of Ray, I decided to quickly get back home and see what was happening. It was at that moment when I saw a large black object moving slowly across my screen. For a brief moment I was at a total loss as to what it was, but then it moved slightly away from the camera ….. it was Ray’s nose! He was “counter surfing!”
It all makes sense now because the “blind spot” in front of our stove would include the cabinet on one side of it. On the top of this cabinet is where food is prepared and therefore Ray’s favorite place to hang out. It would appear that he took full advantage of his freedom to thoroughly check out the edge of the counter and, subsequently, the top of the stove!
Unfortunately, and due to a number of other events taking precedence, his separation anxiety issue was put on hold for quite some time however, I can see that we will soon (once again) be addressing it and (once again) will be taking advantage of Skype!