Hachiko Syndrome?

Ray is clearly attached to both of us however, I have to concede that if he had to choose between us, I would not win!

I am very happy with this situation because dealing with his separation anxiety as it relates to me is a minor challenge when compared to what Carol has to work with!

When she left for work, he would originally whine for a few moments and then find me and settle down for the day. He would then stay pretty calm until the evening when Carol was due home and his “built-in clock” told him that it would be soon. A car turning into our driveway would put him on alert, regardless of the fact that it was not Carol’s car.

More recently however, he would seem to be displaying something close to Hachiko (aka Hachi) symptoms. For the benefit of anybody who does not know Hachi, he was a dog in Japan who had a book written about him. The book was the inspiration for a movie starring Richard Gere, but the location was transposed to the U.S. It is a lovely movie which is why I will not give the story away.

Anyway, now when Carol leaves, his first reaction when the back door closes is to run through into the living room and jump up onto a chair so that he can see out of the window which overlooks our driveway. If he does not see her he returns to the back door and waits, after which he runs through and back onto the chair to look out of the window again. He will stay there for quite some time, just looking outside, but will eventually will settle down and have a relatively relaxed day………… unless a car pulls into the driveway! 2015 02 18

Our location is proving a sensitive issue with Ray. We live on a street with free parking, but at the end of our street is a road with numerous retail businesses which includes a broad array of restaurants. To park near those businesses means feeding a parking meter, so what often happens is cars turn onto our street for a free parking spot and use our driveway to turn around (as parking is only allowed on our side of the street).

You can probably imagine Ray’s reaction every time a car uses our driveway. Just recently, he took his “enthusiasm” to a new level. He heard a noise outside and jumped up onto the chair but, for some reason, decided that the nearby coffee table would give a better vantage point! When 75lbs of dog lands on a coffee table, with numerous potted plants happily sitting there, the plants do not respond particularly well!

Ray appeared to realize that, in hindsight, not only was that a bad decision on his part, but it gained him nothing.  To be fair, he has not done it since, but waiting for Carol is still a problematic time for him. Hachiko syndrome perhaps?

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23 thoughts on “Hachiko Syndrome?

  1. When my dad leaves without me I sit there howling for a very long time. Mom says I make sound like a very sad saxophone. But you see, my dad walks with the aid of crutches and I can’t stand the thought of him being out there on his own. I’m his little bodyguard.

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    • Hi Genis. This is Ray. Sounding like a sad saxophone is probably not good, but there’s times when you cannot protect your Mom and Dad. I’m constantly trying to find a place to lay down where I can see and protect both my Mom and Dad as they are often in different rooms. When one of them goes out, then I have your problem which I just have to try and control. I’ll get used to it one day, as will you, but it is going to take time. Woof! Ray.

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  2. Chase was so use to me being home all the time that when I started leaving on a regular basis he started to show separation anxiety. Even though he was home with my mother and her two dogs, he was still very upset that I was gone.

    Over time he has learned to adjust to me being gone during the daylight hours, but he still shows separation anxiety when it gets dark. When I am not home at night, he whines a lot and runs to the door barking every time he thinks a noise is me coming home.

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  3. I loved that movie! Hunter definitely likes Selton a lot more than me. When I come home, he whines just a little and then runs back into the bedroom. But when he comes home from work, his whines are continuous and he even jumps on him. Sometimes I get a little jealous.. but then I get over it. hahah

    I actually video taped Hunter home alone for one of our blogs. He walks around the house a bit looking for us.. but then he just sleeps and waits for one of us to get home.

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    • Re your last paragraph ……… envy! We’re not even close to that state yet. We Skyped Ray from a cell phone (we were just up the road) and watched him running around rather out of control and making lots of noise. It’ s a slow job but, with patience and time, we’ll get him comfortable on his own. 🙂

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  4. I guess I don’t know what happens when I leave the house, because it’s usually me who leaves last! But I know that when I come home before Aaron – which doesn’t happen often – Sammie is confused and will go around looking for him.

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    • Perhaps you and Aaron do a lot of stuff together so Sammie sees you and thinks Aaron can’t be far behind you? Or perhaps because you normally come home after Aaron, in his mind Aaron must therefore be around somewhere. It’s an interesting situation you have there!

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  5. Hachi was a great movie especially for us dog lovers. Never underestimate the resolve of a dog when it comes to those he or she loves.

    Kali always greets me at the kitchen door which is where I usually enter having come into the house though the garage. Yesterday, as I arrived my wife told me that she ran to that door expecting me to walk in but I had not yet arrived home. My wife looked to the window to see my car was not there and told Kali that “dad” was not home and she must be hearing things. She tells Kali to go lie down and then 20 seconds later I pull into the driveway. My wife says that I was probably turning the corner to our street about the time that Kali went to the door. It wasn’t coincidence – she somehow got the vibe that I was near. Pretty cool how in-tune our dogs are to our patterns, rhythms, and vibrations.

    And what a great picture of Ray – he is such a handsome boy.

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  6. Great picture, sums up the situation a treat.
    Our previous dog always knew what time I was due home as he’d sit by the front door and wait.
    Maggie is loyal to us both, though we haven’t left her completely on her own for months. Even when shopping, when whoever has been inside comes out, it’s as if they’ve been away for hours! Her exuberance defies her age.

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  7. We are very similar. I used to do the same thing when Mom would leave and come home. Recently, my Grandpa was in the hospital and Mom was late coming home from work a few nights. Dad told her I sat in the chair looking out the window whining. I even stood on the table too!!! Now, if my dad leaves….meh. Of course, I’m super excited when he comes home but I don’t dwell on him leaving and I don’t wait for him.

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  8. I’ve had an Akita and can relate to the Hachiko syndrome thing. She was very dedicated to me.
    Ray is doing well, I feel, if he’s only doing what you’ve described. He is very cute in the chair! Sorry to hear of the plant/coffee table incident. 😦
    In the summer, I’d guess it’s worse because the windows are open. My boys can hear daddy’s motorcycle about 1/4 mile away. Crazy how they can pick out his from all the others on the busy street near us.
    I’m sure with all the new, fun memories you’re giving Ray, he’ll hopefully forget his bad ones soon.

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  9. Anxiety separation is an issue with many rescues and it seems flattering until it becomes a nuisance. Ray must have been abused and often a dog with a previous history of abuse and abandonment becomes more attached to a female in the family. The photo of him in the chair is adorable and his body language speaks of anticipation.

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    • Agree with all points. Ray has always had “reservations” (understatement) with men. He had no physical signs of abuse when picked up but he was certainly carrying unpleasant memories which still occasionally surface in “vocal” dreams. About a year ago, he became really scared when I picked up a garden shovel and went to dig near where he was laying so we know that unpleasant events are in his past.

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  10. For those of you that have not seen the Hachi movie whether you own a dog, cat or any other kind of pet you will absolutely love this movie.
    Good comparison Dad, talk about loyalty.

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