Budapest. Hungary. Fed up with his owner’s exceedingly clingy behavior, Scooby, a strong and independent Great Dane, decided to put an end to the unhealthy emotional patterns in the relationship with his human.
‘Don’t get me wrong, I love humans, but at some point it just gets too much. They follow me everywhere, they rarely leave the house without me, if I move a little they chase right after me with hugs and kisses. Not to mention that when left alone they start chewing on my toys and destroying my habitat. We’re buddies alright, but can I have some personal space, please?’
Exasperated by the amount of love and affection displayed by his owner in public as well as in private, Scooby decided to be the founder of a support group for dogs facing similar issues. ‘It’s important to let other dogs know that they are not the only ones struggling with their human’s separation anxiety. We also strive to help them spot the signs early on and try to keep the situation from getting serious. Some owners develop a dysfunctional hyper attachment to their dogs that causes anxiety when they’re away or out of sight. If your owner is anxious when they’re unable to follow you around they have separation anxiety, not just Velcro owner syndrome’.
Rocky, an elegant greyhound explains: ‘We’re here to learn how to set boundaries in our relationships with humans. Some of us struggle with two or three overly attached people at a time. Sometimes it’s even hard to tell who the more annoying one is. People are exhausting and it’s pretty often that we have to sacrifice large chunks of our afternoon naps to bear their tantrums. Sweetheart this, darling that. I love you so much. Who’s the best puppy in the world? We got it. We’re adorable. Message received. Now just sit, please.’
It wasn’t long before Lesley Gore’s classic ‘You don’t own me’ became the group’s anthem. ‘What we do here is try to create a secure environment where we can voice our fears and discomforts, where we can talk openly about the progress or setbacks in our human’s behavior and advise each other. It’s still pretty much touch and go, but we’re on the road to setting up a solid structure and expand’, Scooby clarifies. ‘We love them, but it’s time they understood our need for autonomy.’
Unfortunately the interview had to be cut short, as most dogs were being picked up by their owners. It was dinner time.
Written by Ana-Maria Taut, with the respectable contribution of A. de Oliveira.