“It’s really crazy. I wanted a dog for 20 years, but job-wise I couldn’t take care of one.
I got laid off and was free-lancing from home. I was daydreaming of having this imaginary dog. He went with me wherever I went.
One afternoon I was walking with a friend in Central Park for exercise and I told her, you are going to think I’m a nutcase, but I’ve been having this imaginary dog. We started laughing and 20 minutes later we came upon a woman sitting on a bench with a puppy that looked like a dandelion of puff. He was just a little ball of fur. My friend said, you should ask if you can pet him, so I did. The next thing I knew I was holding him and petting him.
The woman said, he’s actually up for adoption.
The foster family that had him wasn’t a good fit for several reasons. The biggest was that he had terrible separation anxiety. When I picked him up from his foster home, the doorman told me they were gone of long periods of time and he would bark for 10 hours straight.
I had to break him of his separation anxiety.
I started to carry him around in a little chest pouch. We were together 24/7. I started the separation very slowly. I made it into a game. I would close the bathroom door and open it quickly. I gave him positive reinforcement and a treat before he had time to get anxious. I extended the time every day. I always did it as play to make it less scary and build trust.
I wanted him to know I was always coming back.
The first time I left him alone it was for 4 hours and he cried.”