Anyone know a cure for canine cabin fever?

Weather like we’ve had recently can cause a lot of ills – colds, flu, fever, coughing, runny nose, sneezing and lots more.

It can also lead to cabin fever.

The latter has struck in our house, but not one of the twolegged residents.

No, cabin fever is raging in our dog, Gracie, who is not yet a year old – and may not make that if she doesn’t settle down soon.

With both Terry and I working more days than not, Gracie has to spend a great deal of time in her kennel.

It’s as much for her own protection as it is to protect everything else in the house – or at least everything that she can chew, which is pretty much everything else.

We keep trying to let her spend some time roaming the house by herself, but boredom seems to bring out her destructive tendencies – and it usually doesn’t take very long.

For instance, we left her out for a short period while we ran to the store to pick up a few things, only to come home and find that she had completely torn apart the new bed she got for Christmas.

It makes one wonder how Gracie is going to enjoy sleeping on that lump of coal Santa will be bringing her next Christmas after that little incident.

We had even blocked off the rooms where we thought she could do any damage while we were gone, like the kitchen and the bathroom – we learned the hard way what damage she can wreak on a roll of toilet paper.

Her excuse would be that she’s got a lot of pent-up energy to expend, but I think it would be easier on all of us if she would use it up on a few laps around the coffee table instead.

Of course, with as much energy as Gracie seems to have, she’d probably wear an oval track in the living room floor.

Winter makes it even more difficult for her.

Gracie seems to have adjusted to snow just fine, even though it’s a new experience for her – as is just about everything else.

Extreme cold, however, became an even greater challenge for her.

Gracie has been good about making sure that she does what she’s supposed to do outside, outside, and not in the house, but a Polar Vortex makes that a bit daunting, especially for a Georgiaborn girl like Gracie.

Fortunately, he hasn’t emulated a Pug we had for a brief time who wasn’t smart enough to lift his leg when he did number one and wound up freezing his paw to the sidewalk outside the back door one particularly frigid day.

But Gracie has learned not to dawdle or waste any time doing her business when she goes out in the cold.

The problem is that she likes to go outside to run around and is quickly right back at the back door to go out again after she comes in.

It may be that her short-term memory is faulty and she forgets just how cold it really is outside.

Or perhaps she is an optimist who hopes the temperature has gone up at least 30 or 40 degrees in the two minutes since she was last outside.

I’m sorry, Gracie, this is Wisconsin and the weather can change fast and frequently, but not to that extreme – not yet, anyway.

It gets to the point where she becomes what my father would have called “In again, out again, Finnegan.”

If there was such a thing as a revolving doggie door, it would be perfect for her.

Terry and I wind up getting more exercise than Gracie, getting up and down to put her out and then let her back in.

I’m willing, at least, to get up that often, just in the hope that Gracie will stay outside for a while and stop pestering the two of us.

It wouldn’t be so bad if she would just lay quietly next to you, content to be in your company, but it’s never that easy.

Gracie apparently has to know exactly what you’re doing and have her face right in the middle of whatever it is.

It’s a challenge to type around her when you’re working on a laptop computer and she’s been know to mangle more of Terry’s texts than auto-correct.

I try to get Gracie to at least turn her head when I’m reading a book and she camps on my lap, hoping I can at least read through the empty space between her ears, but sitting still just isn’t in her skill set.

Throwing her toys doesn’t really help, either, since she’s a Plott Hound and is bred to retrieve.

Her game, it seems, is fetch and return, not fetch and keep away.

Winter will eventually come to an end – although not soon enough – but I have a feeling that Gracie’s cabin fever may know no season – or all of them.


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