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Colby is not my dog. He was adopted by Scott when he was only ten weeks old, and we didn’t meet until almost a year later. It makes me kinda sad that I never got to see this little puppy face in person:

Colby has been a fuzzy, warm, sometimes clumsily dorky (and hilarious) part of my life. I’ve always jokingly called myself his “stepmom” since I didn’t adopt him, but wound up treating him like my own after taking care of him so many nights while Scott was out of town. And I love him dearly – even when he eats all of the Christmas cookies.
And I miss him, SO much. If you’re scratching your head a little as to why, you may want to catch up with this week’s announcement.
Scott called the day after the move to tell me that Colby wasn’t adjusting well to his new house. He spent all of the moving day moping around the place, found his bed, then plopped down and just started whining.
Then he made himself sick, and threw up on Scott’s carpet. Twice.
Obviously, after hearing this, I made plans to visit the very next day. It turns out that he is fine, but it seems to be relocation anxiety. So to help, I came over to Scott’s new place for a visit and took a walk around the area with him and spent a few minutes petting him and giving him kisses. The visit didn’t last very long, but I’m really glad I got to see that he’s doing okay.
It will take the Colbster a little time to adjust to his new surroundings, and it breaks my heart that he took things so hard. During Colby’s short life, he’s moved at least four times before (Scott’s fraternity house, his Atlanta apartment, then my apartment, then my house), so his issues adjusting this time were totally unexpected.

If you are about to experience a move, take care of the animals that are moving with you. Despite Colby adjusting so well in the past, this experience has taught me that there is still always a need to take a few precautions if you or a friend are planning a move with pets:

  • If it is possible, try to bring the dog to the new place before the moving day so that they can become familiar with their new surroundings. Let them explore, sniff, and mark the new territory so they have a sense that they have been there before.
  • On the day itself, bring him over to the new place and play with him for a bit. Don’t just concentrate on getting straight to work; your dog needs to know that things are okay and that there is no cause for alarm.
  • Bring over toys, beds, treats, etc. and set them up early so that they can find the things that make the place feel more like home. Show them where things are and let them get acquainted.
  • Bottom line, try to keep things as normal as possible so that their routines are not interrupted. Pay them attention and give them affection so that the move is a positive experience.
  • In my case, if you are moving only certain people from the old place to the new, have those that are not moving come over to the new place to maybe play with the dog to keep them occupied. Or at the very least, have them visit after the move is complete to reassure the dog that they have not been abandoned.

Have your pets ever experienced relocation anxiety? If so, what did you do to help? Feel free to add your own tips to the comments. No doubt, it just may make someone’s pet a happy camper in their new home.

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  1. Ohh I'm sure you are having a hard time! Pets are so hard because you can't explain to them what's going on. I always joke with my husband that if we ever split up our little yorkie is MINE so he better be good to me! I hope you are doing OK and you're in my thoughts and prayers!! You seem to have the perfect attitude!

  2. Ours didnt do well after the move at all. They'd never been to another house (other than short vacations) and adjusting took months. Ive heard that its a bad idea to crate them while youre moving your stuff in. They get a “bad taste in their mouth” so to speak.

    Hope you are adjusting to the doggie free zone as well. Take care of your self too my dearie!

  3. I wonder if Colby is having a more difficult time than he has in the past because the dynamic of his family has changed. The way he acted sounds a lot like the way my parents' dog acts when they go galavanting and leave her with me, even if I'm also housesitting for them. She always adjusts enough to start eating again after a couple days, though she's always just a little mopey until the day they come home.

    I hope he starts perking up soon! It's a lot of change for ALL of you to absorb!

  4. We were lucky enough to not have to move into our house until 2 months after we bought it. We brought our dog Madison with us every weekend when we were working on the house. We started off with just her travel bed, and closer to the actual move we had some tennis balls, some of her favorite toys and her favorite papasan chair. We were very lucky that she had no problems adjusting. The first night we slept here she woke up in the middle of the night confused, but once I brought her in bed with me she slept fine. She's been fine ever since.