Dog Owner Dealing With Trust Issues Comes Up With The Perfect Solution

How far would you go to make your dog happy? Most canines are on cloud nine when they get to go for a walk or gobble up a handful of treats, but other pups require a bit more attention. Especially when they’re recovering from past trauma, going the extra mile can make all the difference.

In 2019, this dog lover thought he had seen it all until he tried to help his pooch bounce back from tragedy. But with a few supplies and a sprinkle of DIY inspiration, he bet himself that he could make everything right for his beloved canine again.

Sean Farrell couldn’t imagine life without his precious Buster, so he tried to give the Staffordshire Bull Terrier everything a dog could ever want. Unfortunately, parts of caring for Buster remained a struggle.

Even after a couple of years with his loving owner, the poor pup suffered from major trust issues. Besides having trouble spending time around male strangers, Buster sometimes barely left Sean’s bedroom.

The exact cause of Buster’s anxiety was a bit of a mystery. Sean took him in when the dog was about 10 years old after a traumatic incident caused authorities to take the Bull Terrier away from his old home. The exact details never came to light.

Nevertheless, Sean tried to make the best of Buster’s reserved personality. He found the pooch’s low-key demeanor made him an ideal therapy dog for the sick and elderly. These interactions were helpful for Buster’s socialization, too.

Zook the General. & Sgt Buster

For a while, Buster received a lot of support from Zook, Sean’s other dog who was the life of the party despite being disabled. But after Zook passed away at the ripe old age of 17, Buster lost one of his few friends.

Facebook / Zook the General. & Sgt Buster

Sean wanted desperately to bring Buster fully out of his shell, but nothing seemed to work. It got to the point where the dog lover realized he would have to make a big jump to help Buster feel safe and secure.

Facebook / Zook the General and Sgt. Buster

That next afternoon, Sean paid a visit to his local hardware store. He picked up some lumber, a bucket of paint, and a few other knick-knacks. From there, Sean began his genius plan, unsure if it would work.

The project broke ground when Sean cleared out a corner of his living room and set up a wooden frame. Though it started to look like a shelf, Sean had a much grander vision in mind.

Sean Farrell

These days, Buster rarely came out of his bedroom, even when Sean coaxed him with a treat. But he needed the dog for a moment, so he dragged the reluctant pup out toward the mini construction site.

Sean plopped Buster inside the wooden frame to make sure the dimensions were correct. The sizes seemed just perfect for his plan. After leading the dog back into the bedroom, Sean excitedly rummaged through his materials.

By the end of the day, Sean’s handiwork was really taking shape. He envisioned it as a safe haven of sorts for Buster, though it obviously needed some more work before the big reveal. He resumed construction the minute he woke up the next morning.

Sean Farrell

Meanwhile, Buster had to stay cooped up in the bedroom for the most part. Sean didn’t want him sniffing around his half-finished project, so the Bull Terrier had to find ways to entertain himself. But his owner could only keep him at bay for so long.

Zook the General. & Sgt Buster

After a couple days, Sean introduced his furry friend to the bare-bones of his blood, sweat, and tears. It would be Buster’s very own boudoir! Once Sean decked out the interior, the pup would have a comfortable place of his own in the house.

Zook the General. & Sgt Buster

Needless to say, Sean went all-out when it came to designing the inside of the boudoir. With its fluffy bed and modern paint job, it looked nicer than quite a few human-sized apartments! Sean also included some meaningful personal touches.

Above the center window, where he could check in on his pooch, Sean included a favorite quotation: “‘Imagine being a monkey’ on the front is the first line from a lullaby I sing to him when he’s having bad dreams,” he explained.

Sean Farrell

A shelf lined the inside wall displayed a colored light and a row of items that gave the boudoir a homey touch. Sean included a figurine of a dog in a wheelchair, a tribute to the handicapped dogs he rescued in the past. And that wasn’t the only homage either.

Sean hung up a few photos of the dearly departed Zook, who also popped up on a small TV screen every now and then. Though Buster had occasional trouble socializing with other people and dogs, surely these images would put his mind at ease.

Sean Farrell

Sean hoped that all his hard work would pay off, and not just be a wasted vanity project. As luck would have it, Buster took to the completed boudoir immediately. Within minutes, he was snoozing away.

Ever since he got his own little corner of the house, Buster’s had a big smile on his face. It’s certainly made it easier for him to interact with other people, and when Sean shared the story online, the Bull Terrier got a ton of new fans.

Zook the General. & Sgt Buster

In fact, the pictures of Sean’s big project got over 20 million views on Facebook. He may have to build a doggie summer home if he wants to keep up his notoriety! And if he needs to get even more creative about managing canine anxiety, he can use an ingenious strategy cooked up by another clever dog owner.

Sean Farrell

Sara was a sweet-natured rescue dog. She loved her new human, enjoyed playing and going for walks, and was typically well-behaved… until her owner, Colleen, left the house. That’s when she started acting up.

In a haze of worry and fear, the poor dog would start barking endlessly, pant up a storm, pace around like a madwoman looking for her owner, and chew on the furniture. It wasn’t healthy.

See, due to Sara’s rough past, she suffered from a great amount of separation anxiety. It didn’t matter how long Colleen was gone, Sara would go into a frenzy. One time, she even rubbed her nose raw on the couch!

Of course, nobody wants to see their dog in any kind of pain (mental or physical), so Colleen tried everything she could to help her dog out. She got plenty of advice from other dog parents and started training and treatments.

She tried long walks, CBD oils, and crate training didn’t make a difference at all. Even prescription drugs for anxiety like Prozac didn’t put the pup’s mind at ease.

“It evolved into my having to be with her constantly, leaving her with someone else, or having to take her to doggie daycare whenever I left,” Colleen said. Luckily, she thought she finally found a solution to her pupper’s problems. 

It was actually her cousin who came up with the idea. “Why don’t you try making some sort of dummy of yourself, so Sara thinks you’re always with her?” she suggested.

The plan sounded great… but then the dummy arrived. The creepy looking thing, Collen figured, wouldn’t fool her dog for a second.“My Sara would not fall for such simple deception!” she thought.

Still, she wanted to give the dummy a shot — anything to soothe her beloved dog’s anxiety. So she began making the dummy (nicknamed Dolly) look and smell more like herself by dressing it in her clothes.

Visuals were one thing. But dogs, Colleen knew, are all about smells. So, to make sure the dummy smelled as realistic as possible, she put Dolly in her bed. Those blankets and sheets were Smell City.

With Dolly looking and smelling the part, Colleen started placing it around the house. That way, Sara would constantly cross paths with the dummy, becoming more familiar with it.

The first place Dolly posted up? The bathroom. Colleen didn’t want it to be in a place Sara frequented because, well, if she figured out it was just a dummy, the plan kind of fell flat.

To her surprise, the plan worked! Just a glance at Dolly seemed to be enough to put Sara at ease, even for several hours. For the one of the first times ever, Colleen came home and found Sara sleeping on the couch, cool as a cucumber.

Then, one day, Colleen came home and couldn’t find Sara anywhere. She checked the living room, the kitchen, the bedroom… Finally, she opened the bathroom door and found Sara sleeping at Dolly’s feet. Something she’d never done before!

In a way, Colleen was right: Sara was too smart for the dummy. She didn’t think the uncanny thing was her mom. Still, those familiar smells coupled with a familiar, human-like object, gave the pooch comfort.

Even with Sara’s newfound comfort, Colleen didn’t plan on pressing her luck: long vacations were off the table. Still, she was elated with the results: “It has worked better than many other methods so far,” she said.

And, of course, Colleen didn’t use Dolly as an excuse to shirk mom duties. She and Sara still cuddle up on the couch and spend every minute possible together. They’re best buds, after all.

Recommended From Honest To Paws

Stay up to date on the
latest trending stories!

like our facebook page!