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My dogs have been crate dogs since they were tiny puppies. Which is to say, when we leave the house, they go in their dog crates and stay there until we come back. Why, you ask? Mostly because they are, to use the medical term, crazy. They both suffer from serious separation anxiety, which causes them to go completely nuts whenever they sense we are going to leave the house. They follow me around, whining. Nip at my purse and ankles to keep me from going. Gather at the door at my feet, alternately barking at me and attacking each other until they are whipped into a total frenzy.

Fun, right? It’s no wonder I am so jumpy. How could you not be?

We’ve done dog training. Put them on and off various meds. Upped their walks, strapped on citronella collars that blast them with stinky stuff when they bark. Nothing changes. But Monkey is almost nine, and Coco just turned five. The crates take up most of our dining room, the dogs hate them, and getting them INTO them has become an exercise in frustration. So we decided to see what would happen if we just left them out. This morning, I snuck my purse and diaper bag and shoes outside. Put Sasha safely on the other side of the laundry room dog gate. Then I opened the back door, and when they started freaking out, I threw them each a Snausage and made a run for it.

My plan was to drive away, then sneak back to see what they were doing. I mean, imagine this. I’m creeping up to my own house at nine in the morning to spy on my dogs. How crazy is that? But there I was, thinking I was all stealth…until I realized I couldn’t see in any of the back windows and had to go AROUND the house, and they heard me. Bark, bark, bark. I kept sneaking, tried to look in the back door, which convinced them they were now being invaded on two fronts. More barking. Finally I just gave up and looked in the front door, where they stood staring at me, back barking like crazy, wondering why I was trying to break into my own house. I’m sure the neighbors were thinking the same thing. So much for being stealth.

In the end, I decided to go on faith, so I got into the car and went into town. For two hours, at Whole Foods and the bookstore, I wondered if I’d come home to a wrecked house with a standing inch of slobber. (That’s how Monkey’s anxiety manifests itself: it’s called “hypersalivation,” which I’ve always thought would be a really good name for a band. But I digress.) I was on my way home when my husband called and said he was already there. Was the house destroyed? Nope, he said. Anything chewed up? Nah. So after ALL that, they actually were okay. Except for the leaving part, which I have a feeling might get better the more we do it. Kind of like what got me over my fear of flying was having to fly more. I know Boxers and Boston Terriers (or Boston Terrors, as we call Coco) are energetic breeds. Maybe they, like me, are finally calming down in their old age. You never know. Stay tuned.

In other news, this is a BIG week for TV premieres. Project Runway returns, to be followed by—wait for it!—a reality on-the-road show starring Santino Rice and Austin Scarlett. Stop it! If you didn’t see the first season of PR, with Austin, you must RUN not walk and find it right now. He is my absolute favorite PR person, so much so that I actually wrote him an embarrassing, gushy email (I got an auto-response, but that was fine. I just hope he glanced at it, or someone who works for him did.). I know Austin’s been designing wedding gowns, and Santino’s been on RuPaul’s Drag Race. But the two of them? Together? I cannot WAIT. Then there’s the guiltiest of all guilty pleasures, Jersey Shore. Oh, man. I shouldn’t even admit I watch it, but I do. And I will. Even worse? As a joke, I named my daughter’s two Barbies Snookie and J-Woww, way back in the fall, and she’s STILL CALLING THEM THAT. I am sure Child Protective Services will be knocking on my door at any moment. I’m sure my dogs will let me know.

Have a good night, everyone!

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