When many veterans return from serving in the military overseas, they’re greeted at the airport with the whole family. While these interactions are always very emotional, sometimes it’s the furry, four-legged family member who really can’t keep it together.
The video below – posted to YouTube by SoldierHomecoming.com – shows Molly, a golden retriever, who can’t stop crying when she’s reunited with her veteran mom. The pooch’s pet parent is returning from Afghanistan and wants to see the rest of her family, but Molly clearly wants to welcome her back first. She runs right up to her mom, who’s sitting in the airport and immediately flops her paws on her lap and starts crying.
Molly flashes a wide smile and a furiously wagging tail, but never stops whimpering in excitement. Even after her mom tries to see the other family members, Molly comes back for another belly scratch, just making sure her pet parent isn’t headed anywhere anytime soon.
When someone in the armed services has to travel to serve or train, it can be difficult on the whole family, especially pets. But that can also make the reunion so much sweeter for everyone involved.
Another video, posted by Homecoming Heroes, shows a German Shepherd being surprised by a returning soldier. Rather than bringing the pooch to the airport, the family tricked the dog into coming to the soldier. One person threw the dog’s ball out into the yard for a routine game of fetch, but when the German Shepherd returned, his veteran dad was waiting for him.
The dog barked and cried, happy to see his soldier home, as the veteran pet his belly and tried to get him to drop the ball he likely had forgotten all about. The emotional reunion seems just as strong for the pooch as it is for the soldier in the video.
Understand separation anxiety
You don’t have to be serving your country in Afghanistan or Iraq for your dog to miss you. If you head out to the store for 30 minutes, your dog will likely miss you and welcome your return, but sometimes spending this time apart can seriously affect your pooch in a negative way. This is called separation anxiety.
Separation anxiety is when dogs become upset when their pet parents leave or are about to leave and feel stress and act inappropriately, such as urinating in the house. This condition can be caused by a family member leaving, a change in routine, moving, or the addition of someone new to the house.
Separation anxiety is characterized by barking, howling, efforts to escape the house, urination, defecation, coprophagia, destruction of household items, or other anxious feelings, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals explained.
One of the best ways to deal with symptoms is to attack the underlying issues head on and look for other medical conditions that may be causing these symptoms, such as incontinence.
If you do determine that separation anxiety is the cause of these strange behaviors, however, Cesar’s Way suggested a few ways to reduce anxiety. You can downplay the impact of leaving your dog, say goodbye long before you actually leave, take them for a walk, or stay calm and assertive.
Another way to deal with canine anxiety is to use a Thundershirt. This piece of clothing helps your dog feel like they’re getting a comforting hug or squeeze to help limit the amount of anxiety they feel. While it’ll never be quite as good as the real thing, it may help the health issue.