Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, December 3, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 11

Mountain Views-News Saturday, December 3, 2022 


I have a darling dog named Molly, who at her ripe 
ole age of 14 years is content staying home when 
her beloved humans are away, but it hasn’t always 
been that way. When Molly first came to live with 
us, she’d literally loose it every time we attempted 
to go somewhere without her, even for a short period 
of time. I’d never before had a pet that was 
afraid to be left home alone, so I assumed I was 
among a limited few who had to deal with such 

a scenario. I soon learned that the problem is far 
more common than I’d thought. 

Typical signs of the canine condition known as ‘pet 
separation anxiety’ include constant under-thefence 
dirt-digging, scratching at doors windows 
and walls, incessant whining or howling, destructive 
chewing, urinating or defecating indoors during 
the owner’s absence, and effusive frantic greetings 
upon the owner’s return. My Molly displayed 
every one of these behavioral traits from the day I 
adopted her, and it was quite disheartening. The 
poor girl was terrified of being left home alone. 
The question begged, “What causes an otherwise 
easy-going canine to become over-the-top anxious 
and frantically fearful when left alone?” 

There are numerous theories as to why domestic 
pets fret in the absence of their humans. Among 
the most agreed-upon reasons is that the animal 
experienced some sort of trauma in the past, leaving 
an imprinted memory resulting in a lack of 
trust in the humans’ promise to return, or the dog 
was indeed abandoned and left to fend for itself, 
perhaps coming close to the point of starvation 
before finally being rescued and cared for by a forever 

I found one story in an on-line post about an adult 
dog that lived in a comfortable home with a loving 
owner for many years. The dog had access to the 
house and yard all its life and there had been no 
history of trauma, but when the owner suddenly 
passed away in the house, the dog was trapped 
inside. A week went by before a neighbor became 
concerned that there had been no activity next 
door, and decided to investigate. 

Ultimately the family was contacted. They came 
and rescued the dog and, of course dealt with all 
that went along with loosing their son. One can 
only imagine what that poor dog went through 
while staying by his master’s deceased body in the 
meantime. From that day on, the dog was in full 
fear anytime the family attempted to leave him 
alone. No wonder. 

What can be done to help heal the rooted reasons 
for pet separation anxiety? I learned quite a 
lot in my quest to do what I could to help Molly 
get past her fear. Most importantly, the animal’s 
emotional needs must be identified, validated and 
met. Paying lots of attention to a fretful pet is certainly 
in order from the start. In fact, positive reenforcement 
techniques for any pet should include 
tons of TLC and plenty of petting. Special treats 
for good behavior can be helpful, in moderation. 
Uplifting verbiage such as “I love you”, and “I am 
proud of you” should be constant in a regimen for 
healing the heart of a pet suffering from fear of 

Animal psychology research has proven that certain 
terms of endearment can have a positive im-


[Nyerges is the author of 22 

books and the co-founder 

of School of Self-Reliance. 

Among other things, he 

teaches his students how to 

do more with less, and how 

frugality is a fulfilling life

style. He has authored "Ex

treme Simplicity," "Self-Sufficient 
Home," "Urban Survival Guide," and other 
books. More information at www.SchoolofSelfReliance.

Yesterday in Highland Park there was a 
sweep of a homeless area, where they all had 
to move their tents and stuff, and the sanitation 
department’s large crew filled trucks 
with junk and cleaned the sidewalk. Before 
their work, you could smell the area from 200 
feet away. At least 15 police officers stood by 
because some of the homeless camped there 
got angry. At least a few shouted violent accusations 
towards the officers. When it was 
nearly over, I walked right through the thick 
of it to see the stuff that homeless people collect. 
My eyes saw some useful daily life objects, 
but mostly junk and trinkets. My mind 
was spinning. 

Then, I could not help but contemplate the 
vast amounts of worthless material stuff that 
so many people accumulate. The difference 
is that housed people can hide their stuff in 
garages, back rooms, and rental units. 

We all accumulate these things, thinking 
they are valuable, and we keep these objects, 
believing that they will impart something 
special, or that they will appreciate in dollar 
value, or even in some spiritual or esoteric 
way. But it is all material stuff. 

Here are a few reasons why I have become 
very minimalist in my approach to the collection 
of physical stuff. 

First, when I began getting interested in survival 
skills, I realized the great value of storing 
enough food at your home that will get 
you through an emergency. Like maybe a 
few weeks, even a few months’ worth of food. 
That’s not especially what I call hoarding. 
One of my initial purchases of wheat was so 
large that I had an entire wall in a back room 
full of buckets of wheat. A year later I realized 
I rarely eat wheat, and slowly gave away 
and sold most of them. 

Then I considered being prepared for blackouts 
and other emergencies, and realized the 

Happy Tails 

by Chris Leclerc 

pact on domestic animal behavior. Even if you are 
pessimistic about talking to your dog, why not do 
it anyway? It might lift your own spirits to speak 
words of encouragement out loud even if no one 
else understands what you are saying. ‘Those in 
the know’ also strongly encourage calm greetings 
upon return home. The tendency is to be excited 
and use high tones when returning home after 
time away, but experts say that can exacerbate the 

In addition to these common-sense remedies for 
comforting pets dealing with “left-alone syndrome”, 
there are products on the market that can 
help lower the level of anxiety. I purchased a natural 
stress-relief pet product for Molly called Rescue 
Remedy. Using that, coupled with a consistent 
regimen of leaving her at home for short periods of 
time, and gradually increasing the lengths of time 
we left her, proved to be an affective process for 

I also bought Molly a Thunder Shirt, a product 
marketed more specifically for calming dogs during 
thunder storms, fireworks, heavy winds or 
other loud outdoor noises that can’t be controlled. 
But the Thunder Shirt has also been an affective 
calming mechanism, in general. It definitely 
helped with Molly‘s ‘home alone’ stress. 

Another purchasable product designed to minimize 
pet separation anxiety is a calming collar. 
There are a few different brands of calming collars 
out there. I never pursued this means of resolving 
the problem with Molly because we were able 
to make good progress with the Rescue Remedy 
along with the Thunder Shirt and a regular regimen 
of coming and going over time. But I’ve heard 
good things about the collars so it might be worth 
a try. 

Another helpful habit that can play a part in pulling 
a pet through separation anxiety, is establishing 
a close relationship with a reliable, honest, humane 
local pet sitter such as myself. My clients call 
on me to visit their pets at the most optimum time, 
to break up an otherwise long and monotonous 
day. I arrive at the requested hour, take the pup 
out for a walk and/or playtime in the yard, then 
I spend the remaining time loving and cuddling 
before I leave. If meals are called for, I include that 
in my visit as well. If the owners have to be away 
more than a day, I stay with the pet(s) overnight. 
It makes all the difference in the world to have a 
familiar friend to rely on! 

I wish the best to any pet owner out there who happens 
to be dealing with a pup suffering from the 
fear of being left alone. It’s not easy, but with lots of 
love and patience, I know from experience, it gets 
better. Our pets are a lot like us humans. We want 
to feel needed, loved unconditionally, and perhaps 
most importantly, safe at home. Well guess what? 
So do our furry, four-legged friends, and as we all 
know, they are worth it. Love and let live. 


great value of having certain extra clothing, 
blankets, manual tools, knives, those sorts of 
things. Yes, you could say I was starting to 
collect. And from there, it just goes on an on.
Should you store all the wood you find so 
that you can have a fire in the fireplace every 
night for the next year? Should you collect all 
tools and lumber you find so you can build a 
shed or chicken coop in your back yard without 
going to the lumber yard? And should 
you collect all that lumber even if you’re not 
actually making such a shed or chicken coop? 
That’s how you get into the collection of stuff. 

It's all really good useful stuff that you might 
use in an emergency. Before you know it, 
you’re at yard sales and thrift stores, buying 
things at ridiculously low prices that you 
know you might use one day. Or, you tell 
yourself, you could sell it to make extra cash. 
But you don’t sell it, because the retail price 
for your object – despite its inherent usefulness 
– is little more than you originally paid 
for it. 

I’ve gotten to this point. I had plenty of stuff 
to survive the next apocalypse, but I wasn’t 
really using most of it. And I had to have 
shed after shed after paid storage unit to store 
all these really good things. Before you know 
it, your living space is crammed full of stuff 
that you never use, but which is –you’ve convinced 
yourself – very very valuable. 

It’s a big trap. In the past 20+ years, I moved 
a few times, and carefully looked at all the 
very good material things that I collected. I 
realized that much of it I never used. Never. 
So I decided to “bite the bullet” and clean 
house. I was not willing to move truckloads 
of stuff to my new place. My criteria was that 
if I had not actually used the object – despite 
my having determined that it was “very valuable” 
– in the last 10 years, then I got rid of it. 
I gave dozens of boxes of goods to a Boy Scout 
leader to give outdoor gear to low-income 
scouts. I gave a truckload of wood and bone 
and rock and other natural materials to native 
American friends to use in art projects. 
I made many boxload donations to Salvation 
Army and Goodwill. And I filled my blue 
recycling bin about a dozen times, and filled 
the black trash can many times as well. Yes, I 
sold some things, but selling takes time, and 
you rarely get back what you paid, especially 
not when you have a time crunch. 

And I never regretted shedding my life of 
the material baggage. I found that the world 
still had lots of hardware stores and grocery 


For “Senior Pet Month,” last 
week you met beautiful, 15 
year old “Echo Bella.” This 
week, please meet “Barack,”
an 11 year old tuxedo. When 
just 3-weeks-old he was rescued 
by his papa, and for his 
whole life it was Just The Two 
Of them together. Sadly, this 

year his beloved Papa fell ill and was gone. Barack was 
left all alone in the home, confused and terrified when 
the movers came to take out all the furniture. Final-ly, a 
wonderful foster helped the fear and sadness in him to 
slowly subside, and he begin to trust again and show what 
an amazing cat he is! He's a great companion! He wants to 
lay next to you, cuddle on top of you, sleep at your feet at night and just always be around 
you. He gets spurts of playful kitten energy and it's the cutest thing! Barack would do best 
as an only cat, since his whole life he was used to being a singleton. This old buddy will be 
the most devoted companion. He is ready to start a new life with his loving human. Call 
626-533-5554 to apply. Can anyone please give these wonderful 
seniors, Echo Bella and Barack, each a new home? 

Pet of the Week

 Sweet Hannah Belle arrived at Pasadena Humane 
a few weeks ago and was clearly in distress. Shewas suffering from a traumatic injury and was inconsiderable pain. Our health team discoveredthat poor Hannah had a fractured pelvis andimmediately got to work to put her on the road to 

 Hannah Belle has been on strict bed rest while 
she recuperates, and now she’s ready to find herforever home. She has shown everyone here howfriendly and outgoing she is by rubbing up oneveryone who comes close, and her purring isnon-stop!

Hannah is expected to fully recover, but it isrecommended that she keep her exercising to a minimum for a while. She stillhas a slight limp, but that’s not going to stop this lovely lady from seizing theday, or at least seizing your heart when she shows you what an affectionate girlshe is!

 The adoption fee for cats is $100. All cat adoptions include spay or neuter,
microchip, and age-appropriate vaccines.

 New adopters will receive a complimentary health-and-wellness exam fromVCA Animal Hospitals, as well as a goody bag filled with information abouthow to care for your pet.

 View photos of adoptable pets and schedule an adoption appointment Adoptions are by appointment only, and new adoptionappointments are available every Sunday and Wednesday at 10:00 a.m.

 Pets may not be available for adoption and cannot be held for potential 

adopters by phone calls or email. 

stores and art supply stores, and 
that if I was actually doing and using a product, 
I could just go get it. And if it was truly 
unavailable, I realized it would not be the end 
of the world. I could do without. I learned 
to be rich in the degree to which I could do 
without stuff. 

That’s not to say that I have no supplies or 
boxes of stuff. I do. But I regularly check 
what I have and give away what I do not need. 
I do not wait for Christmas or birthdays – I 
just give away when I realize I have been serving 
the object and not the other way around.
I had a dream that helped me to realize the 
wisdom of this choice. At a time when my 
wife and I decided to live separately, I moved 
out. But because I had so much stuff in the 
place we’d been living for nearly 20 years, 
it took a while for me to clean it out. In my 
dream, I was dead, and I was looking into the 
window of my old office. My wife was there 
with helpers and they were discarding most 
of my stuff. I was horrified at first, but then 
realized that the stuff they were throwing 
away had little or no monetary value, and no 
sentimental value to them. It had some value 
to me only because it was something I collected, 
or used in a class, or used for research. 
And I helplessly watched the junk that I 
thought was valuable – but after I was dead, 
it wasn’t! I never forgot that dream, telling 
me that maybe, just maybe, all the junk that 
I have collected really is of little to no value 
to anyone! 

Of course, stuff is useful in life. We use stuff 
all the time, for all our activities. But it is SO 
easy to get inundated in stuff and miss what 
life is all about. We forget that our feeling of 
accomplishment and fulfilment is an interior 
something, not a thing that is the 
result of accumulation. 

What then must we do? That is, 
what must we do if we wish to alter 
this stuff-accumulation pattern.
(If you don’t think it’s a problem, 
you don’t have to do a thing). 

How about not buying something 
in the first place? You know what 
I mean – you’re standing there 
salivating about some piece of 
clothing or art piece or knife or 
whatever, and you know you don’t 
really need it, but you want it, and 
you’re slowly convincing yourself 
that it’s a great bargain! You probably 
don’t need it, and your life will 

Catch breaking 
news at:
go on quite well without it. Remember, do 
your very best to separate need from want in 
your life. If you already have a lot of the item, 
and it’s sitting in your garage or cluttering up 
your living space, or worse, you’re paying for 
a storage unit, then, YOU DO NOT NEED 
IT! Don’t buy it. That’s the simple part, if 
you can do it. Just don’t buy the stuff in the 
first place. 

OK, so, perhaps that’s not the option. You’re 
going to make a purchase. Find one that 
will not cost you more money as time goes 
on. You know what I mean, a product that 
uses odd-size batteries that are not cheap. Or 
those coffee makers that require you to buy 
the little cups that fill up landfills. You can 
always choose a long-lasting ecological product, 
more or less. If you really work at it, you 
can make your buying choices support the 
products that we should all be using, and not 
junk that clutters up your life. 

I also ask myself when I obtain something 
new: Can I ever sell this for even close to what 
I paid for it? Or, can I sell it for more than 
I paid? Will it appreciate in value? Or is it 
something that no one in their right mind 
would pay anything for next month? 

I also ask myself if the product will materially 
improve my life, and make me a better 
person, and more self-reliant. Most stuff will 
not do that, let’s be real. But sometimes a 
product can be life enhancing, and it’s really 
great to have. 

Anyway, you get the idea. Your life will be 
better without junk. You are rich in the degree 
that you can do without something. Get 
rid of your clutter. 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 
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