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East Bay SPCA Home
The East Bay SPCA saves 
     and improves the lives of cats and dogs and connects
     people and pets in our community.











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Welcome to Shelter Life at the East Bay Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

We began as the Oakland SPCA in 1874. Today, the East Bay SPCA includes two animal shelters and three clinics in our community.

This is our day.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

The Trouble with Being Troubled

Smiley is one of the friendliest, well tempered dogs we have in the shelter right now. She does well with other dogs, and helps some of our young puppies learn how to play. She's great with kids. She's got a killer smile. She's a bit older, so she doesn't pull on leash or bounce off the walls, is done with her chewing stage, is housebroken - even lives in our 'real life habitat' complete with table, bookshelf & books, and a comfy wicker dog bed without making the room messy.

Smiley has been in our shelter for nearly six months.

The reason Smiley is still here: she doesn't want to be alone. Smiley is among the dogs we sometimes see in shelters who have developed serious anxiety problems, most likely as a result of being rehomed multiple times. Smiley's anxiety is almost entirely restricted to being on her own, a problem most commonly known as 'separation anxiety.' Many dogs bark or whine a bit when their owners leave, or chew things up because their families never properly trained them to be home alone. Dogs with separation anxiety however, have a much harder time. Many people who have heard of separation anxiety are aware that their stress can result in destruction of property or house soiling problems. This can be extremely hard on owners, but what is arguably worse is what these dogs can do to themselves. Their level of stress is visible in excess drool inability to eat even the tasties treats when no one is home. Many of them damage their teeth trying to chew out of crates or mutilate themselves when under stress.

Five months ago, this was Smiley. If crated, her chin, front legs and the floor of her crate would be soaked. If left alone in a new place she was excessively destructive. Due to her level of stress when she was alone in her kennel, Smiley, though the same friendly dog she'd always been, seemed anxious even when we were with her.

We put together a training plan for Smiley, based on one that had been successfully completed with another separation anxiety dog who was adopted by a staff member a year earlier. Smiley has an anti-anxietal drug which she may need to take for quite a while, at least while she adjusts to a new home. We have also used a dog pheromone to help keep her calm in her habitat. Through special feeding, exercise and crating time, she is able to stay alone in a room we've selected for her for extended periods of time, and has worked her way from 1-5 stress free minutes in her crate to 1-2 hours - sometimes longer.

The transition to a new home will be difficult for Smiley, but certainly not unmanageable. She'll need to live in a home which is not empty eight hours a day, and will likely need extra help in the beginning. On the other hand, she has a well established plan which we have seen be successful for her while at our facility. Our staff are available to assist her new family with the transition. Most importantly, Smiley's strengths, including the amount of love she will provide her new family far outweigh the challenges ahead. Smiley is just waiting for the person who is willing to take the time to discover that.

Good vibes for Smiley and her perfect forever home. Whenever I've met Smiley, she's lived up to her name - just a sweet, loving, happy, SMILEY gal!


would smiley be good home alone with a chihuahua named Foxy because I might want to get her


Smiley does very well with small dogs! If you're interested in Smiley, please bring Foxy to our Tri-Valley Adoption Center so that you both can meet her.


Good luck w/ beautiful Smiley. We adopted our dog from the EBSPCA, and she had SA pretty bad. With drugs and behav. mod., after several months we were able to leave her sleeping on the couch while we went out for Thanksgiving. She's been drug-free for 3 years, although she chews on herself a bit when she gets anxious.


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