Everybody Scares My Dog…

I have been meaning to post for over a week now about our minivacation for my husband’s birthday. We took Oscar over to the West Coast of Florida to Bonita Springs. It was one of our favorite areas to go with Cody. They have a wonderful dog beach and the whole city is very dog friendly.


We were originally supposed to arrive in Bonita on Friday night kind of late. We had an errand to do before we got on the road to the West Coast. So we packed up the car to the brim, loaded up the dog and started on our way pretty late, around 8 PM. On our way to do that errand I was just getting on I 95, heard an awful noise -we got a flat tire. Not just any flat tire, it was absolutely ripped apart and destroyed. We were right next to an offramp but there was no way I could ride on the rim of my car to even get down the off ramp. So we pulled over to the side of the road, on I-95, and my husband jumped out to attend to the tire. Talk about frightening. The traffic on I-95 in Florida is horrendous. It is 6 lanes. People like to think that they are race car drivers even going down an off ramp, where you really should slowdown. No one slows down.


Had the car been empty this would not have been such an ordeal. But we were loaded to the brim as I said and the dog was in the car as well. I have mentioned before that Oscar is a little bit anxious. Okay that’s an understatement. And owning a Honda Element the tire is underneath the flat bed area in the back of the truck. So essentially we had to unload the entire back of the car, all of the contents, to get the spare out. On I95. Suffice it to say it really sucked. The dog was freaking out because my husband was outside of the car, traffic was whizzing by at light speed, the car would shake while it was up on the jack because of the cars whizzing by, and it took forever. Apparently the lugnuts were rusty or something and would not come loose. Ugh…

Once the spare was on the truck and we knew we couldn’t drive all the way to the West Coast of Florida on a doughnut. So we finished our errand and went back home. I called the hotel we were going to stay in, and postponed our check in until the following day. At no charge. Very nice of them on such short notice.


Saturday morning bright and early my husband went and got my tire, we loaded up the car, loaded up the dog and hit the road once again. We made it over to Bonita before noon, and took the dog directly to the dog beach at Lovers Key. As I mentioned we used to take Cody here all the time and he loved it. Dogs everywhere and their owners enjoying the beach together. As it should be.


We set up some beach chairs, an umbrella, had our cooler and let Oscar loose. And what did he do? He hid between us under the umbrella hiding from people and dogs all day long

We tried coaxing him out into the water, and he would follow us because we both went, but really was not playing around with any other dogs or people. It truly is so upsetting to see him not enjoying himself in social situations that he should be enjoying thoroughly. We do not shelter him, he goes to the dog park and has gone since he was a very young puppy. We stayed for quite a long time hoping that he would start to relax into things, but it never really happened. He got a little bit better later in the day as it started to clear out. But he never really completely relaxed at all.

Finally we went back to the hotel, checked in and got him into the room where he was pretty much a nervous wreck listening to all the sounds in the hotel. I brought his pheromones and doused his bandanna with it, hoping that it would calm his nerves. After my husband and I showered we decided to walk over to a dog friendly restaurant across the street, and Oscar tolerated it. Again, he never relaxed, but he definitely tolerated sitting outside with us.

When we got back to the hotel he promptly passed out from all of the stress. And slept pretty well throughout the night. Of course, on the bed right in between my husband and I.


Sunday was my husband’s birthday. We woke up and walked over to a diner that was next-door to our hotel which is one of our favorite places to eat. We got breakfast to go and walked back to the hotel with Oscar to eat. Then we got all of our stuff together for our trek over to Sanibel Island. The entire island of Sanibel is very dog friendly. So again we got our camp together with our umbrella and beach chairs, cooler and the dog and found a great spot to plant ourselves for the day. And that is exactly what we did. All day.




Surprisingly enough Oscar was so much better on Sanibel beach than he was at the dog beach. I think maybe the dog beach was just too much overload for him with people and their dogs running amok. Sanibel was very low-key and we only saw two other dogs all day long. We took him in the water with us, swam around with him quite a bit, sat under the umbrella and enjoyed the shade and the view all day long. I think all three of us enjoyed Sanabel much better than the dog beach. It was a winner.



We stayed there until about 6 PM, got back in the car and got some dinner, and then back to the hotel where we all promptly passed out after baths and showers. We all had so much sun we were wiped out. I honestly have never seen Oscar so incredibly tired. He didn’t even have the energy to bark at the noises in the hotel.

The following day which was Monday, we checked out of the hotel and cruised around Bonita and Naples. We went to visit some friends and family, had lunch, and then started our trek home so we could be there a little bit earlier to unpack and unwind.


All in all it was a very nice trip. We realize that Oscar is scared of everyone except for us, and I guess that’s okay. We are still working on it and find that exposing him to trips and situations like this weekend are helpful to get him used to being around people. I still think the pheromones are working, and he is no longer frightened to death of the television which is good. I’ve actually been noticing him watching TV at times, so I think his mind is putting it together that it is not frightening and not really a human that he is seeing there.


I know that all dogs are different. Any dog owner knows that. This one is definitely different than any dog I have ever experienced before and I love him because he is so special. He is just going to take a little bit more time than the average dog to adjust to things…

But…  I have all the time in the world.






~ by Michelle Sammartino-Zeto on July 3, 2014.

2 Responses to “Everybody Scares My Dog…”

  1. Poor guy! At least he has a great family who will protect him. My 110 lb German Shepherd is scared of a gentle summer breeze blowing through the trees. I have no idea what the origin of that is. Other phobias – fireworks, thunder and lightning, vacuum cleaner – make more intuitive sense. But you are right – each one is a distinct personality and you never really know what you are getting but somehow you just love them whatever they end up being. Much like kids, I expect. You do the best you can but there’s so much you can do with training and obedience. There can be no single method when every dog is different, even from other litter-mates. Enjoy your summer!

    • Oscar’s litter mates are totally different. We met one in particular when we went to his very first vet visit, I guess brother was adopted the same day Oscar was. And wow, that dog was not only totally different looking in color but temperament too. Oscar whined and fidgeted, the other just sat there all kinds of mellow. But yes they are all so totally unique… you take what you get and for some reason get what you need. I am not sure why after Cody and all that, I needed Oscar and his oddities, but apparently the universe has plans for me…

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