Karen B. London
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Missing Our Dogs
Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Having just returned from a small conference focusing on applied animal behavior, I’ve had several friends ask, “What do applied animal behaviorists talk about for three whole days?” It may seem like a long time, but it’s barely enough to discuss all that we find fascinating, which ranges from behavior problems, scientific research and shelter programs.


We especially find ourselves short on time because in addition to our professional presentations and discussions, we tell one another all about our own dogs. During a snack break on the second day, one member of the group said, “I miss my dogs. Does anyone else miss theirs?” What followed was an enthusiastic sharing of dog photographs and stories to match. There were print photos, phone photos and piles of adorable images on computers.


Missing dogs is always a challenge during travel, but we were lucky to be surrounded by others who understood perfectly. Is it hard for you to leave your dogs when you travel for work? Do you share photos with your colleagues?


Karen B. London, PhD, is a Bark columnist and a Certified Applied Animal Behaviorist specializing in the evaluation and treatment of serious behavior problems in the domestic dog.

iStock photo

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Submitted by Julie M Palais | March 7 2012 |

Yes, by all means!!! I always share pictures of my dogs with friends and colleagues. I travel to McMurdo Station, Antarctica every year for work. People who work in Antarctica are starved for dog love and everyone who has dogs misses their dogs and shares photos with each other. Photos on paper, computers and iphones are the best we can do since dogs are no longer allowed in Antarctica as part of Annex II to The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty because of concern that dogs might introduce diseases such as canine distemper that might be transferred to seals. The last time a dog set foot in Antarctica was 1994. This is worth mentioning this year especially as this past Antarctic field season was the 100th anniversary of the first person to reach the South Pole. The Norwegian Roald Amundsen was the first person to make it to the South Pole in Dec. of 1911. He depended on huskies to make it there and wouldn't have made it without their help!

Submitted by Alexa A | March 7 2012 |

I try to travel with my dogs whenever possible, but find that most places have weight restrictions that prohibit big dogs. I find that it's difficult to find people who can relate to the closeness and love I have for my four legged friends.

Submitted by Becky | March 7 2012 |

Ha! We were waiting to be seated at a local restaurant and shared pictures with complete strangers. It's how you make 60 minutes feel like 15. Colleagues are a given!

Submitted by B | March 8 2012 |

I find leaving my dog at home heartbreaking. I miss him so much and once I return home refuse to unpack until I've spent a long time with him walking, playing and snuggling. He's quite the cuddler.

Submitted by Jane | March 10 2012 |

YIKES!!!! I am missing my dogs so much. I haven't seen them for over 3 weeks because of travel. I know they are currently enjoying their vacation with my dear friend who takes as good if not better care than I do. When I am away from them and someone asks me if I have kids (which I only have furry ones) and I tell them I have three dogs if they so much as look as if they are interested in my dogs out comes the iPhone with plenty of pictures to view. All dog lovers love to share dog stories.

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