A little about me...
We rescued Little Buddy at the age of 7. His severe anxiety issues had apparently overwhelmed his previous family, and he was surrendered to the Humane Society.
On the day we met him, he seemed so calm and gentle. There was something about him that we could not resist, so we chose to adopt him and try to give him a good life.
After a short while, his anxiety did become apparent - and it was intense. We lost countless hours sleeping in shifts in our attempts to calm him when his panic set in, but we did not give up. He was still special to us, and this was his forever home.
Over the next several months, we tried a number of different things to put him at ease. Calming chews and ointments did nothing, and the ThunderShirt made it worse (he did look cute in it though). Resting him on his back between myself and the couch was the first real breakthrough (I could finally get some sleep while keeping a handle on him). Ultimately, it was a random technique we came to call the "Thunder Hat" that did the trick - a gentle massaging motion of the top of his head, while stroking the length of his ears. Whenever he started freaking out, we would give him the "Thunder Hat" and he would calm down.
Since then, his episodes have diminished in both frequency and intensity. We believe that our efforts have had an impact on him, in addition to our life structure which allows at least one of us to be home at all times - so he always feels safe and secure. We have had him for six years now, and we sometimes forget how difficult he was in the beginning.
Today, Little Buddy knows that he is a good boy and also our best friend. He loves being "Bed Boss" and sleeps with his tongue slightly sticking out - which makes him look both pathetic and cute at the same time. He still gets fairly uppity for a 13-year-old dog, and combined with his fun-size stature, most people tend to think he is a puppy.
Despite how challenging he was at first, he means the world to us. We are more than happy to give him the quality of life he deserves, because he has made such a tremendous difference in ours.