Some pets never realize they are pets. They believe they are just another member of the family. For some this translates into anxiety when separated from the other family members.
Shorty, a 15-year-old pug in Rhode Island, is one of these pets who cries and barks every time his master has to leave him at home. The problem began after Shorty became too old to travel with his owner, Marc Peralta, according to People.
Kristen, Marc's wife, told People, "The relationship between Marc and Shorty is very special. Marc is Shorty’s person. He just adores him and is the happiest when he is in Marc’s arms."
Marc adopted Shorty 11 years ago, and Shorty traveled with Marc on business trips until just recently when age made traveling too difficult. When Shorty gets left behind, he "will bark and cry and nothing will calm him down," Kristen said.
Kristen tried holding Shorty for comfort but discovered she wouldn't do as a Marc substitute. Next, she tried putting Marc's T-shirt on a pillow, hoping the scent would calm the dog, but to no avail.
The winning idea came from Kristen's mom. After observing Shorty's angst, she ordered a life-size mannequin from a Halloween store. Kristen didn't expect the idea to work but thought she might gets some great pictures out of it, according to Bored Panda. She dressed the mannequin in Marc's clothes and dubbed him Farc, short for Fake Marc. Because Marc has tattoos on his arms, she also placed tattoo sleeves on the mannequin.
What happened was surprising. "Shorty’s reaction was truly incredible," Kristen said. "He had been crying and barking all day. I put him on Farc’s lap and wrapped the arms around him. He snuggled into the shirt and he was asleep within a half hour. He slept like that through the night."
Shorty isn't the only senior puppy to gain comfort from Farc. Kristen and Marc own Vintage Pet Rescue, a shelter for senior dogs. With 34 elderly dogs in their home needing love, care and meals, they spend a great deal of time interacting with the dogs.
Many of the dogs enjoy cuddling with Farc when Marc is away. Kristen thinks that Marc's scent is part of the reason the dogs like the mannequin, but the human shape might be the other reason.
Regardless, Farc is a favorite among the seniors at the Peralta home whether Marc is there or not.