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I have a border collie called Bryn who has always been rather independent. She's a great girl, I love her to bits, and she's great for snuggles, but she's never been a velcro dog.

Now, a bit of background: I've had some chronic health issues since long before Bryn was born. About 8 months ago, I moved to America for treatment and had to leave my baby girl behind for a while. The move was incredibly sudden, so I didn't have a place to live or the necessary paperwork to bring her right over. So my sisters dealt with everything on that end, while I found a house here. Fast forward six months, we're reunited, everything's good again. Obviously she's a little shaken from the 30 hour travel time, and she checks in with me more than she used to, but we start obedience classes and she makes friends and she's happy.

And then about a week ago, there's an incident where I wind up having to be tossed into an ambulance and taken away. It's not the first time, but I think because of the violence of the episode, the frantic energy, and panicked voices (not to mention the 10 firemen and emergency service people that showed up) really scared her, not to mention the fact that they took me away and she didn't see me again until the next night.

So it's been a week, and she's become extremely attached. She won't go outside to the bathroom unless I go with her, is constantly looking back at me, stays right at my feet all the time, sits outside the bathroom door until I'm done, insists on sitting next to me when I make my tea in the morning, and refuses to put herself to bed unless I'm right there with her.

For any other dog I've had in the past, this wouldn't worry me. They were wonderfully clingy. For Bryn, I have no idea what to do. Maybe she needs time to calm down, but it's been a week and I'm starting to get anxious. I'm worried that she's freaking herself out, that she's not happy, and I'm not sure how to build that confidence back up in her! Maybe it's nothing, and maybe I'm just an overreacting mum, but I'm really worried about this. Any advice? Am I hypering myself into a frenzy, or is there actually something to be worried about here?
 

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I think you have two things colliding together to make a perfect storm on this issue. One is the chaos and change. For some dogs (and even people), it might make then just a little more clingy (or guarded as the case may be). However, when you couple this with the fact of your health issues (predators - dogs included - can sense health issues in other animals), this is obviously upsetting to her, and she is sticking around you both for comfort and reassurance. It's similar to if you were to tell your child that you have just been diagnosed with a life threatening disease, and they move closer to you for your own good, and for their own good. The best thing you can so is to comfort Bryn in a very reassuring way whenever she looks at you. Smile. Tell her what a good puppy she is. Have her hear your tone of voice. Even if things aren't going well for you, you will help comfort her in her time of anxiety, and she will reward you with that happy tail wag she has. More than likely being clingy will continue, or only subside a little, but if that is the case, it should be comfort to you to know that she does care about you. Maybe that will be the basis of your smile to her.

Hope I've at least given you something helpful.
 
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