Dear Doctor – Virtual Petting

Letter to Tufts Veterinarians


Q I will be going on a consultancy for about 35 days. I’ve never left my dog, a 9-year-old Border Collie, for more than two days, and she got upset when I did. My wife will be here while I’m away and the dog, Mija, will be in her home surroundings. Would it be okay for her to hear my voice on Skype during my travels, or would that be too confusing and upsetting? I don’t want her to feel more stressed than she will be.
Jack Hennessy
Alpine, TX

Dear Mr. Hennessy,
A Before the days of Skype, one of our editors used to talk to his dog over the phone when he was away on business trips. His wife said the dog used to look confused when she heard his voice without his being present, but would then settle down and make happy “uumphr” sounds.

With that anecdotal evidence from one case, we say go ahead and try it. Mija may love connecting with you in your absence. If, however, it becomes clear that she finds the virtual encounters more distressing than reassuring, you and your wife will want to Skype together while she’s secure in another room.


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