Dog’s Reaction to Being Boarded for First Time Has Internet Sobbing

A dog owner has brought many TikTok users to tears after revealing her dog’s heartbreaking reaction to being boarded for the first time.

In the now-viral video, the owner explained that she’s “never spent a day away” from her German shepherd named Zeus, and she thought it would be good for him to learn some separation. In February, the owner took Zeus to a kennel so he could “learn how to be boarded” for a day, but she wasn’t expecting his devastating response afterward.

Writing on TikTok, Zeus’ owner explained: “When he got into the car, he collapsed in my arms and just cried. My heart broke for him.”

The clip, which shows Zeus leaning over to his owner and requiring plenty of affection, has broken many hearts online as it’s already been viewed over 207,600 times and gained more than 12,700 likes in a matter of days.

Thankfully for Zeus, being reunited with his favorite human was all he needed after such a testing time at the kennel. His owner noted that she “could see the stress release from his body” as soon as he came back to her.

Footage from later on shows him unwinding in the comfort of his home, and seeking plenty of attention from his owner. German shepherds like Zeus may be large and powerful, but they’re also incredibly soft and affectionate.

Many dogs experience separation anxiety as they exhibit stress from the moment their owner leaves them until they finally return. There are a variety of signs dogs may show, but they typically include pacing, whining, trembling, excessive barking, destructive behavior, panting, drooling and accidents in the house. The American Kennel Club (AKC) also suggests that some dogs will make desperate attempts to escape, which can result in injury in some circumstances.

It’s not always clear what causes a dog to experience separation anxiety, but it’s thought that a traumatic event, such as abandonment, a death in the family, or relocating, can make a dog more nervous about being alone. It’s also believed that if a dog has never been left alone before, they will struggle more with separation when it eventually occurs.

There are ways of ameliorating the situation however, as the AKC encourages owners to crate train their dog, give them plenty of exercise, don’t encourage clingy behavior, and to desensitize them by creating positive associations so they feel more comfortable. Leaving them for short periods of time and gradually increasing the length will help condition them and prevent them from immediately becoming stressed.

Dog looking sad
A stock image of a German shepherd looking sad with its owner. TikTok users have been left heartbroken by a German shepherd’s reaction after being boarded for the first time.

VacharapongW/Getty Images

How Did TikTok Respond?

Since the video of Zeus went viral on social media, plenty of TikTok users were heartbroken by his reaction. Many people even gave his owner suggestions for how she could make it easier for the pup.

Among the 620 comments on the post, some people recommended using a dog sitter instead of boarding, while others joked that she should simply never go on vacation without her four-legged friend.

One comment reads: “If you can find a facility that also offers doggy daycare, try that first, to ease him in. I did that with my heeler mix, mostly to socialize her.”

Another person wrote: “Poor baby. He’ll be worried he will do something to be taken there again. My heart is broken for him. It must have been so hard for you after too.”

A fellow dog owner responded: “I can never ever board my dogs. I’m too worried they’ll think I abandoned them! I couldn’t have a good time.”

Newsweek reached out to @zeusandlunagsd via TikTok for comment. We could not verify the details of the case.

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