Crista Coppola’s friends laughed when they saw the perfect circle that her Doberman Pinscher mix Jessie had carved in the backyard during hours of anxious pacing when left alone.
“I didn’t know any better at the time,” says Coppola, who was 16 when she got Jessie as a puppy.
Fast-forward more than a decade, and Coppola is a certified applied animal behaviorist at the ASPCA Animal Behavior Center in Illinois and an adjunct professor at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, with a doctorate in animal behavior. Today she clearly recognizes Jessie’s solitary pacing as one of the first signs of her beloved dog’s lifelong struggle with separation anxiety.
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