Some bonds are just too strong and some dogs are just too cute.
Both is the case for Shorty, the senior pooch who gets very bad separation anxiety when his favourit human is out of the house.
So much so, that owners Marc and Kristen, have come up with an ingenious way to ensure Shorty never gets lonely.
Introducing FARC, also known as fake Mar – the mannequin that Shorty cuddles up to when Marc is away.
The 15-year-old dog was adopted from a shelter and has been living with Marc for over a decade, so it’s no wonder he misses him when he’s gone.
‘Marc was working at a shelter in Reno when Shorty was surrendered,’ his wife Kristen told Bored Panda.
‘It was love at first sight and Marc adopted him.’
The pair share how Shorty used to join them on travels but is now too old, and therefore has to be left at home.
But despite having others – both humans and pooches – to play around with, the dog only wants Marc.
‘Now that he’s older it’s too difficult for him [to travel] and we don’t want him getting sick,’ said Kristen.
‘When Marc is gone Shorty is extremely anxious. He’ll bark and cry and nothing will calm him. If I hold him he’s still upset.’
Parrots, according to the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), are the nation’s fourth most popular pet; according to a 2012 survey conducted by the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), 3.1 percent of U.S. households owned birds. Some parrots can scream as loud as an ambulance siren. These birds are beautiful, but they’re difficult to care for and require lots of space, so the HSUS doesn’t recommend keeping them as pets at all.
The idea to introduce a mannequin to act as a Marc-proxy came from Kristen’s mum, who bought the dummy.
Kristen said: ‘She was over one day while Marc was away and saw how upset Shorty was.
‘She went home and ordered the mannequin from a Halloween store that night. When she told me about it, I thought she was nuts.
‘I really didn’t think it would work and it would just be a funny photo opportunity.’
Although she didn’t believe in the magic of FARC at first, Kristen dedicated herself into making him resemble the real deal as much as possible. She dressed the mannequin in Marc’s clothes and also put tattoo sleeves on its arms.
She put him on the couch and introduced him to Shorty – and the anxious dog calmed down almost instantly.
After 30 minutes, Shorty had fallen asleep next to the mannequin and slept through the night.
The pair run a retirement home for elderly dogs called Vintage Pet Rescue in Rhode Island and have 32 dogs in total at the moment.
They quickly found that FARC helped their other dogs too.
So, he’s now a regular feature in their house and hangs about when real Marc is around as well.
People are in awe on social media, with many commenting how great it is of the pair to go to such lengths to help their dog.
INTERESTING FACT ABOUT YOUR PET: 94% of pet owners say their animal pal makes them smile more than once a day.
One user particularly appreciated the level of detail and said: ‘I love that the dummy has tattoos’.
Another said: ‘Cats wouldn’t fall for that’ – and let’s be honest, it’s probably true.