Dog Suffers From 'Separation Anxiety' Every Time His Owner Is Away — So They Created A Mannequin Look-Alike To Comfort Him

A dog is a man's best friend, and a mannequin is a dog's best friend.

dog, pug, separation anxiety, mannequin Vintage Pet Rescue 

After noticing their dog suffered separation anxiety each time he was out of the house, couple Marc and Kristen Peralta formulated a plan to put the dog’s mind at ease by having him believe that his owner never left his side. 

The idea soon became a hit with their other dogs, who cannot get enough of it! 

The couple created a mannequin that resembled the dog owner, Marc, for the dog to lean on every time the real Marc was out of the house. 

After meeting at a Rhode Island animal shelter in 2013, Marc and Kristen Peralta not only got married but also founded their own animal rescue center that took in senior dogs from animal shelters or owners who could no longer care for them. They named their organization Vintage Pet Rescue, and to date, have saved the lives of over 600 dogs. 


One of the dogs lucky enough to land in the care of Marc and Kristen was Shorty, a pug whom Marc adopted when he was just a few years old. The two were the ultimate duo, with Shorty often tagging along with Marc on all of his travels. 

vintage pet rescue marc peralta pug shortyPhoto: Vintage Pet Rescue 


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However, as Shorty grew older, the trips became few and far between as travel was becoming more difficult for the pug as he aged. When Marc would leave for work trips without his furry friend, Shorty was inconsolable, and would “bark” and “cry” for his owner, according to Kristen. 

“He won’t even calm down if I am holding him,” Kristen told PEOPLE. “In the past, I tried putting one of Marc’s shirts on a pillow, but it didn’t really work. I felt so helpless trying to calm him down when Marc was away.” 

One day while Marc was traveling, Kristen’s mom stopped by and noticed how upset Shorty was. She decided to provide some comfort for the 15-year-old pug by ordering a life-sized mannequin from the Halloween store and designing it to resemble Marc. That way whenever Marc wasn’t home, Shorty could snuggle up to the mannequin to ease his separation anxiety. 


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Initially, Kristen admits that she was unsure about her mom's idea. “When she told me about it, I thought she was nuts!” Kristen said. “But, it was worth a shot.” 

Kristen dressed the mannequin in her husband’s already-worn shirts and hat so that it would “have his scent.” She also added fake-tattoo sleeves to the mannequin’s arms that resembled Marc’s real tattoos. She dubbed the mannequin “Farc” (Fake Marc) and propped him up on the couch to see how Shorty would react. 

To her pleasant surprise, the dog fell in love with it!

“Shorty’s reaction was truly incredible. He had been crying and barking all day. I put him on Farc’s lap and wrapped the arms around him. He snuggled into the shirt and he was asleep within a half hour,” Kristen shared. “He slept like that through the night. I was amazed. I really could not believe that it worked!” 


pug shorty leaning on farc mannequinPhoto: Vintage Pet Rescue 

Farc not only won over Shorty’s affection but many of the other rescue dogs Marc and Kristen took in as well.

There were usually one or two pups cuddled up next to the mannequin. Kristen believes that they were attracted to Farc because he has Marc’s scent on him. 

Although the real Marc admits that he is a little hurt that his beloved Shorty was fooled by a “brainless dummy,” he is happy that the dog was able to find a source of comfort while his owner was away. 


Kristen and Marc believe that many animal rescue centers could benefit from having their own “Farcs” that resemble dogs’ owners, especially those like Shorty who suffer from separation anxiety. 

“Since posting Farc on social media I’ve had a few people reach out to me to tell me that they also bought a mannequin for their dog that has separation anxiety. I really think this might be a great thing for shelters!” Kristen says. 

Although Shorty sadly passed away since, many other rescue dogs have been able to cope with their anxiety and seek comfort in one of his favorite companions, Farc. 

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Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.