Lizzie’s Growing Comfort

Lizzie continues to amaze with her level of comfort. She is constantly in the living room with us, she is comfortable hanging with barbara (a huge progress in a mere 3 days), she is going outside at will to do her business.

She did destroy a bed with aggressive “nesting” behavior. Replaced with a bed with a ballistic nylon cover…

While I could be angry that she is pushing her boundaries, I am not, as they are an important stage in adopting a rescue dog. They often come from sketchy backgrounds, and places where they were unduly disciplined for any minor infraction. Or worse, just ignored. What they need is a stable home, some freedom, and gentle behavior correction. It is not a short process, it is a journey.

On this journey, we celebrate milestones, however trivial they may appear:

  • A food that doesn’t disagree with her. Important to stop the big Diarrhea that the stress of a new home can bring.

  • Elimination outside. Or house breaking. Lizzie was mostly there when we got her, but her fear/timidity was a barrier to success.

  • Using the doggie door. Our dogs are all house dogs, and we provide a doggie door so they can access the yard at any time. That knowledge that they can get outside is important to their “map” of their world. (Lizzie figured this out quickly)

  • A safe place. I will admit that with greyhounds, we never needed a crate, and they were perfectly happy to end their time spent in crates (as they are at the track). Lizzie needs her “safe place”, and she actually enjoys her crate. I was hoping that she would leave that behind, but I am beginning to believe this will be a permanent hidey-hole for her.

  • Toys. Lots and lots of toys. Especially with younger dogs. They need activities, and they like to chew, so our big bucket of toys gets frequently emptied out. Lizzie seems to love her – probably too large for her – Nylabones (They were bought for the greyhounds).

  • Un-encouraged trips to potty outdoors. Early, I had to coax her to go outside, and when we weren’t around, she would do her business in the house. Frustrating, but it is a huge celebration when you hear the shush-shushing of the doggie door flaps, or when you return from dinner to a nice stool in the yard. You betcha you make a big deal about that.

  • The quick transition from caution around a human, to acceptance, and expectations. On Wednesday, Barbara was able to first feed a treat to Lizzie on the chair, then to do the all important belly rubs, then the first kiss, and now, Lizzie runs up to Barbara when she is operating the ice dispenser (she LOVES ice cubes)

  • When Lizzie flops on her back to get belly rubs, that is also a huge trust moment. She does this for me now, and hopefully soon for Barbara.

  • We knew Lizzie was going to take work for walks out side. We read about it in her record at Copper’s Dream rescue, but the last couple of days, I was able to get her out front in the morning to do some neighborhood exploration. Baby steps.

When we first met Lizzie, all of five and a half weeks ago, I could see the potential. I knew it wasn’t going to be simple, or easy, but I did know that Lizzie was a sweet soul, locked in that shy, timid girl. Watching her come out of her shell, to explore and push her boundaries, well, it is a beautiful thing.

Plenty more to do, but as they say, a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.