Lizzie has had an unexpected joy this last week. My sister who lives a long fly ball from Lake Shasta had a problem. The Carr fire was uncontrolled, and wreaking havoc in Redding and the area, and while she wasn’t threatened, we all know how quickly that can change.
Work has been busy the last couple of weeks (even with the Independence day holiday this week) so I haven’t had time to jot down any notes on Lizzie.
We have been working on getting her more comfortable with other people, and other situations. We know that one day, we will have to take her to that dreaded place, the Vet, and are confident that will be traumatic.
However, Barbara had a conversation with the trainer at the local “Unleashed by Petco” store, and the recommendation was to bring her in for short meets, give her a treat, then leave.
Lizzie has significantly progressed from the shy, retiring girl when we first met her at Alyce’s house, first bonding with me, then playing like a fool, then being bonding with Barbara. However, much work needs to happen.
In the mornings now, first thing, she practically insists on being harnessed up and going out front. She is pretty good at exploring the neighbor houses, but she isn’t much interested in moving beyond that comfort area. Sometimes, she wants to go out a second time, and then it is play time, and alas, she is impossible to control, so we head in quickly. Still, it is encouraging that she wants to go out.
It has been a while since I have written, certainly time to get back to the world of Lizzie. Last Monday marked the 2 month anniversary of Lizzie’s arrival. The initial transition was rough, but she quickly bonded (with me at least), and continued to improve.
At about the 5 week mark, she began opening up to my wife, and became more comfortable around her while I was at work. Still some rough edges, backsliding on the potty training, and the destruction of a couple of beds (we now have a ballistic nylon tough bed for her “den”.) Additionally, she began going on a short front yard roam every morning.
Last weekend, Lizzie had my brother and sister in-law intown with their two Maltipoos. That started a bit rough, with Lizzie hiding most of the weekend, but she ws much more brave by the time they left on Tuesday afternoon, even playing with the lil’ pups.
This weekend, Barbara’s brothers in town. Lizzie was (and is) a bit more freaked out. Barking, hiding, growling. Not so good. Of course, Barb’s brothers are big, loud, and not dog people. Lizzie was not happy.
This weekend, we had visitors. My brother and his wife came up from San Diego, and brought their two Maltipoos, Charley and Angel. Lizzie started the weekend in some stress. Strange people (very scary), and two little dogs who kept her corralled in her room.
They arrived on Sunday, and when we went to my sister’s house for BBQ, we left Lizzie at home. She wasn’t ready for a strange house, with strange dogs and people she just stayed in her room while we went out.
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.
Five and a half weeks, and what a transformation in the lil’ Lizzie. Shy, timid, retiring when we first picked her up, she had to be carried outside for her eliminations, and cowering in her crate otherwise. It was a huge deal when she first ate in the kitchen, when she went outside by herself to do her duty, when she started playing, when she finally went out on her own during daylight hours, when she first let Barbara pet her out of her crate or den.
Remarkable progress, progress that I thought would take months happening so quickly that my head is almost spinning.
(WARNING: This post will talk about urine and feces. Dog people will get it. If you cringe at the thought of a big dookie in the living room, you will probably want to leave now.)
Celebrating milestones is important. Yesterday, we had a significant milestone. If you recall from last week, we had a bit of backsliding on her “housebroken” status. Both a pee and a poo in the the living room, and barely concealed disappointment. She had been doing so good.
The one consistent thread is that Lizzie is somewhat nocturnal exercise. Pretty consistently, at 3:00ish AM, she wakes up, and gets really playful. Sprints, shadow boxing, indoor/outdoor zoomies, milling around the rosebushes, and general mayhem. It is fun to watch her truly own her environment, but, I will admit that my sleep patterns are completely off kilter. Waking up at 2:30 to 3:20 AM every day does a number on me.