On January 30th, it will be the one year anniversary when Honey and her kids came here to live and become part of the family. I thought this would be a good time to review what has been accomplished, the good and bad, the decisions that have been made during the past year regarding the new life I envision for her and my new commitment to helping fearful dogs.
Upon her arrival, I had no clue what to expect or do regarding her except to get the pups handled, socialized and ready for adopting to deserving homes. I can say proudly “Mission accomplished” (I’m not stating that in a flight suit on an aircraft carrier) with that first major goal. I can’t take all the credit, Honey was a great mom keeping them all well fed and allowing the handling of the pups anytime, she could have objected but didn’t.
During the 8 weeks of puppy raising the wonderful internet was searched and re-searched looking for information on living with fearful/feral dogs. If you are here on this blog, you know who the people are I am indebted to for all the help, Debbie, Mary, Amy, Kevin, Ute, Joan and Dr. Warner. Now if I had listened to all the great advice, I don’t think there would be any bad stuff to report. Being of German ancestry, I’m stubborn and get told so frequently, therefore I can blame some of the poor discussions made on my linage.
The good: I no longer refer to her as a fearful dog but a very cautious, inquisitive dog. All the indications are, 2011 will be a great year, if I remember to move slowly with her progress. She now follows me like a shadow albeit 2 feet away, but very interested in ‘what’s up’ when I’m with the girl. She now comes when called, by name, whistle or hand sign (thank you Dexter my deaf old Cow Dog, she picked that up on her own from him).
The bad: That can be summed up in a few short words, I moved too fast in working with Her, period. A great example of this is, when she started to come inside on her own and after only a week of her doing so, I closed the door to the outside preventing her escape. Bad move she wasn’t as ready as I was for that action. I regret that still, but we’re working slowly on regaining the trust to come back inside. Tiny and slow steps are my suggestion to anyone looking for advice on working with these awesome K-9s.
The biggest change in her has been the change in me! Somewhere I read, change can happen in people who love these lost souls, it’s true. I read Kevin Myers’ “A Fearful Dog Speaks” several times then decided to simply make a phone call to a local Shelter asking if there might be a need for someone to evaluate and work with any fearful dogs on site. Not only was the answer “yes” but a resounding “Hell Yes.” At a meeting called the very next day, we began a program to do just that. More will come, as this fledgling program gets its wings. In the month I have been going to the shelter 3 dogs were moved into foster and 1 onto the “ready for adoption section”. Thank you Honey and Happy Anniversary.