Erratic Progress Before the Puppy Invasion

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Hadley’s progress seems to have stalled. My mother-in-law is visiting and my college age son just got home, so the household dynamics are shifting and perhaps our little sensitive girl is picking up on that.

She’s back to staying in her crate for hours on end. She runs for the crate every time anything frightens her or makes her nervous. I’m trying to counter my own impatience and leave her be, but it’s frustrating. I’d like to shut the crate up during the day, but I know it’s her safe place. We all need a safe place.

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I thought the rate of progress would increase, not decrease, since she seemed to be getting so comfortable with the house, the people in the house, and Gracie. That evaluation is relative, since anything probably seems like progress when you start with a dog who was curled in a ball for three days unwilling or unable to engage with us.

She still slinks around like she’d prefer to be invisible, startling at any sudden movements or noises and making a beeline for her crate. She runs when any of us reach out to touch her. She does love to be petted and cuddled, but only on her terms. 

 

Hadley follows me outside happily, but we must stick to a prescribed path otherwise she goes into either Wylie Coyote mode (running in place in a desperate attempt to get back to her safe zone) or she shuts down (lying on the ground, shaking). In the video we are skirting the edge of the area she prefers only making scattered progress.

When she does dare to come out of the crate, she seems relatively relaxed- chewing up nerf darts, collecting “toys” (computer chargers, pencils, Christmas decorations) to hoard, or snoozing next to my desk. Every now and again, she shows her houndness by taking a sly tour of the kitchen floor in search of crumbs. She does not brave any foreign rooms and would never dare go up the stairs.

It’s been nearly three weeks and I wish I could tell you that she bounds around the house happily, but that isn’t the case. She’s fearful and cautious at all times. I did some reading online about fearful dogs and much of what I read says you can’t force them to interact or they could become aggressive. I can’t imagine Hadley ever being aggressive about anything. Even when she is stealing her hoof-chew back from Gracie she does it with the stealth of a cat-burgler. Still, we aren’t pushing her too hard.

My (and I believe Hadley’s) favorite time of the day is in the evening when we snuggle on the couch. Even if she’s cowering in her crate, the moment I sit down on the couch, I have company. That’s how I know she wants to love and be loved.

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Cars are still a big issue for her – moving or not. She will not even walk past the cars in the driveway. On our second outing on the street, she again became unhinged when any cars appeared. We made it about a half mile before she completely shut down – lying in the grass and refusing to go any further.

At some point, when her adopter comes to take her to a forever home, she’ll have to go near a car. In fact, she’ll have to get inside a car. So in the coming weeks one of my goals is to get her in the car and take her for a little ride. I’ll sit with her in the back seat and offer treats and constant attention. Knowing Hadley we may have to do this two or three or a thousand times. We’ve parked one of our cars smack dab in the middle of her greenzone (you can see it in the video). She walks around it keeping a wary eye on the thing just in case it springs to life. I’m hoping that getting inside it isn’t beyond the realm of possibility.

The coming week will be a big one for Hadley. Beyond high school friends reuniting with my home-again college student, relatives coming for Christmas, and kids home all day every day, there’s also the puppies (what?! Did I say puppies? We’ll get to that in a minute.). Tomorrow we’ll go cut down a Christmas tree and install in right next to Hadley’s crate and pile presents under it. Hadley’s little world is about to explode.

While Hadley is progressing, it’s stop-start, much like the little Toyota I drove in college. We make what seems like great progress and then we have a week like this one where she seemingly stalls or even backtracks.

I’ve begun thinking about her eventual adoption. If this week is any indicator, she may not be ready to meet new faces. But part of me thinks it should be sooner, rather than later, as she’s grown very dependent on me. I think no matter how much progress we make building her confidence, she will definitely go through a shut-down again when she is adopted, so she will need someone who is patient above everything else. This little girl has so much love and life to give, but it’s gonna take some time before she’s ready to share it. Meanwhile, there’s nothing to be done but to love her where she is right now.

Okay – puppies!

This Sunday we will pick up five of the puppies I watched come into the world five weeks ago. They will be leaving their gorgeous mama Lilliana and moving into our puppy room just in time for Christmas. Best Christmas present eva! Four out of five of them have approved adopters, so we’ll only have them for three weeks when they will be old enough to go home. These little chunky lab mix puppies are beyond adorable. Want to see for yourself? Check out Chris and Caitlyn’s Caring for Canines Facebook page.

My gift to my Facebook and twitter followers this holiday will be daily puppy pics. Who doesn’t smile at the site of a puppy? No one. I’ll have five little cherubs who can put smiles on faces all through the holidays. I’m all about sharing the happy this holiday. Charlie Brown said it best, “Happiness is a warm puppy.”

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Published by

Cara Sue Achterberg

I am a writer, blogger, and occasional cowgirl who lives on a hillside farm in Southern York County, PA. You can find information about my books and all my writing adventures on my website CaraWrites.com.

6 thoughts on “Erratic Progress Before the Puppy Invasion”

  1. I am truly grateful to people like you who are willing to go the extra mile to help foster such precious dogs. The world is a better place because of you!!

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  2. My Beautiful Sandy was the same way. My mother rescued her at the age of 8 from a puppy mill where she was a producer. She NEVER licked anyone, VERY, VERY, VERY rarely barked, and when taken to the dog park, she loved roaming the fence smelling the smells, and seeing new places. Never, did she want to meet another dog. And although for a year or so my sisters 4 dogs lived in the house with her and my mother, it was plainly clear that Sandy loved each and every one of them. As long as it was from a distance outside of her personal space. My sister and her four dogs moved into the house she had built and then Sandy and my mom were alone for the most part. A little over 2 years ago I had heart surgery (my 5th) at the age of 37 from a hereditary condition. I can honestly say, I would not have made it if it were not for the many, many, many nights Sandy hung with me til the wee hours comforting me. We went on short walks together, always the same places, and always she went with. SHE was my physical therapy. Over the 2 years or so she healed me, we grew bonded like no other. They figured she was 8 when mom got her, she stayed another 8 until Nov. 30., 2015. I will forever be grateful for the comfort she gave me, the company, the physical therapy, and EVERYTHING that just cannot be expressed in words. To her, I would like to give that same loving home to another gentle spirit like her. For more info on me and this furever home (717)-871-9297. My e-mail is slave2sound@hotmail.com (I was a radio DJ on KMXT 100.1 fm for many years, its a reference to music). Ii would certainly love to meet her. Dann

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    1. Dann – wow. my heart goes out to you. that is a fresh loss and a huge one at that. Hadley is available for adoption through http://www.ophrescue.org. She is going to need a very special home as she is still VERY timid and startles at new sounds, people, sites. She loves the puppies, but her progress in every other way has been slow. Still can’t walk near a street due to a big fear of cars. Still runs when anyone reaches towards her. I know there’s a happy puppy in there, but it’s going to take time. My very best to you as you mourn your dear friend.

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      1. Cara Sue, My family and I greatly appreciate your very kind words. Especially me. I believe that our home IS the very special place Hadly seeks for her heart to feel comfortable enough to eventually leap out from behind those walls and exchange the love. As a family, we have had a dog in our house since before my time. Never more than one at a time, but we always have had the love to share. Pynyal, the dog my parents had since years before I was born until I was 3 (not sure what kind, but he had a long and fruitful life). Smokie, a Lahsa-ahpso we got soon after the loss of Pynyal. Smokie lived happily until I was about 20. (almost 17 years). Lady, a Golden×Dingo mix my parents got in ’95, she was lost to old age in 2008, at which time we got Sandy, whom I shared her story with you earlier. The household consists of my mother (a nurse), myself (I work from home) and my 17 yr. old daughter Lizzy. We live in Millersville in a quiet neighborhood with a 1/2 acre fenced in back yard with doggie door. I will fill out the application, I just wanted to assure your mind she would come to us as Family, not as a dog. We enjoyed hearing of your experiences with this beautiful pup. Your writing style is fun and eloquent. Thank you. Dann

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