I’ve moved more times than I care to remember in this life. And I know that each time I relocated, there was an adjustment period. Unloading boxes and setting up utilities and discovering the idiosyncrasies of each new house and neighborhood was stressful in many ways – both good and bad. It always took at least a week or two before I really felt like I had my feet on the ground and could begin my new life.
I’ve learned that my foster dogs go through even more stress when they move in with me. And it’s not just the flying nerf darts, grumpy Gracie, or the swatting and suspicious cats. I know the dog I bring home from transport will not be the same dog I hug goodbye after a few weeks.
I wrote last week about Meredith’s miraculous transformation and it was that, but she continues to transform. As she has gained confidence, her energy level only increases. It’s dangerous to update your foster dog’s information on the public website right away because like a guest who has just arrived, the dogs are many times just being polite. They don’t know you well enough yet to let down their guard.
On Meredith’s page, I wrote “excellent leash manners” because she seemed to have those. She trotted carefully next to me, always glancing up to see if I needed anything. But a week later, Meredith has settled in and realized that nerf darts don’t hurt, Gracie is all bluster, and the cats don’t really mean it. Now she lunges out in in front of me, straining against the leash in her excitement to head off for a hike in the woods or around the pasture. Because she is only 30 pounds or so, this isn’t necessarily dangerous (unless it’s barely light out and you’re wearing slippers and headed downhill on frost-covered grass when one of the cats taunts her by casually appearing just out of reach). Her leash manners need some work. I deleted any mention about leash manners on her OPH page.
At press time, Meredith is still a little on the shy side with new people, but I’m fairly certain that will change. When new people reach for her, she backs away and ducks her head. Yesterday when we popped in to the OPH event at the pet store, she cowered behind me at first, but after store workers, OPH volunteers, and potential adopters began offering her treats, I could see a light go on – Ah! People=treats! She began greeting everyone who entered the store wondering if they, too, came to bring her treats. I have no doubt that the overly enthusiastic love that Meredith showers on me will soon be offered to all people.
Here’s a picture of her hanging out with my little brother and his wife last evening. She’s learning that people won’t hurt her and many of them have treats in their pockets. Continue reading Ch-ch-ch-changes…a foster dog’s life is full of them