Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Daisy's first days
Daisy and I were off the dog park early this morning. Today, we were picking up a few friends along the way: Turbo, a sweet, friendly and happy go-lucky Labradoodle, was our first stop. She was very excited to see us and only too happy to hop in the car and go to the park. Henry, a loving, sensitive and tough little Corgi/Cattle dog-mix was stop number two. He was also excited, and all too ready to have someone chase him or to be chased by him.
This morning the air was crisp (fall is definitely here!), and the clouds were wavering between gray and angry storm blue. I was wondering how long we would have at the park before it started raining when suddenly over the top of the cloud line appeared the bright, bold sun. Yay!
As I walked along the path (with my 2-legged friends), the dogs ran, weaved and bounced in and out of the tree line chasing one another in a game of tag, or was it "chase me"? The wind was blowing right through my cheap gloves and making me glad for them and the hat I had in my trunk. Thank god I wore layers today! It was the weather that reminded me of the day that Aspen and I first brought Daisy home; one week before Thanksgiving.
Like today, it was cold, the wind was blowing the naked tree branches and gray clouds were hanging around, making the the day seem a bit gloomy. Aspen always loved riding in the car, but she seemed puzzled when we pulled up to the shelter. "What were we doing here?", she seemed to ask. "Don't worry" I told her, "I'm not leaving you here. We're only here to visit for awhile." Before I could take Daisy home to foster, I needed to make sure she and Aspen would be okay together.
We did the introduction in the shelter playroom. Surprisingly, there was very little reaction. Aspen sniffed at Daisy curiously for a minute and then went off to explore the room. Daisy remained frozen to the floor, avoiding eye contact, and waited to see what we would do next. She showed some interest in Aspen, but was cautious, and unsure of what to do next. I knew that while she was fearful, she wasn't likely to attack Aspen. Aspen was a happy-go-lucky, nine year old Shepard-mix. She pretty much liked everyone. I, of course, adored her. I didn't want to put her in harm at any cost. Luckily, no danger there.
So, after some paperwork, and some maneuvering on my part, Aspen and Daisy were loaded into the car and we headed home. The trip home was uneventful but interesting. Where Aspen loved to ride in the car, usually hanging her head out the window, Daisy completely shut down. She curled her front feet under body, made herself small, and lay in the back seat, silent and frozen. She still does some version of this today, only now she sprawls out the full length of the back seat and just sleeps until we arrive at our destination. And, on occasion, she will actually sit up and stick just the very tip of her nose out the window sniffing and watching the world go by.
When we got home, the true work began. Scared and unsure, Daisy had no idea where she was, or who I was. She didn't trust me...yet. But over the next few months she would not only come to trust me, but she would also come to find her "inner-lab". In the meantime, Aspen became her guide. She showed her how to be a dog, how to trust humans again and how to find her way to the couch - Aspen's favorite spot! The journey had just begun.