Sunday, September 6, 2009

Koi! Daisy Koi!

Daisy had a little adventure yesterday and I couldn't resist sharing it.

You may not know this, but before Jasper joined our family, Daisy would often accompany me on client appointments. This was partly because Daisy was so frantic when I left her at home alone, but also because it was a way to expose her to different situations, people and animals and help her to expand her horizons. Sometimes she would walk with me and a client and at other times she would wait in the car (Please note: Daisy never went with me if it was too warm or too cold out for her to remain in the car).

Having Jasper as a companion has helped Daisy to be more calm at home, so she has not been traveling with me as often. Yesterday however, I thought I would take her with me as a treat. She loves it when she can go with me on my rounds.

Our first stop was to check in on a Labrador Retriever (who is almost an exact replica of Daisy) and a French Bulldog - both of whom are absolutely adorable and sweet. They love other dogs, so I wasn't worried that Daisy would have to remain in the car. First, I let the boys out to go potty. Once that was done I let Daisy out of the car. Everyone set about sniffing each other. Once the introductions had been made, we leashed up and set out on a walk together. Both the boys and Daisy love to walk and what a lovely day to do so! The sun was out. It was warm, but not hot, and the birds were singing up a storm.

When we returned, we headed out back to feed the Koi fish. The Koi pond is covered with netting over three-quarters of the pond (Blue Heron's and Kingfishers have been gorging themselves on Koi, so the netting protects the fish from these interlopers), while the remaining one-quarter of the pond is covered with beautiful green lily pads. The fish have learned to be cautious, so they mostly stay under the lily pads, only adventuring out when they feel brave or when they know food is coming.

The boys followed me as I stepped into the porch area to grab a scoop of the fish food. Daisy was busy exploring her surroundings, sniffing the plants and trees surrounding the Koi pond. I carried the scoop of fish food back to the pond. The fish saw me coming and started to come out from under the lily pads and swim towards the top to get their food. Who said fish aren't smart?

As I spread the last of the food along the top of the pond, I turned to head back to the porch, and that was when I saw her. My Daisy. After sniffing the yard, she had returned to the stone sitting area to sniff. As I turned, I watched Daisy walk, nose to the ground, straight into the Koi pond. You know that moment in a movie where something momentous happens in slow motion and the main character, shouts "Noooooooooooooo!!!" in slow motion? Well, that was me as I watched Daisy walk straight into the pond.

Imagine Daisy's surprise as she stepped forward and fell down into the lily pads and water. She had no idea that the lily pads weren't a part of the stone area. Honestly, it never occurred to me that she wouldn't know there was water there. Poor girl!

She came up sputtering and immediately headed towards the edge of the pond. Amazingly, she did not panic, but rather swam to the edge of the pool and started to pull herself up. I raced to grab her, but she slipped back in. "Oh no!" I thought, "She's going to panic! And, I'm going to have a hard time getting her out again." But, I was wrong. Not my Daisy. She quickly swam to the edge again and pulled herself completely out on her own (with a little help from me as I grabbed her collar).

Given her background, I thought she would be totally freaked out and running scared. I was wrong again. Daisy simply shook herself off, looked back at the pond, and then set about sniffing again. I was floored. Was this my scared little Daisy? The one who was so afraid of everything and anything new or different? Who would have been absolutely freaked out if this had happened a year ago?

I guess not! Who would have thought that Daisy could be so nonchalant about something that would have been so frightening to her in the past. Simply put, I was in awe of her. I think Daisy's progress is a testament to what encouragement, patience and love can do for a puppy mill dog. I was so proud of her.

But, I still think I will shout "Koi! Daisy Koi!" if we are ever faced with this circumstance again.

(As a last note: No Koi or lily pads were hurt in the making of this accident, and the netting was spared because luckily Daisy fell in the one-quarter part covered in lily pads.)


  1. Hi there - just found your blog. Love it!! It is giving me inspiration for my puppy mill breeder foster. My name is Shelly and I am fostering one of six dogs that were brought to WI from a MO puppy mill. The other four fosters and I have been comparing notes and we've all noticed considerable back sliding - sigh. Your blog is an inspiration - You are an inspiration. Thank you for doing what you do.

    My blog is and my present foster is a Bearded Collie named Issabella.

    Looking forward to more of your posts and reading past ones as well. Shelly

  2. Grace - Went out and started reading your blog on Isabella. Boy can I relate! Unfortunately, all those things you are experiencing are par for the course with a puppy mill rescue.

    Backsliding is normal. For Daisy it has gotten to be almost non-existent now, but we will be celebrating our 2 year anniversary in two weeks (it's so hard for me to remember how she used to be now). Hang in there. Trust me. It is so worth it!