Ty and I shared a rather uneventful night. He seldom left his corner in the kitchen, taking his meals in there. I could coax him outside on a leash for a few walks, though he had a difficult time with the hard wood floors. Spreading out non-skid rugs helped, but not enough to make him want to walk on them if he absolutely didn’t have to.
Adoption was completed March 21. By the 23rd he was doing better on a leash. Less jerking around like a wild bronco mustang and actually, when standing still, he seemed a little clingy at my side. Almost like he wanted me to protect him from this big new world.
So far, his white-tipped tail was staying firmly tucked up between his legs and our walks were a 50/ 50 shot he might or might not do his business. There were a couple of accidents in the kitchen and he looked so abjectly miserable–and surprisingly clueless–about them, that I could not bear to scold him in the slightest. I am not one hundred percent sure he really knew it was wrong.
By the 25th, we finally had a good brushing, sitting on the porch and talking. He was keyed up, not sure what to think of this experience. Considering his group photo with the pack he arrived with, probably the only grooming or brushing he ever had been the one the rescue volunteers gave him and probably the only bath he had prior to that was when it rained. To judge by the scars on his face, he wasn’t always the alpha dog.
On the 26th, he was giving signs of the wonderful dog I hoped he would be. He was getting much better on a leash, I didn’t have to keep a death, white knuckled grip on it. Still no tail wagging, but at least it wasn’t clenched so tight. He was learning to relax just a smidgen. That afternoon we sat on the porch and just chilled. Just the two of us, Ty and me. I talked, telling him of the dogs that had come and gone before him, how dear they still were, after their eventual deaths after many wonderful years shared with me. I talked of the big paws he had to fill and the giant holes in my heart. Yes, I cried. Because I missed my departed companions and I secretly wondered if Ty would ever bond with me like they had.
27th- started introducing the ‘heel’ command. He at least stayed on my left side, just several feet in front or behind but I considered it progress. As I was pouring coffee in the kitchen, he lifted his head and gave me a gentle nudge with his nose. Because this was the first initiative he took of his own, I was delighted! Yeah! Not wanting to go too overboard, I simply praised him and offered him a couple gentle pats between the ears. After another ‘Sweet, good boy,” I took my coffee and left, hoping he might want to follow.
Nope. Later my friend popped in for a fast visit. He stayed where he was, in his new cave. She said hello to him, from a distance and he watched with no expression. No wagging tail. No nothing. He just watched and waited. I took heart at least he wasn’t cowering in fear. But really, Ty’s too stoic for that. He’s independent, aloof, but not fearful when he’s in the cave. The cats are getting more accepting by now too, sneaking glances at him around the corner before scuttling out of the way, lest the great beast lunges at them with furious roars. (Cats are so into drama at times with their imaginations)
Finally, by the 28th of March, we had our first breakthrough. When I came home from work in the evening, he met me at the door. We had a pleasant walk, albeit far from a perfect heel. But at least almost no wild pulling. He was slowly getting the concept of going outside to ‘do the doo’ and he had not had any more accidents inside. He might hold it for two or three walks, but he would not let it go inside.
I was starting to get some nice photos of him as our leash control grew better and his grooming sessions continued. He was always patient as we sat on the porch and I groomed, and talked. He did not welcome hugs or any embracing kind of contact, but he was okay with listening to my endless droll.
An important breakthrough came on the evening of the 28th. I was in the study, feeding the fish and caught him peeking around the corner at me, a curious expression on his face. I called his name, hoping he might come join me. No, instead he darted back to his safe zone. Yet I was elated he was getting curious about life beyond his ‘Comfort zone’. The slippery wood floors were clearly his worse enemy so I added another few runners in the hopes he grew bold enough to explore.