October 17, 2015, Saturday. Still no progress in getting Ty to come into the study where I work. He is curious, pokes his nose in and spends considerable time pacing between the kitchen cave and the bedroom. At least I know he’s getting plenty of exercise.
We went to the dog park today. It was a lovely day weather wise and the park was full of dogs and their people. He found a hound he took a fancy to and they romped. Ty became a dog! Before my very eyes, a transformation happened.
Ty play-bowed, he dove for the other dog’s legs, he fish-tailed and jack-knifed. He played like normal dogs play, like this was his long time buddy. His tail was high in the air and he smiled the true collie smile. It was a beautiful, glorious, and happy sight!
It was great for me, heartwarming, to see him acting like a normal dog. I fell so in love all over again with him in those moments, I could not bear to ever lose Ty. He had crashed through some invisible barrier and I was privileged to be witnessing his unbridled joy. Even if no one else there knew what the significance was, I sure did. The only thing to side note was he still at no time barked.
Earlier, before the hound arrived, he paced around the various owners and dogs, not connecting with anyone. He seemed to be trying to figure something out. A pitt bull wanted him to chase her, but he was clueless as to the ‘chase me’ concept. He finally caught on once the hound showed up. By then the pitt bull had left. It was possibly his best visit to date.
October 25, 2015 Sunday. Ty had his first visit to Petsmart. We did it all in gradual steps. First, a slow walk through the parking lot and lots of sniffing at the islands. A casual walk over the crosswalk once the cars were gone. Then a short loiter at the front doors to observe them as they opened/ closed and dogs and people entered/ exited.
Next, once he’d had time to process the whole scene so far, and was only a little nervous, we proceeded. Sadly, he did carry himself like a scared dog; ears back, tail tucked, open mouth panting and bunched up body. He was on the border of flight or hit-the-deck.
However, to most anyone else, he looked great. No bolting, yet. We entered the sliding doors and took a moment to just take in that first impression of lights, sounds, motions and smells. Then we stepped forward. He handled it pretty good. The floors were okay, as I had worried he might freak out on the tile floors. He seemed fine with them. He handled the people, shopping buggies and displays with growing confidence. We shopped for some chew bones and he selected two styles. At the checkout, he managed a perfect sit for about half a minute. It was a start. He refused the treat the cashier offered him but he ate it later in the car. Another good visit.
October 31, 2015 Saturday. Two things happened this week that I wish to take note of. One occurred last Sunday evening/ Monday morning, the 26th. Ty woke me up just howling and yelping as though someone were skinning him alive. I spoke softly and he stopped flailing and settled down. It was a PTSD flashback, much like the time he awoke and growled at me, while not actually seeing me. That was back in our earlier days.
The second event was the evening of Thursday, October 29. I came home from work and took him out for a walk. It was almost 11pm and a full moon. He was wide open with fright, pacing in huge circles around the yard, ears back, eyes wide, panting heavy. He had no interest in sniffing, he was spooked.
I started speaking slowly, giving him long, slow, easy phrases, just the same four or five words over and over I stood in the center of the yard, letting him circle me. I only twisted my torso to follow his movements but stood in the same spot. It took many long anxious moments — maybe fifteen– until he calmed down enough to finally stop, exhausted and sniffed to pee. Then he dashed for the gate and looked back at me, clearly eager to go back inside.
To this day I have no clue what set him off.
November 3,2015, Tuesday. I was out raking the patio with Ty running around watching me. I stopped to inspect my battle against the leaves, to determine if there was a chance I might win it, when Ty totally surprised me. He came over to me, paused, lowered his head and asked for a pat. Briefly, he allowed me to touch his shoulder and then he was gone.
Now, inside I can pet and touch all I want. Outside, in the patio yard, touching is never encouraged by Ty. So that he asked for this contact was a huge overture on his part. I am elated by the positive step it means. His trust is growing.
Leaving the patio moments later, I took his leash and pulled him to me, trying to recapture the experience. He went stiff, hesitant, recoiling as I reached out to praise him. Okay, so I stopped. A few seconds later, on the front porch, he was more tolerating, more accepting of a friendly pat.
Odd how the difference in locations and mere minutes shift his trust and tolerance to handling. Either way, I know if he is reluctant one time, move locations and try again.
He may be enigmatic, but he is Ty, my silly goose. We’ve come so far, especially in the last month or so, I just think the world of him. Despite his flashbacks and sometimes odd, hesitant behavior, I have no regrets with adopting Ty. He has filled my life with something I had not known was missing. And, as we enter the second half of our first year together, can’t wait to see what is in store for Ty and for us.