By now, Ty and I are well into the second half of our first year together. To be honest,  I had plenty of doubts we’d make it this far. On the day I write this post, months past the listed post date, we’re approaching our one year anniversary. (Spoiler alert! I think we’ll celebrate our one year post-adoption with some kind of shared meal. I’m learning what he likes. Cooked carrots, not raw, all forms of cooked meats, and he’s a fiend for cheese. There has to be a recipe in there somehow)

But first, let’s catch up. I left off back in early November 2015, contemplating what an enigma Ty is. How location and a few moments can completely alter his acceptance or avoidance of identical situations.

November 11, 2015 Wednesday. In an effort to nudge Ty from his comfort zone and needing to cook for Taz (bird), I decided to groom Ty  whilst in the kitchen and monitoring the stove. At first he was shocked, but allowed the foreign custom politely enough. Up to this point, all grooming had been done outside on the porch. I didn’t get crazy today, just trimmed a couple small mats I noticed yesterday and around a place on his hip he was trying to get a hot spot. I also trimmed his feet and clipped his nails. I dished out lots of praise and stopped a few times to check on Taz’s boiling dinner.

Muldoone, the Maine Coon cat that adores to be brushed, came over, Ty was polite. Muldoone begged to get brushed too, sticking his butt directly in Ty’s face as he whirled around and meowed. Ty took a sniff and began grooming Muldoone’s furry butt.

Now this confirmed he liked the kitty krunchies from the litter box because I’ve also discovered crumble evidence by his bed. Muldoone didn’t mind so I returned to the nail trim. At first Ty bulked at the Dremel buzzing around his toes so I ended up just finishing up with a stout nail file of my own, sacrificed to the cause. He even gave me a few brief licks, though I suspect it was more his quiet way of asking me to please stop.

Ty 11-24-15 Random photo taken Nov 24 of Ty in his ‘cave’.

November 19, 2015 Thursday. Well, this is new. This morning, while making my bed, Ty came in, plopped down on his bed and watched me. I knelt down next to him, petting and praising, fluffing his ruff and making a big deal. He seemed to enjoy the attention. A few moments later he got up and returned to his kitchen cave. I went off to take a shower. I hope he just learned he can search out people where they are for simple contact.

November 25, 2015 Wednesday. It’s sunny and cool. I took Ty to the dog park. He followed an unknown man with a long ball launcher, which is a courageous step. He made friends with a 5 or 6 month old retriever puppy. He played with an Airedale named ‘Bear’, acting like they were old friends. He approached a pair of college girls but declined a pat when one of them crouched down to touch him.

Ty 11-25-15 follow man at park Following an unknown man at park who was carrying ball launcher.

Ty 11-25-15 at park young friend At park 11-25 with a young retriever friend

Ty 11-25-15 with Bear AiredaleTy and Bear Ty 11-25-15 at park w Bear Ty 11-25-15 with mts at park

He hangs around me much less than before and is more confident to go his own way there.

November 28, 2015 Saturday. Comfort and safety is definitely relative to location. Last night once Ty and I went to bed, there were gunshots echoing through the neighborhood. Pop! Pop! Pop! Ty heard them, lifted his head and searched around. I sensed a moment of tensing and waited for his flight. Instead, he lowered his head and went back to sleep.

Outside, he’d have bolted in fright. Even in the cave he would have curled up into a tight ball and wedged himself in the corner. In bed, with me next to him, he returns to sleep.

Today, we were in the yard, I was raking and he was just walking around. Again, there was the popping of someone clearly target practicing. Immediately Ty raced to the gate, whining and shoving his nose underneath the latch, trying to open it. He looked back at me, his eyes clearly pleading to please go inside. Now. Once inside, to the cave he went, curled into a ball in the corner.

November 28, 2015 Saturday Continued. The last few days I have introduced Ty to the joys of body massage. Sometimes, while brushing him and sometimes just for random exposure. In the bedroom, on the porch, in the kitchen cave and outside. Anywhere and anytime is good.

He is always the same– head down, hanging low, eyes averted. No drool finally, so that’s progress. He enjoys the sessions. They are only ten or fifteen minutes. Some talking. Toss in a few hugs, just mix it up.

A couple times he might hear something, go check it out in the cave and still return in a moment, assuming the position for more.  Tonight, for something new, I brought him into the study for a massage in the dog bed by my desk. A place I had hoped he would chose to lie on by himself. It lasted less than five minutes, he was nervous the entire time and then he was done, ready to leave.

So that rounds out our November adventures. He has made some progress and learned some new things, yet much still stays the same. No major milestones this month, and no major backward slides either. It was just a good month of slow and steady learning. For both of us.