Christmas day, December 25, 2015 Friday– Ty and I headed to the river. We by-passed our normal haunts and headed for a few new trails. The place was deserted, which suited us just fine. We encountered a small bridge, something new, and Ty bravely crossed over. We came to a larger bridge. He clearly wasn’t a fan, but he crossed that one too.

Ty 12-25-15 on the trail  Ty 12-25-15 Pisgah Bridge

Not a big fan, but at least he’s trying.              Poor boy. He’s not sure about that bridge!

It was a very damp, rainy though warm day. We hiked as many trails as we could.

Ty 12-25-15 Pisgah Forest Hunched body, ears back, he’s cautious. Ty 12-25-15Pisgah ForestEars back, tail low, he isn’t sure about this new area.

On the way home we stopped at the dog park. It was just starting to rain but he ran and played with a small lab type of dog for a few minutes. The three big dogs showed up. He chased around with them and then started his previous whining episode. Since it was raining pretty good by then, I just leashed him up and we went home.

A few hours later, once he’d more or less dried out, he got a good brushing and I removed a while bird’s nest worth of twigs, dried grass and dead leaves.

Then, armed with leftover turkey and dressing left over from my Christmas feast, I lured him into the study, feeding and praising constantly. He sank onto the green bed, eating as fast as I could fork over the food. That lasted about one to one and a half minutes. Then , like when he hits his park threshold, he bolted for the kitchen cave. I followed, with praised and a few more bites of turkey.

Hopefully his threshold will be a little longer next time.

December 27, 2015 Sunday– Armed with more turkey and dressing, I coaxed Ty back into the study this evening. Taz was in his cage in the den. Whymzie was settled nearby so I put the baby gate up, to keep him from bolting out. He didn’t like it at first. He paced, bolting a few bites of meat and dressing down like a starving wolf. I just sat on the floor, near the bed I was hoping he’d return to. After about five minutes, he settled down to lay down on the bed, and I kept the goodies and praises coming.

Plus signs that I take with encouragement are he interacted with the fish, sniffing their tanks He explored the room, albeit almost in a state of hysterical. He also checked out Whymzie on her bed, until she swatted at him. But that is Whymzie, she hates everybody who isn’t’ human.

Negatives, he yawned a lot. (Showing his stress), he panted (showing his fear) and his ears were laced back. He did prick them forward for a minute while he sniffed at the fish.   Finally, ten minutes into this new venture, he laid his head on his paws and sighed, resigned to his fate, and clearly not happy. He was out of his comfort zone and it showed.

Each time my chair squeaked, because of the cat, he looked up. Finally I swiveled the chair over and he leaped up, going to the gate, trying to get away from the rolling monster. I followed, petting and praising his bravery, then  I lifted the gate. He tore off to his cave like his tail was on fire.

December 28, 2015 Monday. While I was on the phone in the study and Avery Faith sat curled on my lap, Ty came into the study ON HIS OWN. !!! Each visit lasted only seconds, a minute or two apart. Once he touched my knee. Then he was gone. Unfortunately, I was conducting business and could not dump the cat and interact much with him. I wonder if he was seeking solace because the closet door was open (cat related no doubt) or a follow-up from our stretching his comfort zone yesterday. I’ll probably never know but it sure was nice to see him exploring on his own.

As we close out 2015, I reflect on how far we’ve come as a team and he individually and what the new year will hold for us.