Winter is gone, spring is almost ready to move aside for summer and Ty enter our 2nd full year together. He is still Ty, and will never become a “Lassie” and I am okay with that. I love him for the dog he is. I admire him for the dog he has already become, all the baby steps and challenges he faced to grow into the Ty I know and love. I respect him for the heart he has, the trust he clung to in his darkest and scariest times, and for trusting me to join him through it all.

Right now–April 2017–I am seeing a dog that prefers to sleep with me at night, next to the bed. However, loud noises from the neighbors still send him scurrying for his cave, but only for a few moments how and he returns to me.

He is more alert in the courtyard than before, standing tall and proud, and dare I say..relaxed even, as he surveys his surroundings. He is now interested in the activities beyond the fence.

April 15, 2017 Saturday. I was invited to take him along to a dog walk appointment I had in town. 8 year old Rosie was lonely and wanted a play mate. I turned them both loose in the big fenced back yard, hoping for play bows and mutual interest. Nope. A few sniffs and they both went their own way. In the end, I played fetch with Rosie while Ty just walked around. The mailman came by with a package and as I waited to sign for it, both dogs stood between the 4 foot fence, the mail carrier, and I. I was happy to see a bit of protective instinct rising in Ty.

Ty and Rosie Ty chilling out at Rosie’s yard. 

April 24, 2017. Monday Another vet appointment for a check up and booster vaccines. He now weighs a solid 81.8 pounds, up 19 pounds from two years ago. He might be just a touch overweight now, but not by much. I will cut down on the treats.

He was slightly nervous during our visit. He did drool and pant a little, but nothing out of the expected normal of any dog at the vet’s. The only problem came when the tech knelt by him, moved in and tried to ‘hug’ him in the traditional tech hold while the other one gave the shot.

81.8 pounds at the vet.

April 25th, 2017 Sweet Dreams. Ty snoozing in the cave.

He tensed and moved away from the tech. His eyes widened and his panted increased. Classic reactive tension. I asked the tech to move away and suggested we just distract him instead with verbal cues and petting instead of restraint. It worked much better.

Sweet dreams. Ty snoozing in the cave 4-25-2017. So peaceful.

April 30, 2017 Sunday. A friend brought her 11-month-old intact male Labradoodle (Rusty) by for a visit and potential meet-and-greet for future boarding. Ty stayed in the cave–albeit interested–as Rusty explored the house and the cats. No issues whatsoever. Then we took them both outside.

Initially they played. Mutual play bows and much tail wagging, leaping and bounding. It was a great site to see. Sorry, no photos, but it was lovely.

Then Rusty became over stimulated and began humping Ty. His mom stated this is a chronic issue with Rusty. Ty snarled and growled, baring his teeth in a warning to back off. Rusty did not “get it” or understand.  Finally, after repeated mounting over several minutes, Ty simply gave up, found a spot to lay down by the fence, and ignored Rusty completely. Rusty proceeded to happily hump away all over Ty. He also groomed Ty by licking his ears.

Ty and Rusty in the cave 5-14-2017

A few times Ty tried getting away, but Rusty just followed, though his overabundance was slowly dimming. The hope between my friend and I was that Rusty would get over his excitement and Ty would defend himself and voice his displeasure enough to curb Rusty. It never happened.

May 14, 2017 Sunday. The coming of Rusty. The house has been in an uproar since Rusty exploded into our rooms. Two cats disappeared completely, slinking from the closet to the safety of the cabinets. He delights in continual humping of Ty, who tolerates and ignores it only so long in his cave or outside before he bares his teeth. A few times he added some loud snaps at the thick-headed pup. I am still hoping they will work it out with minimal input from me. I defend Ty when I can, and encourage him that he is right and good.

It took about 4 hours since his arrival for Rusty to settle down, back off from Ty and the cats,  steal a bone and crash in the foyer.  Trips outside are a mix of gamboling play until the humping begins, in which Ty goes from a playful pal to a teeth baring displeased dog. I dug a choke collar and halti lead from the garage to give me some control of the unbridled Rusty.

May 16, 2017 Tuesday Ty remains in the cave, bedroom at night. Rusty wanders and explores and barks. He is not housebroke. His maddening humping is now limited to outdoor excursions and returning from outside. Walking them separately is great for Ty, but destructive to my house. Baby gates and crates are a waste of resources and time.

May 17, 2017 Wednesday. Rusty left and peace was almost instantly restored.

May 20, 2017 Saturday, I took Ty back to the annual fundraiser Barq in the Parq. This was his second time going, and he handled it well. No bolting, no crazy frantic circles like before. He panted because it was uncomfortably hot and sunny. He did sit for an artist to draw a caricature of him. He tolerated the other dogs, lots of requests for pictures and petting from passers-by and the loud music.

May 26, 2017 Friday. I took Ty to the dog park to meet a fellow collie fancier. She had two dogs, one collie and one mixed breed. Ty spared them no more interest than he does any other dogs. A curious sniff and he was pretty much on his way. He sort of hung out, not that he felt friendly toward members of his own breed, but their owner and I hung out to talk, and we did so under the only shade tree available.

Ty, Trey, and Maggie. I love Ty’s head tilt.

Taking a brief run 5-26-17Just chilling in the shade 5-26-17

A brief friendship with a young dog5-26-2017Mutual play on a hot day. This episode lasted about 2 or 3 minutes and then it was over. The young brown pup found new playmates and Ty took a break under the tree.

May 27, 2017, Saturday. Another meeting at the park, with a male blue merle collie. They could have passed for brothers, however, Ty had no more interest in Keeper than he had in Trey and Maggie yesterday or most the other breeds he encounters.

Seeing double. Ty and Keeper at the park 5-27-17 First photo, Keeper recalling in the lead. Second photos, Ty exploring and Keeper following along.

Yep, seeing double. Ty up front, Keeper in back.

                                     Just wandering on his own 5-27-2017

Storms still worry Ty. When thunderstorms are forecasted and  I will be gone, I have him wear a Thundershirt or one of my shirts. I give him things with my scent. I leave the radios up loud.

When I am home, he stays in cave or bedroom. 5-27-17 we had evening storms. I was putting away laundry when thunder cracked and he raced to the bedroom where I was. I sat down next to him on the dog pillow and we just hung out for a bit, till he felt safer.

He looks so beautiful, and sports a lovely coat. Yet I still see a dog with fears, always lying just below the surface. Today it’s the thunder. It is always something that comes along.

I see a collie desperately wanting to trust, love and be loved. I see a soul searching for something. I wish I could help him find it. I hope that when we reach the end of our journey together, I will have at least been a good companion for him, as he has been a good companion to me. Without words, he is telling me his story and his thoughts and I am learning his unique language as we travel this path together.