I’ve been gone for 3 weeks. During which time a friend went above and beyond, by picking up the girls twice a week to take them to dog play day. Do you know how difficult it is to transport 5 dogs, 4 of which haven’t been out for exercise in days? Just getting the leashes on them is enough work to require a nap.
This morning, we met the greyhound group at the paddock for their bi-weekly run. My girl, Breeze, was confident, prancy, had her head held high, ears up, looked people in the eye, came up to the whole group of us humans, demanded attention from us, and even took snacky treats from the newest addition to the group. It was as if she was possessed with the spirit of a normal dog; one with confidence, no fear or worries.
One that hadn’t been abused.
I spent most of the morning open mouthed, gaping at her behavior. No comprehension. There were only a couple of times she shied away from someone and that was the result of quick motion from one of the guys. She went up to one guy and leaned against him as he smothered her with attention. She absolutely demanded Dawn pet her. She stood at the Barb’s side, head pressed to leg, sopping up the affection. She behaved as she does when it is just me around.
Now I know most of you are like “Huh? What’s this?” You feel as though you’ve accidentally picked up the second book in a series and read it before the first and you have all those typical plot questions. “Wait: her cousin was a vampire who was killed by an evil vampire after turning a were after stealing a bracelet from her girlfriend the Queen because the Queen is marring the King of Arkansas? Huh? I didn’t know she had a cousin. Did I miss a book?”
Anyway a little back story, Breeze is the one wouldn’t come into the house when I first got her. The one that wouldn’t continue a on a walk because there were kids playing basketball in the back yard of a house across the street from where we were. The one that ran outside in absolute terror the moment you looked at her, or stood up, or walked, or raised your hands, or spoke to loudly or threw a squeaky toy to the other dog. Who, at her first play dates, wouldn’t even play with the other dogs, and just stayed at the opposite end of the field as everyone else. The one who would circle the group of humans at 20 feet so she would not be within hitting distance.
So…what the hell?
Now granted we have been working quite diligently for the past 11 months on her seemingly overwhelming issues and she has made progress no one dreamed (hoped, not dreamed) she would ever make. I had people tell me she would never be a normal dog. That dogs this badly abused could not live a normal existence, would never acclimate, never trust people, never be just … a dog.
I say to that: Ppphhhhttttt.
Yesterday her behavior was just to a whole new level.
Barb said (gleefully, might I add) at the last play date one topic of discussion was the abrupt change in Breeze’s demeanor over the past 3 weeks while I've been gone. They decided Breeze has been working me; complete falsifying of data, she has me bamboozled and wrapped around her little toe, she’s milking it. Then, on a more contemplative note, relayed that they (Phyllis and Barb knew her a year ago when she was at the kennel and have seen the transformation that has happened) think this most recent improvement was because she was incredibly lonely since I’ve been gone so long and was at the play dates without me as her safe place.
Basically she had to get her affection, touch, and security from someone else. And she did.
Barb also thought Gregarious Breeze would revert back to Cautious Breeze once I returned and was amazed when she continued with her new found independence. Phyllis who did the transport of the dogs, is now calling Breeze, Bobble-head Breeze. Something Breeze does with just a limited few (me, Sheryl, her foster Mom who took her from the kennel originally and started this whole journey, and Dawn, who walked with us with her two greys most mornings) is to bobble her head back and forth almost like she is shaking her head ‘no’ when she comes trotting towards us and she’s really happy. The happier and more comfortable she is the bigger the sweep of the head bob. Apparently she has been quite happy and comfortable the past few trips to the play date.
So as I stood there catching flies, watching my girl in amazement, I realized that there was a huge hurdle crossed while I was not there to witness it and in fact the reason it was crossed was because I was not there to witness it. My girl…growing up.