Today, Monday, is exactly one month since we picked up Bella from BARCS, and to say that she has changed a lot would be an understatement so I’d like to share her progress with you and hope to get some feedback.
Walking – She did not know how to walk. She pulled every which way, and she was so bad at it that while attempting to walk her a day when we had a lot of snow on the ground, I ended up flat on my back while holding on for dear life to her leash and at that moment I said, “That’s it, I give up on this dog.” Yes, I actually said that. I never had a dog be that bad at walking. That day while talking to my girlfriend, Cynthia, she mentioned me flat on the white snow while dressed in dark clothes and you know what we did? We laughed like crazy. Nowadays, Bella, for the most part, walks next to us. That is progress:-)
Feeding – While I put their food together, at the beginning, Cynthia had to put a leash and collar to restrain her from going to the other dog’s area while they were still eating. Bella also used to make this grunting/piggy noises that would start as soon as she saw me take our their dishes. What about now? She still makes those funny noises, but not until she hears the kibble going in her little dish, and we restrain her by using voice commands.
Pacing – Even after we took her out for a walk, she would pace in a frantic way. She had a lot of anxiety and pent-up energy in her. Now she seems to be much more relaxed and comfortable, and the amount and intensity of her pacing has greatly decreased. I love to see her walk around the house relaxed and content.
Training – Bella is attending a Basic Training class that will last 5 weeks, and to be really honest, I thought she was going to be the worst student ever. Sorry, but that is how I really felt, but you know what? On our first class, last Saturday, she did great. She got almost all the commands correct, received compliments from one of the trainers, interacted well with people and one child. I was so proud of her.
Doggie manners – She almost stepped over Alex when they were sunbathing on the deck. Right now she is more aware of her surroundings, but she still needs some fine tuning in this area. She also, once, took a Nylabone from Alex’s mouth. Alex just looked at me like, “What was that?” I don’t allow Bella to do that because that can cause a fight.
I will probably start taking her to BARCS adoption events in the near future. With that in mind, let me share this with you. A student from Animal Behavior College told me that she volunteered for an adoption event for, I forgot the name of the organization, sorry, and the dog she was handling after a couple of hours made her hands red and raw from pulling. That is something I want to avoid with Bella. When she is ready to go to an adoption event, I want people to see the amazing girl she really is and not walk away because all they see is a hyperactive, crazy, out of control dog. I will not set her up to fail. It is up to Cynthia, Alex, and I to do the best that we can to get her ready to go to her forever home, but not until she is ready.
If I were asked, how’s it living with a foster dog? I’d reply, “You will never have a dull moment, and you’ll have plenty of laughter, lessons learned, tears shed, frustration, and moments when you question your own sanity for embarking in such a difficult, arduous, sometimes, heartbreaking journey, but this was something I have wanted to do for a long time, and I am fortunate enough to be able to do it now.” So, the succinct answer to your question would be, “Challenging, heartbreaking, and rewarding.” I know, I know. I could have started with that. Have a great week.