Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Original post : December 10, 2013 Early Days

Original post : December 10, 2013

Early Days

Don't worry, I'm not going to keep letting Nicki do all the talking here! That would be a bit too "precious". Part of the point of starting this page was to share Nicki's story and experiences in order to give a window into what happens after you bring a rescued dog home. Of course it's different for everyone, but we're sharing Nicki's story.

When Nicki first came to us she was extremely submissive. LOTS of submissive urination. Lots of paper towels and Febreeze. Because we can't explain what's going on, being rescued can actually be pretty stressful for a dog (or any animal). They may be coming out of abuse or neglect, but they don't know where they're going. Or why. They're leaving familiarity and heading into the unknown.

We don't really get to meet our new family members until we've had some time with them. Gradually, their stories reveal themselves a bit. The window opens a little wider, and we can see who and what they have come to fear. That sounds sad, but it's actually a tool that shows us how to help them heal. This is a story from the first few weeks of Nicki's new life with us:

Something happened with Nicki that I thought was very telling. We went to my yoga studio to meet my teacher, who is a HUGE animal lover. While there, another student came in. A gentleman of slight build with long, grey hair tied back in a pony tail. I've met him before. He is very mild mannered and kind. I'm certain Nicki was not actually responding to him. Nonetheless, when she saw him, she got an amazing look on her face as though she was thinking "No! Not here! It can't be!" and she slowly backed all the way up the stairs, keeping her eyes on the gentleman the entire time. He had not attempted to approach Nicki. He had not even acknowledged her or looked at her as he was busy speaking with our teacher. Nonetheless, she was obviously terrified of him. I picked her up and held her in my arms so we could walk out of the building without her getting any more upset. There was no submissive behavior or urination - just backing away.... Wow. I had hoped the jerk that had her had "merely" neglected her. Guess not.

In other (GOOD) news, Nicki now greets my husband when he comes home with lots of wiggling and wagging, but the urination has almost completely stopped. She has also regained her house-training completely. On nicer days, she'd rather sit out in the yard on her tie-out because I obviously do not have my priorities straight and don't spend enough time napping in the sun!

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