By Lynn –
Apparently, at one point in time I mentioned some semi-regular posts about the progress made in Mallory’s training.
Long story short, here is what happened back in January:
I know she’s not that excited in the “I Am A Therapy Dog” tag picture, but that’s generally the face she’s giving us now whenever we drag out the evil evil camera. In fact, she knows just when it’s out:
And when we find her in a somewhat photogenic position with a wise, suave or just cute look about her, we run to grab the camera. She’ll all but stay in that exact position until we turn the camera on, and then it’s “Oh, I was going to get up anyway!” Either that or she gives us a very dirty look that almost rivals that received by parents of teenagers.
Believe it or not, she actually DOES enjoy wearing her headbands to visits at the hospital. Make her wear one at home, however, and she mopes around and grumbles under her breath about how embarrassing this is and won’t someone PLEASE take this thing OFF!
And then we get the occasional lucky shot:
I once mentioned that she was scared of pretty much anything in the house. The dishwasher is no longer scary, we can pretty much scoot anything across the floor now, and garage doors in motion get a mere passing glance now. Progress was slow in some ways, but looking back over the past year, it’s been amazing: sometimes it’s hard to see day-to-day milestones, but hindsight says there’s progress. Occasionally, there are still some Scary things that are genuinely startling. The cardboard box that is not supposed to move might skitter a little bit because it was bumped, some garage items are still raving monsters that need passed with the utmost haste, and men wielding sticks…well, that just might be something that takes a little longer. Despite all the success we’ve had, occasionally a gardening tool with a long handle sets her off, and it’s sad to see Dad pick up his physical therapy tools and watch her cower. Of course, there’s no way to tell her that we’d like to have words with whoever whacked her for whatever reason. Suffice to say that he (undoubtedly a he!) is going to the special circle in That Place where true animal abusers go to spend their eternity.
Our favorite game that she pretty much only plays with me (although this might also be because I’m the only one who plays it with her) is to stalk me: She’ll run off and face me from a distance, and I’ll lower myself and start moving reallllllly slowly toward her. If she’s in a playful mood, she’ll narrow her eyes, lower her head, lower her body and stalk toward me. One sudden move on either of our parts and we’re running toward each other. It’s pretty much a bunch of growling and bounding around from there. She once tried this game with our neighbor’s elderly golden retriever. He was understandably confused when she stalked him, and his confusion turned to a slight alarm when she charged. She thought he was boring and hasn’t done it since.
We play a variant of this game in manner most unpredictable, especially considering what she’s probably been through. I’ll take a leash (usually the leather one since we only play this on walks when off-lead) and fold it up while facing her, and then I’ll hit the ground or my shoe or something with it. The louder the snapping sound, the more she wants to get it, and even more unpredictable at the time was that the more she was lightly hit with the leash (and to this end, I’m surprised that no one has called the police for want of witnessing animal abuse, if not for the obvious play actions of my dog), the more fun the game becomes. The fact that I can cease all play at one word is a wonderful thing: she has both control of herself and the ability to listen in high-energy mode. More than once has she done me proud.
Over a year ago, we had to say good-bye to the one of the worst dogs to have as a First Dog. Except for a few flaws that didn’t really affect anyone but us, he was perfect in both who he was and the jobs for which he was placed on this earth. Looking back, it was hard to imagine life without him; once we had to say good-bye, it was hard to believe that it had been nearly 11 years.
Now, I can’t imagine life without my little wiggle-bug.