I've seen a look in dogs' eyes, a quickly vanishing look of amazed contempt, and I am convinced that basically dogs think humans are nuts."
~ John Steinbeck
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29 June 2004
Well, after nearly a month, I guess Sheila is feeling at home here and shes starting to show her oats.
My normal routine when taking her for a walk is to put her on leash before we leave the house, and take her off leash when we get to the drainage channel. Then on our walk, I call her back to me several times, each time giving her a treat. As we get near the end of the walk, I call her, put her on leash so she won't run out into the street when we get out of the channel, and give her a treat.
Two days ago, when I called her to put her back on the leash, she tried to get away from me as I reached my hand for her collar. and when I got hold of the collar, she immediately lay down to make it more difficult for me to reach the hook.
Yesterday, the second-to-last time I called her for a treat before the time when Id put the leash on her, she knew we were coming close to the end of the walk. She came and sat down but far enough away from me that I couldnt reach her. When she saw I didnt have the leash in my hand, she came forward for a treat. I should have put her on leash then, but didnt.
When I called her the next time she refused to come and took off up the path out of the channels and went running free. She came when I called her and got into the car all right, but not before running out in the street which can become busy.
When we got home, she always goes right to the door and gets let in, I take the leash off of her, she goes to the kitchen to get a treat. Yesterday since she didnt have the leash on, instead of running to the door, she ran across the street. She came back immediately when I called her.
So this morning she wakes me up at 5:30 and I get up, get dressed and ready to take her for a walk. We go to the front door and shes all excited like usual. I get the leash and she absolutely refuses to have it put on. Shell come when I call her but as soon as I reach out my hand, she slinks off. I worked for 5 minutes and she absolutely would not come near me, even for a treat. She was acting like I'd been beating her with the leash, which, of course, I have not.
I refused to go for a walk. So we are at a stalemate.
I sure cant figure out why shes suddenly so adamant that she will NOT be put on leash unless its that we went for a nice walk in the arboretum with two friends and since she cant run free in the arboretum, she couldnt be off leash and perhaps shes worried that will happen again.
Obviously its time to do a LOT of leash work, which I didnt think wed need to do.
But if today shes at her most aggravating, yesterday she was at her most endearing. Before we got Sheila, she had a puppy. Shes a big dog so youd think shed have more than one, but they guesstimated that she only had one because she was too young to give birth yet. But some nasty ol male knocked her up and there she was.
They had to bottle feed the puppy because she didnt have enough milk. I dont know if they kept the puppy and Sheila in the same foster home or if they separated them. I know the foster home had "a" puppy, but whether it was hers or not, I dont know.
The puppys name is Hamilton and hes now 8 weeks old and has been staying with a foster family which is considering adopting him. But they wanted to see Sheila first before making up their minds. I invited them to bring the puppy here.
From the moment they walked through the door, Sheila was like a different dog. She must have recognized his smell and from the first minute she was licking him and petting him with her long paws. They were so beautiful together. Ive never seen her be so gentle.
They spent some time in reunion and then ran around a little bit and then she did something else Ive never seen her do, especially with another dog only here a few minutes--usually when her excitement is at its peak. She went under a bush and lay down and let him climb all over her. It was heartbreakingly tender. As a mother, I found it brought tears in my eyes to see her reunited with her son. They say that dogs forget, but this is a dog who remembered, Im sure. Whether she made the connection between having given birth to him or not, she definitely knew there was something special about this little puppy.
I dont know if the family is going to keep "Hammie," as theyre calling him, but Ive invited them to bring him here any time, if he wants a play date with his mom.
Its for sure Im not taking her there unless I can get her to sit still to have the damn leash put on her!!!
Sheila's son, Hamilton