You know when you feel like someone is staring a hole in the back of your head? I was sitting at the computer and turned around (I live in a small travel trailer so not much space) and found that Dudley was staring intently at me. Seconds later my 5 pm alarm for my medication/dog dinner/cat medication went off. Dudley lives for my alarms. When the morning one goes off, that means breakfast first and bathroom business later. We had a rough bathroom business morning today. I don’t know if he is scared of the sound of rain because of coming from Texas but he will refuse to get up off his bed and go outside. Unfortunately for him, I am the mean mom and if I can budge him without too much trauma, I will. This morning all I asked of him was to go out in the driveway and have a pee. He relented and then got a good toweling off when we got inside. The thing about having a tripawd dog who doesn’t like getting wet is that they are completely ridiculous. He comes inside and starting to shake off but because he is missing that back leg, it becomes a slamming about into the walls trying to get the water off.
His foster siblings from Texas were scared of rain and he picked up on that. They would get to have a bed with blankets in the closet when there were thunderstorms etc. Granted, rain in Texas tends to be a showstopper, not like out here where it is just a season. I’ve seen pictures and videos from his foster mom where he has run through puddles and has been damp so I’m a bit suspicious of the “oh my gawd, the water got on me” He also received regular baths before he made his way to us and they were relaxing to him so I tend to call BS on the water issues. That’s ok, I do know that if I had a real emergency with getting him out, I would just have to call my neighbor and have him bring his dogs over. Dudley forgets about the rain when there are other dogs around!
We are dealing with getting over a few fears…thunderstorms. We’ve had a couple out here and I have this thing that I do. I shut off the power source to my trailer if the lightening is flashing out over the river. We had a power surge several years back and lost a very expensive computer due to that. Thunderstorms on the coast don’t last long so I just snuggle on the bed with Dudley and let him know that it’s no big deal. He shakes but doesn’t try and hide so I consider that a good thing. I know that he can probably sense the ozone and the change in barometric pressure but thunderstorms out here do not compare to thunderstorms in the southwest or the east coast! The first time I heard thunder on the East coast, I actually got down on the floor because I thought it was a gun shot. We lived in Richmond Virginia in a gritty part of the city where guns were not uncommon.
Ironically Dudley has not had the same reactions to gunshots. I figured that he would be adverse to loud noises of that sort due to the area he was rescued from. We live out in the woods where a lot of people do hunting of all sorts. Right now is duck season and we live smack on the river bank where there are lots of birds. Bird shot doesn’t go far but the guns are loud. It is also deer/elk season but the properties around us are private and we don’t have much to worry about in that sense. I do pay attention and keep him on leash if I hear activity. Having a tripawd, my biggest fear is him panicking and ending up going over the bank and getting stuck.
Speaking of going over the bank, I am giving him more room to explore our wooded areas. He’s pretty good about staying on the little road that we walk down but he wants to smell the smells…and we have a lot of wildlife back into our woods. He is so good about catching trails, I want to pursue doing scent work with him. Usually tripawds move at a fast pace…Dudley is a mix. He will do a burst of speed and then get sidetracked by something that smells good. Thankfully he hasn’t rolled in anything yet. A couple of his dog companions have found good things to roll in. We walked with my friend’s shiba inu last weekend and Jiro found four different spots to roll in! My friend Nanci who was dog sitting Jiro said “I’m closing the door to my bedroom tonight. Jiro can sleep in his mom and dad’s bed!”
So back to the eyes…I think it is a progression with him that needs to happen. It makes me happy to know that he looks to me. For me, this is that trust/bond thing that needed to happen organically. This has been a very slow process and I knew it would be. I’m reaching the end of my initial building of trust and comfort. Now I feel that we will start working on the physical rehabilitation. I’ve felt a bit guilty about letting him just be lazy, knowing that he would need to start working on building his core muscles for his leg that is missing. I forget that he is younger than my previous dog by a few years. We still have time before the arthritis sets in. And I have a whole arsenal of treatments that I learned about from my previous dog so we are good. I think 3 months in, the most important thing for me was building a bond between us…and for me to feel those eyes looking at me when my back is turned to him is important! Did I mention that he has great eyes? He’s got that supermodel smoky eye that people pay good money for.
Dudley doesn’t always mind me…he is stubborn and quirky. He has no qualms about suddenly ignoring me and heading up the hill to my neighbor’s house where he is always welcome to visit. I have found that with his leg loss, he can’t do a quick stop on demand. He has a little bit of a “wait” command. As finances allow, I do have a good dog trainer who does individual training in mind for the future. Because he is such a sensitive soul and has certain reactive issues, I would choose to work individually with a trainer who is focused on positive reinforcement. The main thing that we need to work on is making me…Mom…the reward in the end of it all. I also want to work on getting him used to wearing the harness that we received. He is not cool with any belly restriction right now. Which is ironic because he is the most amazing dog about claw trimmings. And he is fine having his amputation stump touched. I give him hip and spine massages almost every night. He gets his butt smacked in the morning as part of our wake up greeting. He gets all wiggly and jumps around as much as he can in our small space. And he will roll around on his back and wave his front legs when he’s really happy.