You Are My Sunshine
Find 10 Freegles and you will find 10 different personalities and 10 different stories of adjustment to life outside the lab. I have seen so many who are eager and quick to embrace their new found freedom, some who need a bit of encouragement and then there are the ones who break your heart. Sunshine fits squarely in the last of those categories, I call her our Eeyore of the group. Stoic and fearful yet will pepper you with kisses the moment you sit down next to her. From the moment she came to us she was on high alert for something. What exactly, I am still not sure. Having worked in the past with Freegles who have had difficulty adjusting it was a natural fit for me to foster her. She came into my pack very easily and I gave her the space she needed to watch and learn. She spent a lot of time in her crate, door open, watching. I have always believed that the best teacher for a dog is, in fact another dog. They take many queues from one another. (For those of you with multiple dogs in your house. How often will one dog hear a noise, bark and suddenly you have a houseful of howling dogs? I know I’m not the only one! I rest my case.)
As Sunshine began to acclimate to my pack and her new surroundings she was constantly challenging herself to overcome her fears. Skittish, she did not like the kitchen (too many shiny things), shadows cast by a lamp at night and loud noises. All of these things will send most new Freegle scampering for their crate but Sunshine was always the first and fastest to scamper away. The great news was that she always came back to investigate. It was okay for her to be afraid as long as she came back and tried again. We showed her she was safe and praised her when she was brave.
Recently we posted that Sunshine had been adopted by the same family who adopted Daisy. We are saddened to say that Sunshine, through no fault of her own, came back to us. Unfortunate circumstances forced her wonderful family to have to make a very difficult and painful choice. We welcomed her back with open arms.
Sunshine is continuing to make great progress in her training, leash walking and overcoming her fears. A small dose of Rescue Remedy twice daily along with another herbal remedy designed for anxiety has her exceeding my expectations. Today she and I took a long walk together, just the two of us. It was good to get out and stretch our legs. We walked out to the main road where cars frequently zoom by. I need her to learn to adjust to her new life and that includes loud noises and moving objects. As with my other dogs, she will learn the command, “Out of the road” when a car approaches. For today we just worked on getting her to walk next to me without too much pulling and stopping. I am so grateful for her “Easy Walk” harness, this frees me up to keep my hands in my pockets and allows for typing later on in the day instead of tending to a dislocated shoulder.
We are slowly desensitizing her to scary things like the stainless steel garbage can and her reflection in the mirror. It’s a long road to travel but I have made a commitment to work one on one with Sunshine until the day she finds her forever family. For now, this blog space will be dedicated to her progress. Each day we find something new to celebrate. Today it was a nice walk, watching a squirrel for the first time and piddling while on leash. As she sleeps soundly next to me after our big adventure today I am so excited to watch her blossom into the beautiful loving companion she was always meant to be. I hope that you will join us on this journey and give her the love and support she needs. In return I can promise you that someday we will all watch through tears as she gives her heart and devotion to her happily ever after.
Kate & Sunshine