Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Zip the foster dog

Sunday, May 31: Collected Zip. This was a trick, since she's deathly afraid of the leash. So I put some canned dog food in a bowl about halfway back into a travel crate. As she was eating, half in the crate, I gently petted her for a bit and then slid my hand down to her tail and gently lifted her backside into the crate. Closed the door and voila. Not really voila. She was shaking so bad I thought she was going to shake the door right off the crate. But there was NO growling. I kept talking to her as I carried her out of that shelter...promising her life was going to get better.

I let her sleep in the travel crate Sunday night since she really didn't seem to want to come out of there.

Monday, June 1: Monday morning and I was headed off to work for the day so I couldn't leave Zip in the travel crate. I sat on the floor with the travel crate door open and just talked to her. Eventually, she ventured out...so slowly...her whole body shaking. When she was clear of the travel crate I took her blanket out and put it in the large wire crate we have set up for her. I closed the travel crate door so she couldn't retreat back in. She wasn't sure where to go and I could tell she was scanning the room for a good hiding place. So I petted her and used the same technique as last night to gently guide her into the wire crate. Once in, she had some water and seemed to be quite content. She definitely feels safer when in a confined space.

Got home from work and was a bit worried. Zip hadn't gone to the bathroom in her crate. So that means it had been at least 24 hours since she last went potty. That can't be good. I slipped a collar on her. She started to shake when I did it, but didn't growl or act at all aggressive. After a few minutes it didn't seem to bother her at all. Hooked the leash up to the collar and left it lay on the floor. She planted herself as flat as she could and refused to move. I've only ever seen one other dog as afraid of a leash as Zip is...and that's my Milo.

I ignored her for a bit and baked some brownies while listening to the same piano music I would play her in the shelter. Eventually, she ventured out of the crate to the center of the room where her reward lay (leftover birthday cake...she loved it). After that, though, she did the same lay flat routine...refusing to move. So I unhooked her leash and let her roam around the kitchen at will. She didn't go very far...she is very very scared of just about everything...except Sam.

Sam came in the kitchen and sat down to visit...and Zip climbed right up in his lap and curled up looking like she wanted to take a little nap. I was a little nervous that I didn't have a good way to remove her from Sam's lap should it become necessary...but it didn't become necessary. I really didn't have to worry. Sam gently moved and stood up and Zip just slipped off his lap without a complaint. Funny thing was, wherever he walked, Zip followed...her little tail wagging. It was quite the sight.

After a while Sam and I went in the next room to give Zip some freedom to explore without feeling nervous we were watching her. She did finally go pee. She was clearly afraid I would yell at her. But I just cleaned it up and marked the spot with puppy pads. Hopefully this will be her spot and I can train her to use the pads (at least until I can get her on a leash and take her outside for a walk).

This little girl is really a doll. I knew I was right about her.

Tuesday, June 2: Got home from work and the Dish installer is here. Zip doesn't seem upset by his presence at all...no signs of aggression in the least. She was even out of her crate for a while and he walked right past her...she just sat really still and watched him...no growling or anything. That's really really good.

AND she used the puppy pads to poop and pee! I swear, this dog was housetrained at one point. She went right over to them and did her business. She still seemed scared that I was going to yell or something, but I was so happy that I think she got over her fear a little bit. As soon as the messy pads were disposed of, she actually started to jump and PLAY! It was absolutely the coolest thing ever! Sam was dancing around and giggling and the two of them were having a fabulous time. It was an absolutely lovely sight. She clearly loves Sam and will follow him to the ends of the earth (which is helpful when it's time to get her back in her crate). I must remember to get video of this pup having some fun to show the shelter staff. I don't think they believed she was anything but mean...even when I told them different.

I'm sorry to say we've made little progress in the leash department. She has no apparent objection to the collar, but she still will not move AT ALL when a leash is attached to the collar. At first I was thinking a harness might work...but I fear that as long as a leash is involved, she won't go anywhere. It really is one of the saddest things I've ever seen. I KNOW she would love to go outside for a walk. But I just have no way to take her unless I can get a leash on her.


The Nanny said...

Oh, I can't tell you how big a smile this story puts on my face! You are amazing!!!

KB said...

"Foster" dog? Kinda sounds to me like Zip has found her new family!

We need pics of her & Sam!

Scrappy_Lady said...

Would a non-leash leash work? At least to start? Maybe something pretty or fun would make her less afraid.

Scrappy_Lady said...

Oh, one more thing... about your Facebook tweet...

On my page, on the left-hand-side, there's a small list of things starting with News Feed. One of the options there should be Status Updates. Choose that and you shouldn't see the other quiz junk, just the real updates.

kp said...

Yes, sounds more like she's a forever dog. The bond between her and Sam is so sweet. Do you think she'd let him walk her on a leash?

Cass said...

Simply amazing! The bond between her and Sam sounds so sweet! Sounds like you are making some great progress.