Friday, 21 December 2012

Diary of an Adoption Ambassador

Paradis Day One:  Paradis is a 2-year-old foster dog from Broward Humane Society, absolutely terrified of everything. Had to be carried into the house, then carried out to the back yard.  Spent two hours running the fence line looking for a way out.  Could only be approached and petted if cornered, so we sat back and waited for her to approach.  She finally did, but ran again after two or three strokes.   At dusk, carried into the house, and put upon the sofa she finally relaxed and cuddled up - after an hour she had a nap.  Would not eat at supper time.   At bed time, she wanted to be on the bed with us, but took it in good part when told no.  Put feet up on bedstand and drank wife’s water glass, despite having been shown two bowls of water (kitchen and lanai). Ignored her blanket and went back to the sofa where she had been cuddled.

Paradis Day 2 Panicked when we arose and ran around the house trying to avoid us Finally, she approached and received pets and praise. Out into the yard just before dawn, she ran the fence line for an hour looking for escape, did her bodily functions, then finally approached and received pets and praise.  When I repaired inside to make coffee, she began to eat, but ceased as soon as she saw me watching and ran about the yard.   She kept coming back to the food and I soon learned not to look at her while she was eating.
     After an hour or so of roaming the yard (while I sat in an outdoor chair, telling her what a good dog she was, she went around the corner tried to jump the 5-foot fence.  Managed to hit the gate latch in the process, and opened the gate.  Would not come and was headed for the open end of the street when, fortunately, a neighbour came into the street from his morning run.  Between the two of us, we sealed off escape and she finally allowed approach.  (With only two of us on a street that has lawns on both sides, she could have easily gotten past, but was so timid that she would not try it.) After she allowed approach, Paradis would not follow on the lead, so she was carried back home.   Wired the gate latches shut, but will need to keep close watch when she is outside as she can just get her front paws on the fence bar 6 inches below the top, so might be able to scrabble out. 
     Went for a walk to the end of the block (cul-de-sac).  She was interested and tail came out from between legs. On return she followed to the door, but had to be carried inside. Settling Paradis down and getting used to a loving home again looks to be a project of a couple of weeks, rather than a couple of days.
       In the middle of the night, Paradis decided that, since our bed is above floor height, she needed to sleep on the bedroom blanket box, which is almost the same height.  However, it is polished wood so quite slippery - leading to random scrabbling noises through the night, just as we drift off to sleep after the last bout.  It will be covered with books tonight so she will need to make another choice. Still spurns the blanket kindly provided by HSBC, so we put it on the sofa where she likes to nap – to get it imbued with her own scent.

Diary of an Adoption Ambassador: Paradis Day 3               
Paradis is starting to bond with me, following me everywhere inside the house, and franticly seeking me if I go outside without her.  Still does not trust me completely and must be carried in and out of all doors – except for the front door, which she will exit by herself if on the lead. Has started eating, though prefers to wait until we go to bed and lights are out. 
    On the lead and walking, Paradis allowed approach from two strangers (a neighbour and our pool lady), sniffed them and permitted them to give pets (two to a customer only).  Disdained the idea of a treat from the neighbour.  Indeed, spurns all treats even from us, including the Milk Bones kindly provided by HSBC.
       Made the mistake of turning off the outside light as she was half-way in the back door coming in from the yard: cringe and scamper and another 30 minutes until she would approach. 

Diary of an Adoption Ambassador: Paradis Day 4
First trip to the dog park – which Paradis viewed with some trepidation. Of course, first thing had to be an overly-welcoming 6-month old German Shepherd, who needed to be snapped at and put in his proper place.  But after meeting the third dog or fourth dog, the tail started to come out from under her belly and she seemed almost happy by the end.  
     Followed by lunch at Gallupis, which worried us as there would be lots of strange people.  No problem at all, she lay down quietly by our chairs and even deigned to drink some of the water provided by the waitress.   A firm believer that dogs at dog-friendly restaurants should also get some lunch, we ordered her a hot dog (no bun), much loved by our previous dog.   Paradis allowed that it was not up to her standards, so no thanks. Still has yet to wag her tail.

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