Four weeks after her first vet visit she had an appointment for her re-check. We had been working so hard to earn her trust and we were making good progress. When it was time to go to the vet, we were prepared for her to put on the brakes again but fortunately this time she went a little more easily. I had to lift her hind end a couple of times to keep her moving but we made it to the car and once again my husband lifted her into the back and she let out a huge groan.
When we arrived we opened the side door for her to climb out of the car, which she did in a hurry, and once again she charged through their front door and straight into the same open exam room she had picked last time. Just like last time, they let us stay there while we waited for the vet to meet us. We had brought Maisie along for support and I think that helped. Maisie doesn’t mind the vet and Annie was more relaxed having her in the room with us. It was a quick visit and the weather was nice so we decided to take advantage of the fact that we had gotten her out of the yard and took her out for her first walk.
This went much better than I could have expected. She pulled a little but not so much that we couldn’t control her. On 3 different occasions she picked out a house and sat down on the lawn. We waited while she looked around and after a few moments she got back up and walked again. She didn’t seem to like the feel of the concrete so we tried to guide her to
the parkway, but really she just weaved back and forth across the sidewalk sometimes on lawns sometimes on the parkway, occasionally speeding up then slowing down and of course parking herself for a few moments on those 3 occasions. She liked having Maisie next to her and would crash into her every now and then like she was just checking to make sure this was OK. We walked around for about 20 minutes and about half way through she figured out the pace and walked along easily next to Maisie. When we got to the car she watched Maisie climb in through the side door and Annie rushed to follow her. She did not want to be picked up again and she would figure it out by herself, what a relief for all of us!
We were feeling so good about the morning that we decided to push things a little more and head for the dog beach. This was all part of Maisie’s weekend routine and we hoped that Annie would like it too. We took Maisie to the beach year round but this time of year (the middle of March) the beach was not officially open and only a handful of dogs and owners showed up during the winter months. We knew most everyone there and they were all dog lovers who would be understanding of Annie and her need for space.
This time getting out of the car she seemed excited to be going somewhere and she followed Maisie straight to our destination. Once there, Maisie took off to run with all of her pals and Annie stuck pretty close to my side while we walked along the water line. My husband told everyone about her because of course they wanted to meet her, but once they heard about her background they all respectfully kept their distance hoping that one day she would be comfortable with the group.
We’d been there about 15 minutes when another big boy Landseer arrived. Annie took one look at him and started running toward him. She hadn’t shown interest in any other dogs and I just knew that she thought she recognized him. There was a large boy Landseer
at her foster home and I think she thought this boy was Rio. Once they started sniffing each other she got really shy and ran off. She has never approached him again which makes me a little sad but it was so sweet that she was looking for her friend. After that, she found a spot away from the crowd and she and I sat down to watch all of the other dogs run around.
We didn’t stay long, and when it was time to go, she followed us right out, walked well on the leash and hopped into the car. We had pushed her and she had done really well, we all felt relieved as we headed home and for the first time I was hopeful that we really could take Annie places and she wouldn’t always have to stay home.
We went back to the beach the next day, and she went right in and said hello to a couple of dogs and owners before lying down to watch the activity. By the next weekend she was joining the pack and running up and down the beach. It was remarkable how quickly she accepted this as another safe place on her list. She would occasionally approach an owner, male or female, and then continue walking along the length of the beach with my husband or me. She didn’t seem to like the feel of the water on her paws but she was comfortable and enjoyed herself while we were there. The beach was now on the good list!