15. A very special greeting

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I work part-time so my days off usually involve some errands or appointments during the day. On one particular day in June I left the house and decided not to close the doors on the dog crates. I didn’t plan on being out very long and both of my children were home from college for the summer, it was possible that one of them would be coming down for breakfast shortly after I left. Maisie is the one that gets into trouble when we are out, she just gets so lonely, but with Annie around I was hoping I could begin to trust her to not get into things when they were left on their own. So far, Annie had not proven to be an explorer; she would just stay in her crate and sleep until we returned.

I finished what I needed much more quickly than I thought and I returned home about 45 minutes after I left. Maisie greeted me with her usual exuberance, jumping up on the storm door and pawing at it until either she or I got it open. I received a huge surprise when I opened the door and saw not only Maisie but Annie waiting for me with a wagging tail as well! This is such normal behavior for most dogs but for Annie it was another sign that she was overcoming her fears.  We keep the two crates side by side and Annie’s crate door is almost never closed. She will stay in her crate when Maisie is contained. Whenever someone comes in the house, Annie always waits to come out until we go into the room and open up Maisie’s door. If they both happen to be loose, Annie has always stayed in or near her crate, looking around the door to see who has just come in and it takes her a few moments to muster the desire to come and greet us.

Annie always has to measure the situation before she makes a move. She had learned that it was best to keep a wide berth with humans and even run away when she could, so hearing my footsteps and choosing to come towards me and wait for my arrival, my goodness! By stepping out of the comfort of her crate and waiting for me by the door, she was showing me so much more than just her happiness to see me. The next time I came in the house I was hoping that she would greet me again, but that did not happen, she stood in the doorway and looked down the hallway for a few minutes before she decided to go the long way around the house and find me in the kitchen. It only took a couple more weeks and now she greets us at the door, shoves Maisie out of the way, step all over our toes and eagerly insists on receiving as much attention as possible.  She’s a very different dog from the one we brought home in January!

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