Recently I had a dog care problem. I work part-time so I am not away from my dogs much but when I do need some support my mother-in-law has always been the one to come and give the dogs the attention they need.
She and Maisie became fast friends and walking partners. They are quite a spectacle, my mother-in-law is tiny and Maisie, well she is a little large. Maisie out weighs her and they get a lot of attention.
When Annie came home, Maisie showed her the way to the tiny lady with the never-ending bag of treats and she quickly accepted her as one of her people. In Annie’s world, there are 4 of us; me, my husband, my daughter and my mother-in-law. Everyone else is suspicious.
I know I should have had a plan for the time when my mother-in-law wasn’t available, but dog walkers or doggie day-care are out of the question. I have tried to gently introduce Annie to friends and neighbors, sometimes more successfully than others, but now I just had to make it work.
I turned to my dear friend and neighbor Evan. She is my coffee buddy, we sit in my kitchen, sipping coffee and catching up with whatever may be happening in our lives. We’ve done this for years, she has known all of my dogs and Annie has certainly seen her enough times to know that she is someone I trust.
I tried to make it as simple as possible; come over around noon, let the dogs out, give them a few treats and then leave them loose in the house till I get home around 4:30.
The first text came through around 12:15, Maisie went out but Annie didn’t. She was fine when Evan opened her crate but then she started barking and wouldn’t leave the room. When Evan tried to cajole her down the hallway to get outside, she went back in her crate and hid. Shit, I forgot about the narrow hallway! Annie’s been fine with it for months, but following an outsider wasn’t something she was willing to do.
I quickly fired back to try and lead her the long way around the house to get through the kitchen, but there was no response. As the minutes ticked away, with me obsessively checking my laptop for updates (of course, this is the one day I left my cell phone on the kitchen counter as I was rushing out the door), I was getting more and more frantic. I had my keys in my hand, ready to rush home to relieve her when I finally got a notice that she had enlisted the help of my next door neighbor.
Carol talks to the dogs over the fence when she is coming and going. Apparently she heard Annie barking and saw Evan in the backyard with Maisie. She came running over with chicken treats in hand. Annie gobbled up the supply, inching her way toward the door but still unwilling to go outside. Carol ran home to get more and try again. On the second attempt, Evan took over and tossed the treats further away so Annie had to take several steps forward to get them. Finally, success!
Being Annie’s guardian and protector is wonderful but exhausting! The next day, I had Evan over for coffee and assisted Evan and Annie in another treat exchange. 2 days later, Evan came over to let the dogs out and Annie followed her the long way around the house and out the door on the first try. As with everything, Annie will do it her way, in her own time. We get to love her in return.