Our wish is that every dog, big and small has someone to explore with, curl up with, swim with and and enjoy life with for ever and ever!
We recently visited the family that fostered Annie after her rescue. They live on a huge, beautiful piece of property that includes chickens, guinea hens and 5 Newfoundland dogs.
Maisie adapted very well to all of the open space and while she wasn’t successful in getting the other dogs to play with her she did discover a new love for chickens.
While Maisie is pretty comfortable being a city dog, it was really fun to see her flourish in the country. She loved running free. She stuck her nose up and sniffed the fresh air. She raced through the tall grass and got wet with the morning dew. And she made friends with a chicken.
If I ever doubted her gentleness, that was put to rest with this interaction. She regularly chases bunnies and squirrels in our back yard. I have seen her catch a bunny a couple of times, and she acts like she wants to hug them but they usually escape too quickly. With this chicken, she was allowed her moment of affection. She hugged it, rested her chin on her back, and carefully sniffed her all over. Once she was done, the chicken hopped up and ran off. It was a beautiful moment and Maisie was thrilled that she had made a new friend.
A couple of months ago I was mystified by the disappearance of items, mainly from the kitchen. The mystery has been solved and indeed, Annie is the culprit.
The table outside has also proven to be a source of good crumbs. Sometimes there are leftovers from the the night before after the table is cleared in near darkness.
Are dogs like people in that when one sense starts to weaken another gets stronger? Annie’s eye sight is compromised, especially in her right eye and sometimes I think her hearing may be getting weaker as well. However, her sense of smell is just fine and quite precise! It almost seems that it is getting stronger. As time has gone by, she has gotten more adventuresome and she has made new discoveries. Chances are, if she swipes along the counters she might knock something off that is quite delicious. She has also learned to trust her nose to target specific areas so she’s gotten quite successful with this technique.
Our previous Newf Bailey was always hungry and would get into anything that was left out. We learned to always survey the area before we left the house and look for things that might appeal to her. Occasionally she would still find something, but it was pretty rare. She’s been gone for about 3 years and Maisie has no desire to search for food so we’ve gotten pretty relaxed about leaving things out. I am having to retrain myself to make sure everything is put away or out of reach because the bottom line is, if she gets something, it’s my fault that she found it.
We are finally starting to see her true personality. She is so affectionate and is very silly. She roams around the house with confidence and I love seeing her so comfortable in her surroundings. Annie has only lived indoors for the last 2 years. First in her foster home and now with us. That has opened up so many new discoveries that she really is like a kid in a candy shop. Everywhere she turns, there are nice things just for her. She is warm, she is fed, her water bowl is always full and she has multiple beds to choose from. When one gets hot or uncomfortable, she just moves. She lets out little moans of contentment in her sleep and it’s wonderful! I love seeing her so happy, so really, her joy of discovering treasure when my back is turned is also wonderful. She has no fear in our house, and that is exactly what I was hoping she would discover.
One morning, I came down and there were paper wrappers all over the kitchen floor. I was so confused because Annie had come up to bed with me the night before, and was still upstairs with my husband. I had gone shopping the day before and had stopped into a new pet store and bought a couple of toys and some Nature’s Miracle. Before I left a bag of “samples” was thrown into the bag. They were in a brown paper lunch bag that was stapled shut and decorated with stickers. I didn’t open it and had forgotten about it when I went upstairs that night. The sample bag was still in the shopping bag in the middle of our kitchen island. At some point in the night, Annie had tiptoed downstairs, gotten the bag off of the island and torn into the smaller bag finding 3 different food and treat samples. For a dog with no front teeth, she has proven to be perfectly capable of tearing into sealed plastic bags!
I remembered a story her foster mom told that one night she got up to let one of the dogs out and when she came downstairs in the dark she was greeted by two black dogs that had white faces. In her confusion, she flipped on the light and was greeted by Annie and Rayne and a bag of flour that had been ripped open and strewn about! Rayne is their #1 scavenger and if something is within reach, she will find it. This was Annie’s first lesson in the art of midnight munchie counter surfing.
There has been one other successful midnight kitchen raid that resulted in a shredded, empty treat bag on the floor so now the kitchen is surveyed very closely before we head to bed. The idea that she wakes up, quietly sneaks downstairs without waking us and then returns hopefully with a full belly really makes me smile. She still has success with mid-day discoveries and this weekend she snatched a loaf of bread that was with a few things that still had to be put away after a trip to the grocery store. I had run upstairs to change laundry loads and when I came back down there was only 1 loaf where there had been 2. Sure enough, the plastic bag was ripped open and was in the back of her crate along with a pile of crumbs. At least it was bread, I had quickly put away everything that I thought would appeal to her (lunch meat, a pot roast, some cheese and butter) but somehow thought the bread was safe. The answer is obvious, everything must be considered irresistible because she keeps having success. The only way to guarantee that her waistline wont continue to expand is to remove temptation immediately!
The way that a dog holds their tail tells us so much. A wagging tail is almost always good, a tail held high and wagging is really good. I have been anxiously watching Annie’s tail since the day we brought her home.
“A dog can express more with his tail in minutes than an owner can express with his tongue in hours.”
In the beginning, it hung straight down between her legs and the tip actually grazed the ground when she walked. After a few days it started to wag. It wasn’t frequent and when it did it was low and slow. She’d move it maybe 3 or 4 times back and forth and then it would stop. It never wagged when we were petting her, it would stop as soon as she was touched.
Slowly, very slowly, it started to get a little higher. It reminded me of a helium balloon that would start to rise up and then drop down again. I was constantly watching it, hoping for the day when it would get up above her back. I knew we were making progress with her when she would thump her tail on the ground when I approached her while she was lying down. Then it started to wag when she approached me. It still drops as soon as I start to pet her, I think she just gets so absorbed in the affection that she can’t focus on anything else.
Annie’s whole disposition is so different from the way it was her first couple of months with us. She is no longer guarded in the house and doesn’t get startled anymore when she comes around the corner and sees one of us. She seeks us out, and pushes Maisie away in order to get all of our attention. Her tail wags most of the time, and occasionally continues to wag when we are petting her–at least for the first few seconds. It curls more and waves back and forth whenever she is expressing herself. It has started to raise up above her back but she can’t yet hold it there. Hopefully we will see that sometime soon!