Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Foster Dog Diaries - Day 5

Daisy continues to impress us with her sweet and gentle nature, however she did show us the 'dog aggression' reported to us by her previous owners.  Any of our other dogs going near her crate or at a gate elicits a very demonstrative display of teeth from Daisy.  I suspect that she is truly a lover and not a fighter, that she may be in conflict with forces in her previous life that told her she was the Goddess of War. Where she clearly was the sponge  that absorbed the negativity that generally exists prior to a divorce. Being tremendously affectionate and devoted to Ian and I and showing separation anxiety when we leave the room, I think she would really enjoy canine companions if she could only get past her animosity towards them.

For a start with her transition, I approached my homeopath about doing some pro bono work for CDRN. She agreed and today she took Daisy's case and very quickly we identified the remedy to start her on. She received her first dose today. I am hoping this helps ease her transition here so she can release some of these unhealthy behavior patterns.

After some more screaming and howling when left alone, I decided she needed to meet the dogs.  First I brought her down to the pens and let her meet them through the fence. There was a lot of barking and growling, but I did manage to let her know which were good approaches and which were not going to make her any friends. She so wants to please me. She gazes up with these big round brown eyes and I can see how much she hopes she can trust me as she accepts the behavior I am asking her to do (or not do.)  Next I crated all the dogs and let her out in the dog yard to sniff around and also to leave her own scent.  Finally, I let Isaac out.

A word about Isaac. I don't think before today have I every really appreciated his gifts. He is the canine equivalent of a really good counselor.  Throughout his 10 years he has been so purely content with his own place as a happy dog that he has no emotional baggage ready to do battle with the emotional troubles of any dog I introduce him to. Being a retired alpha of our often large pack, he is no stranger to expecting and commanding respect when needed, yet he was always a benevolent leader. He's always been the one to teach puppies the ways of the world, giving each lesson at just the right time in a gentle way the puppies understand.  He's always been the only dog I could put with ANY transient or troubled dog...even the most aggressive are not inspired to engage with Isaac. He puts them at ease, by allowing them to be. He creates the safe space for them to have their troubles in his presence and accepts them.  Imagine the world if more people could do this.  Reserve judgement and practice the art of non-reaction and acceptance.  Isaac, the laughing one, you're a good dog.

Back to the story, Isaac came out and immediately went to greet Daisy. Instinctually he froze for inspection, usually the job of the new or lower ranking dog, however Isaac sensed that he needed to tell Daisy he was not a threat.  Daisy sniffed then scurried away.  He accepts her need to be the way she is and does not engage in an unhealthy way.  So, he gave her space and played fetch with me .  I stayed out for a few more minutes and noticed that Daisy would try to hide behind me and then if Isaac came close she would shove her head between my calves and snarl ferociously.  Right then I refused to let her use me as her shield or reason. Without me near, she was not nearly so demonstrative.  Once I was confident that there would be no bloodshed, I decided it would be best if I left the yard and watched from afar.

Ian and I played outside and I watched the dynamic unfold.  If Ian went to close to the fence, then Daisy felt it more necessary to defend her little space bubble. The further away we were the less of a show she put on and the closer she would allow Isaac to get to her.  Watching Isaac carefully ignore her, it allowed her the space and time to approach him.  Isaac brilliantly allowed her to come close and then he moved away. He was allowing her to come close so he could demonstrate that he was not a threat to her by moving away from her.  He wasn't moving away out of fear, he would just casually turn his back to her. Once he even laid down showing her that she could approach him and he was calm and cool. In a way telling her that she could relax too.  In on adorable moment she offered a single playful bounce towards him, but he didn't see it. 

It's really sad that she doesn't know how to be a social dog but I see the desire in her.  A willingness to find her way to a place where she knows how to socialize with other dogs. A place that won't be so lonely for her.  So she doesn't need to whimper in isolation. Where she no longer plays the role and carries the burden of the Goddess of War. Where she can be a delicate flower to cherish. 

1 comment:

Kirsten said...

Wow, what beautiful observations! I think the Daisy saga is book fodder...