We did it! Shelby is at home laying in her crate in front of the guest room. But let me start with the beginning of the day.
This morning I took my car to Kauffman Tire just to get an oil change. Since they also found an axle problem, they dropped me off at home. Around 4.00 pm we took the boys to Kennesaw Battlefield Park. We walked with them for almost an hour and allowed them to run around and chase the ball. After all, our intention was to get them “dog-tired” so that they would be more controlled when they meet Shelby. Then we went by Kauffman Tire. At that time it was almost 5.30 pm and I wanted to hurry so that I wouldn’t pick Shelby up too late.
Sloan and the boys went home real quick while I went to the Shelter. I learned from the Cesar’s tape that one should give the dog a bath before you pick it up from the shelter. When I arrived there, Ann had already a crate waiting for me. Dr. Good approved that I take her home and she is not on any medication anymore.
I was so glad to see Heiro at the shelter; he is always so nice and friendly; I like him a lot. When I asked him where I could give Shelby a bath, he explained to me the water and the hair dryer. I took Shelby out of her crate and she was excited to see me. But when I picked her up and layed her down in the bath tube, she freaked out. I am glad Heiro showed me how to tie her to the bathtube; otherwise she would have jumped out of it. She was frozen; her little body was trembling, and her eyes were filled with fear and worry. I didn’t say a word to her but rather massaged her very gently. (The doggie shampoo actually smells very good; I am surprised. After all, this is the first time ever that I gave a dog a bath.) She calmed down a bit when I massaged her and it was easy to rinse her off. However, the next hurdle was the dryer. Oh man, that is a loud thing. If I was a dog I would freak out over this loud noise as well.
Shelby tried to jump out of the bathtube, she was completely afraid and intimidated. I couldn’t even dry off her belly since she was just laying in the bathtube, clamping to the ground. Poor little girl, this was probably her first bath. But I couldn’t speak to her. I was gentle but assertive. When I untied her from the bathtube and put her down, she wanted to get away from me. She wanted to run away. I took her outside but as soon as I opened the door, she hit her breaks. Now I had to be careful, it was a beautiful Friday evening and there were a lot of volunteers around. I couldn’t drag her for a couple of feet until she got up. People probably think I mistreat the girl. But believe me, it hurts my heart as well when I give her the tugs but I have to do that in order to get her brain and paws going. Action moves the spirit, action moves the brain. Shelby started walking but as soon as she was in the middle of the street, she layed down. And a car was approaching us. I didn’t have a choice but drag her off the street. She sat down in the bushes and would just hide.
In the meantime I called Sloan on his cell phone but he just didn’t answer. Man, where is he now? I asked him to be here and now he is running late again. That is all I need. It is getting dark, it is already 6.15 pm and this dog is still half-wet.
Shelby and I was waiting for Sloan and the boys for at least 20 minutes and really wanted to get angry at him. But I couldn’t because I couldn’t do that to the dog. She cannot meet me with that weak energy. Instead, I have to stay calm and assertive. She was still hiding in the bushes, so I leaned over and had a 1-1 talk with her. “Shelby, I know that you are not feeling very comfortable in this world right now. I don’t know what happened to you before you came here but there is nothing we can do about that. I know that you are a strong girl because if you wasn’t you never would have made it alive out of this trap. When you can tap back into your strength you will realize that this is a wonderful world. But as long as you are trapped in this body of fear, you will miss out a lot in your life. You can have an awesome life as soon as you realize again how strong you really are.”
Shelby sat there for a few more minutes and then she got up and sniffed. As soon as she did that, I saw Sloan’s car approaching the shelter. He took out Cito and walked with him down the hill towards us. Shelby and I walked towards them. As soon as Shelby smelled Cito, she became interested in him. She followed him while Cito was busy checking out all the smells in the area. She sniffed Cito’s behind, she moved forward with him. I already noticed a shift in her energy. Did she recognize him from a couple of weeks ago? No matter where Cito walked, she followed him.
Next Sloan put Cito back in the car and brought Barko out. Barko – as always – was more spirited than Cito and Sloan had to put him under control but then they both walked around a bit.
I put Shelby in the crate in my car and I could see the terror in her eyes when I closed the car door. I walked back to the shelter to pick up some of the kibble food. Man, that stuff smells gross. She won’t be on that one for long. I said good bye to Heiro and left.
The shelter is only a mile away from our home so our ride wasn’t even long enough for her to calm down and lay down. Sloan and the boys followed us in his car and we parked the cars in front of the garage. I baited Shelby with some food to step outside of the crate. She stood there for a while and didn’t want to come out of the car. I wanted to take her and lift her out of the car when Sloan stopped me. “Don’t lift her. Don’t feel sorry for her. She is a real dog now and real dogs jump out of the car. Give her a little tug and she will jump.”
I gave her a little tug and low and behold, she jumped out of the car. As soon as her little feet were on the ground, she started sniffing. She went straight to the backyard and smelled the grass there. We didn’t hesitate but rather locked the cars and started walking.
Wow, Shelby walked with us as if she had done this her entire life. She didn’t hit the breaks on us, she didn’t lay down on the ground but she walked by my side along with the boys. We were astonished, we were excited, we were exhilarated. Shelby walked with us for 30 minutes around the neighborhood. She hesitated only once when she saw the cars from I-75 behind us. But that was it. Sloan always said, “we should have videotaped this.” But who would have thought that she overcomes her fear immediately and starts walking. That is unbelievable.
When we walked into the house, we made sure how dogs understood that we meant leadership. Cito and Barko walked in first, Shelby last. We took her upstairs, brough her crate upstairs and immediately put her in the crate. We made sure that the dogs wouldn’t interact with each other at all but rather kept a distance between them. Shelby feels very comfortable in the crate and she immediately settled. I decided not to feed her that night; after all I was told that she was fed just a couple of hours ago.
I took her out about an hour ago but she didn’t do any business. That really surprises me about this dog. I assume that she has always been a crate dog because I never saw her doing her business outside. Only in the crate. Now that can mean that the housetraining will take a while.
Thankfully, Ann gave me a rather small crate, as requested, so that she doesn’t have much room in the crate to do her business unless she wants to lay in her own feces.
When I just took her out, she ran in the grass and layed down and rolled in it. She tried to roll to the other side but she struggled a bit since the “missing leg” doesn’t give her the weight to roll over. This is something that she needs to learn. However, this was the very first time that I saw her being a real dog.
I am sure Shelby will be rehabilitated very quickly which will allow her to live a happy doggie life after all. I am so happy that the introduction went so well.