Monday, August 15, 2011

First impressions and "winning the lottery"

Bella has a home.
Right from the start, we did pretty much everything wrong with Bella.

We should have known she would be afraid of car rides, having never been on one in her 4 or 5 months of existence. Luckily, she was small enough to ride in my lap, which was sort of necessary since she really wouldn't leave it, and the shelter was close enough to home to make that style of riding possible. (Car barriers have since been purchased and Bella has learned to sit nicely in the back.) That first ride home, though, she clung to me with those still puppy-like daggers we call toe-nails and all her might.

We all survived the experience.

As we pulled up to our home on its wooded lot, I wondered what Bella's perspective on this whole crazy experience was. She had been plucked from the streets of Puerto Rico, nursed back to health and promptly shipped off to a shelter in the states with lots of dogs and noise and unfamiliar people - and kept inside no less! Now she was zooming down the street in some moving cage she couldn't escape with those nice folks she liked so much at the shelter - but what were they going to do to her? Where was she going now? Couldn't she just go back to her rescuer's backyard pen and play with the other puppies?

When we pulled in and stopped the car, we carefully pried Bella's toenails out of my arms and thighs and brought her in the house. Bella had never been in a house before and we didn't know what to expect. Of course the first thing she did was pee on the sunroom floor. Thank you tile flooring. Time to put that potty training plan into action.

She seemed quite flustered and a little overwhelmed - we gave her a little water which she wouldn't drink, offered some food which she didn't eat, tried to pet her, yeah, not really into that, thanks. And then it struck me. The note that came with her from her rescuer in Puerto Rico mentioned "She is a little shy, loves to play with other puppies." I got into a human version of puppy play-bow and voila! Bella the playful puppy emerged.

After that her tail didn't stop wagging as she discovered each and every one of Beau's old toys (as well as socks, teddy bears and pretty much anything that resided at or below Bella level...) She played like a maniac running full speed and then "pouncing" on whatever happened to catch her interest (most often me or, more precisely, my hair which she decided to use as a tug toy - ouchie!) It was such a treat to watch her as she continued to explore and gain confidence in her new surroundings. I think she realized she finally 'hit the jackpot'.

It's amazing how resilient dogs are in their trust. We surely don't deserve it.

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