Mistakes were made and bad behavior happened. But lessons were learned and that's why we're here now anyway - so that maybe others can learn from our mistakes. I also hope to encourage people not to give up on their dogs if they start to have problems and to seek help (sooner than we did) when needed.
Because, for as bad as it's about to get in Bella's story here on the blog, in "real life" we are living on the other side of it all with a really wonderful, more confident and much calmer dog. She may not be perfect but she's still our little girl and we will never give up on her.
So what could possibly be wrong about Bella not leaving my side after I broke my arm?
Well, let's take a look at the events of that fateful day through her eyes:
Bella, our insecure and fearful dog, wakes up happy in her nice comfy bed that Mommy bought her when she first came to live here. "Here" is a warm house with a big yard where she is protected from the scary thunderstorms and Daddy is always home to make sure nothing bad happens.
Hmm, except today. Where are you going Dad? Today Daddy went somewhere and left Bella and Mommy alone.
And then BANG! something happened to Mommy! Something bad. Something Bella couldn't fix with her kisses and play-bows.
And then something even WORSE! happened - some really scary stranger came into Bella's house and took Mommy away. But it's Bella's job to keep Mommy safe.
And then she waited.
|I'm sorry. |
I'll be a good dog.
What did run through her head in those hours she was left alone after her "rescuer" was injured and taken away? Did she think we were never coming back? Did she think she was trapped? Did she think she think she failed me?
Whatever she thought, Bella was obviously traumatized by the event in ways we didn't immediately recognize. It wasn't until she lunged at Jan when he tried to approach the bed that we began to understand.
You read that right: Bella attacked Jan. She didn't connect - this time. But she did bark and growl and lunge at him. It was terrifying.
Over the next several Mondays, I'll go in to some of the details of the events, how we tried to address the situation, when things went from bad to worse and what we've learned in the process.
It's been a long haul and we made a lot of mistakes. But we also got help - from a variety of sources. We'll talk about all of that and finally, finally bring her story to where we are today: succeeding in her agility class for reactive dogs, much more comfortable in her own skin, living a happy, almost downright normal dog life. So stick with me through the rough spots ahead and we'll celebrate her wins on the other side.
There have been some difficult times and I have to give my husband all the credit in the world for not walking out on us or giving up on Bella. Jan has probably learned more about dog behavior and communication than he ever wanted to know. He reads the blog (and is our silent partner) so I just wanted to say "Thank you." I do adore you.