Two months ago this week (yikes…where has the time gone?), a sad puppy mill dog who later became known as Elsa, came home with me. Two weeks later she was in the ER being treated for cluster seizures. This sweet black-haired Ninja girl has come a very long way over the past two months, beyond the epilepsy diagnosis. This week we revisited the vet to have Elsa’s blood work re-evaluated. The results are in and she’s within the acceptable range. Even better news, it’s been nearly 4 weeks since her last seizure. With the increased dosage of Phenobarbital and addition of CBD oil, she’s doing well enough now that we can seriously focus on how to help her become a dog.
Granted, when we brought her home, she clearly had some baggage. With no normal socialization or experience upon which to rely, the simplest pleasures like grass under her paws, daily clean fresh water, adequate food, daily exercise, solid vet care, a snuggle on cozy furniture, toys, antlers and other chew toys, and a big brother to photo-bomb her…well what could be better?
Well, actually her whole demeanor is what could be better. Yesterday she actually did ‘zoomies’ for the first time, both in the house and outside in the back yard. Even Sam looked at her like she was some alien nutcase. And yes, I laughed out loud at her antics. But it warmed my heart that she’s feeling secure, confident and free enough to experience a canine joie de vivre at what provides pleasure and makes life enjoyable for her. She’s begun tossing her toys and then quickly pouncing on them in the mornings before her walks. She’s even starting to engage Sam in short playful banter which definitely warms my heart. Now if I can get Sam fully on board without too much umbrage taken, all will be good. 😉
She’s beginning to feel comfortable within her own fur, even if still constantly on squirrel alert and with a memory like an elephant revisits each and every location as if the squirrel were still there. I swear I’ve never seen a dog with such a remarkable memory bank for recalling with radar-like precision the location of all previously visited sites. If there was a squirrel there 5 weeks ago, chances are very good it should be there now, right? Truth be told, that’s rare but so far I haven’t been able to convince her otherwise. She is however beginning to respond very well with the “no, leave it” command. And my shoulder couldn’t be happier. She seems to understand other simply commands (i.e. ‘wait’ when we cross streets, ‘down’ and is getting a good handle on the concept of ‘no!’) and generally seems calm when out and about the ‘hood.
This week Elsa received her first bath and…ahem…a somewhat botched groom job. At least she’s clean, she smells fabulous and her hair is slightly shorter, but alas, she would have nothing, and I do mean nothing to do with the clippers around her face. We’re gonna keep working on that one with the hope she will relax for 90 seconds so I can make a couple quick swipes and remove all the little curlicues so she can see and eat without hair being front and center either in her eyes or food goobers hanging from chin hairs. But one step at a time. She held up well in the tub but alas is still impossible to photograph so you can see her soulful brown eyes. The fact that cell phone cameras kind of suck at metering doesn’t help but hopefully, with more practice (and maybe good editing software) we’ll get better at both grooming and photographing.
One area that has increased over the several weeks, is the carnage that has ticked upward from this innocent looking girl. Remember the chewed up eye glasses? Add to that a pair of wool socks with no toes anymore, and a long training leash chewed at two separate places so she could be immediately be next to me while I was raking leaves over the weekend. Heaven forbid she had to watch from the front patio!
With more time and devoted loving, the hope remains that Ms. Elsa will turn into the phenomenal dog she was clearly destined to become. We remain hopeful and are taking it one day at a time.
Do you have any experience transforming a puppy mill or rescued dog?
Live, love, bark! <3