Monday, August 4, 2008

Waiting it out in the rain

Almost two weeks!!! The longest Brindi has ever been away from me during the past year is ten days, when I had to take a trip. 

Usually it's not more than an hour or two (I know, what can I say?). She stayed in Belle Kennel, in Porters Lake, a clean, pretty place, where there are long pens in the woods for the dogs to run around in. She got along well there. But for an entire week after returning home, she would not look me in the eye. Forgiveness is not instantaneous, even for a dog. I am her trusted human, and in her eyes I am responsible for what happens to her. And I am. So how hurt and confused is she now? This awareness is impossible for me to live with.

Thank you so much to all those who visit this site, and those who signed the petition. Your comments are wonderful. To those who made proposals to take Brindi away from the area, I am very touched by your generosity. However, since my lawyer's offer was declined, it seems the city is not interested in such an alternative. I am not sorry: now it's off the table, the only options appear to be putting her down or giving her back to me. With the help of many others, I will do my best to achieve the latter. Brindi's best home is here. We are very happy together. What we need is a good FENCE, and some hard work on recall commands at special training farm like Lietash Academy, as well as on my property - even with a fence. A trainer suggested how: walking new dogs along the road, and testing Brindi's recall - probably using a lead so that she cannot get close to them.   
Let me tell you about her non-threatening behavior...
A few weeks ago, I was at the beach with Brindi, standing  in the parking area, when seven people and seven large dogs strolled by about fifty feet away. Brindi, on a stay command, just eyed them with calm interest, made a few friendly sounds, but did not lunge or pull away. I was very proud of her. She stays in the car when I open the door, waiting for my command to get out.
In the morning, while I dress, I tell her to "go downstairs", and she'll sit at the foot of the stairs until I join her. She'll do the opposite while I stay in the kitchen. She knows commands for down, right paw, left paw, up (to jump for a treat), and when I say "bang", shaping my hand into a gun, she'll drop down and lie there. She waits in her bed while I serve up her dinner, until I put her dish down and say "eat your food". When I say "go to sleep", she'll put her head down and relax - usually does go to sleep. When we walk on the road, she is trained to stand still when a car passes. Her "heel" isn't too shabby. She is not "mouthy", and I don't play tug of war with her or encourage her to gum my hand. When she affectionately greets a person, she won't lick their face, just moves in very close to look searchingly into their eyes.

Brindi rarely barks in the house. When she's out back on the line, between walks, she will bark when someone goes by, but she never protects the house from inside. She lived outside before going to the shelter; maybe it never occurs to her to guard the house from inside. I try to encourage Brindi to bark when somebody is at the door, but she rarely does. Her deep bark belongs to a dog twice her size; it can sound intimidating. But she is usually wagging her tail playfully. Around other people, male or female, she has never been protective of me, never emits a low growl as some dogs do when they get too close. If she gets jealous when I'm petting the cats, she does not attack them, just comes wagging her tail, sweetly trying to win away my attention. 

I wish I had a video of her climbing up and down boulders, or pushing her way through the wildflowers. 

Please, let's get her back!!! 


Keeping on

Another post for today: to be sure to say how very grateful I am for the new Facebook group started yesterday by Pami Pantigoso, a CET trainer out in Calgary. Already 55 members!! And so many kind words from around the globe.

Hoping that it works, I am posting a little clip so that everybody can see how great Brindi was, straight from the shelter. It is from early July last year, just three weeks after I got her on June 12. She was so afraid to let me get too far away. It was great to see her gain confidence in her surroundings every day. She is as fast as a bullet on flat beaches, and it was thrilling to see her give chase to birds I could hear but not see in the fog. Her broad chest must give her lots of lung capacity. Reminds me of reading about the famous triple crown winner, Man'O'War. Big Red: he had a muscular wide chest and bow-legs, nobody thought he'd be any good!

My god, is this real? What will it take to get her back?