Bethany has been inviting me to come see him at her Pack to Basics class ever since I dropped him off and surrendered him to her in early December. Today, I did.
Walking toward her backyard from the street, I could see him, leashed up with the little leader muzzle. He took my breath away. I led Pooka in. And there he was.
He wagged his tail, looking at Pooka. Everyone was standing in a circle, with their dogs leashed. There were about a dozen dogs, from tiny Westies to a huge Newfoundland (still a pup with lots of growth to go). We took our place in the circle. He was looking toward us, wagging his tail. The aim of this class is to let dogs socialize. The instructions were simple: don’t talk to the dogs, don’t touch the dogs, and keep walking around the yard. She then gave me some instructions: don’t talk to him or touch him until after the class.
We let the dogs off the leash and started walking around.
He walked around, wagging his tail and sniffing other dogs. Someone said, “is that the dog that usually just hides?” Bethany said yes, he was, and that his former owner was there. Apparently he was behaving very differently. Much more social.
He went and hid under the deck for a while. And then he came out.
And ran straight toward me. He started jumping on me. I kept walking. This was the hardest part. I wanted to pet him, to talk to him, but kept going. He played with Pooka! He played with other dogs. He seemed totally great.
I met his new mom and talked with her a bit. She is so sweet, and they are perfect for each other. I felt then that he really needs to be in a situation like this — with one person. He was so threatened by Tyler and his kids. He tried to fight his way to dominance of our whole situation, but it wasn’t working, so he did what he thought he had to. He tried to take them down.
I really hope that he doesn’t feel the need to do that with Trudy.
He followed me around most of the rest of the class. I kept walking. It wasn’t until afterward that I got to pet him and give him a little love.
And then we walked out, and didn’t look back.
I felt a huge sense of relief. He’s happy, he’s safe, he’s well cared for. And he’s adjusting fine. And it’s time for me to move on.
Here’s a video of him following me and playing with Pooka: