“Come on, Duke!” is probably the phrase we’ve said most often over the past week and a half. As I explained in my last post, Duke is the first foster dog Chip, Wrigley and I have ever taken care of. In just this short amount of time since we brought him home from ACS, we’ve already seen progress. We’re excited to see how he will continue to bring his guard down and hopefully trust us more to become a more normal, balanced dog (trying to put everything I’ve learned from Cesar Millan’s books and show The Dog Whisperer to practice!). It hasn’t been that easy, though, and some days have definitely been harder than others and require lots of patience, but overall I know we’re doing a good thing and that we’re making an impact on his life. Having all three of us (Wrigley is definitely included in this effort!) take care of him has validated my desires to help dogs, especially the ones left in shelters. Hoping Duke is our first of many foster dogs! :)
When we first brought Duke home, he didn’t want to come inside the house, no matter how much we encouraged and cheered him on (come on, Duke!!) to be inside with us. He preferred being in the backyard and would treat the open back door as though it was some type of force field he couldn’t pass through. We let him take things at his pace, though, and didn’t make him come inside until the following night when a storm was set to come through town. Once he came inside and we closed the back door, he was immediately scared and looked around for a place to hide. It broke my heart to see him this anxious, but we were eventually able to get him over to the office room in the house where we have Wrigley’s crate. We got Duke in there with a blanket and towel for padding and it has now become one of his favorite spots in the house. He’s not curious yet like most dogs are and doesn’t have a desire at this time to explore his living space, so whenever he is inside he’s going to be in one of a few places: either the living room with us (and it will still take him a while to relax and lay down), the bathroom or the office. I’m glad he has at least developed a sense of security in these places and hope it will branch out to the rest of the home. He’s been resting a lot in the crate and getting lots of needed sleep. He’s becoming the king of naps! :)
We had a pretty bad storm here last Friday evening involving lots of rain and hail. It was crazy! We luckily had both dogs inside before the storm started, so they were safe and dry the whole time. Both were pretty anxious with all of the thunder and the hail hitting the house, so Duke was trying to follow Wrigley for doggy guidance… probably not the best example since Wrigley was running around inside the house life a fool. While Wrigley is used to sliding around the house on the wood floors, Duke still hasn’t gotten adjust to this and slipped and tweaked his back leg a bit. He was on medication for a couple of days and is limping on it less, so we’re hoping it was just a very mild sprain that’s now healing. He was a bit antisocial and lethargic while on this medication, but seems to be doing better now and back to moving around a little more quickly. We try to keep him calm and as not-anxious as possible when he’s inside, though, to help keep him from slipping too often since he still seems to be limping a bit from time to time.
We know that Duke is going to be a great dog for someone. He’s so gentle and sweet and really doesn’t ask for much at all from us (compared to Wrigley, who does anything for attention and belly rubs! He really has no shame…). Duke wags his tail now when he sees us and when we talk to him, a big improvement from the first couple of days when his tail was always tucked up between his legs. He’s also gotten more comfortable with us giving him affection and doesn’t flinch now when we pet his head or scratch his ears. He has a hearty appetite now and has been cleaning his bowl the past few evenings, which is good because this dog needs to put on a good 10-15 pounds! We’re also starting to see a more playful side to Duke. My parents sent him his first toy this past week – one of those rope toys that have floss fibers for their teeth. Duke didn’t really know what to do at first, but after some initial sniffing he started chewing on it! Yes, he only did this for a few seconds, but think he’ll soon figure out how to play with dog toys. I have faith that the next round of posts will have pictures and stories of Duke being more social and relaxed :)