When we first brought Duke home two months ago, he was one of the most scared and timid dogs I had ever met. For those that have read my other posts, you may remember me talking about how much of a task it was to get him into my car at ACS and then eventually into our house. He didn’t know how to trust us and scampered around the house before eventually hiding away in the backyard. I’m slightly ashamed I had so many moments those first couple of weeks where I was worried that Duke was a lost cause, that because of whatever had happened to him before in his past, he would never be a “normal” dog again. Fortunately for all of us, these initial concerns were way off and he has become a goofy, loveable lab mix. I mentioned in a previous post how much Duke had progressed in our first month with him. Compared to where he now is today, it’s like we have a completely different dog living with us. Chip and I have spent many evenings talking about this growth and have fun reminiscing on this dog’s journey. So in honor of Duke’s progress, here are some of our favorite “before and after” moments.
Before: Duke avoided us like the plague and would jump and scamper out whenever we would enter a room too suddenly for his taste.
Now: Duke follows us around like it’s his job. It doesn’t matter where we are in the house or in the backyard, this dog wants to be our shadow now. It’s sweet that not only is he no longer afraid of me or Chip, but he’s even more social around strangers, wanting their affection and attention (although thankfully not as shamelessly as Wrigley does). Yes, he’ll still hide under the coffee table occasionally whenever new people are in the house, but it’s much better than running to his crate like he did before. Duke is also super excited to see me and Chip now when we come home, barking with Wrigley until we let them come inside with us. It’s sweet to see him this happy when he sees us now. He’ll even get a little jealous for our affection, trying to push Wrigley out of our hands with his nose.
Before: Duke would either be outside or inside in his crate. He would only hang out with us when forced.
Now: Duke strolls around the house with ease and can peacefully nap in any room. This definitely took some time, but he has slowly made himself comfortable over the past couple of months and now branches out past the living room and office. In fact, he really only goes to the office now whenever he’s ready to go to bed or is asking for his dinner! Duke will often join me in the kitchen while I cook dinner, looking to Wrigley for cues on getting scraps of food. He runs to the front living room whenever the door bell rings and barks like a good guard dog at any strange sound. He stands ready for us by the office door where we have the dog gate set up when we wake up, anxious to see us and go outside. I’m glad we were patient with Duke while he learned that this home was a safe place for him and that he’s slowly learned to trust us.
Before: Duke wouldn’t eat consistently. I was convinced he was going to starve to death instead of eat the high protein food we were trying to give him to help him put on some weight.
Now: Duke loves food and even eats out of Wrigley’s bowl now. He trusts us, too, whenever we offer him human food, jumping up to grab whatever we’re giving him (he’s a big fan of those peanut butter dog biscuits!). I’m relieved that he now has a hearty appetite and know that he will never again go hungry.
Before: Duke slowly followed Wrigley around, trying to mimic some of his behavior.
Now: These two dogs tend to drive me crazy! They play non-stop, which I have to remind myself is a good thing (which can be hard to accept as they twist the living room rug around during their wrestle matches!). It’s not that Duke was ever afraid of Wrigley, he just didn’t know how to play with him or interact with him. Luckily they have figured this out and now spend a lot of time playing and wrestling together. They also enjoy fighting over the same toy and will play a little bit of tug of war to see who wins (I don’t think they realize there’s an entire bin in the living room full of other toys… they’re like children sometimes!). It’s so fun to see them interact together and it’s great to see how this has helped Duke come out of his shell and show his more playful lab side. Duke is now often the one that gets playtime started, running up to Wrigley and pulling on his ears, which of course Wrigley then has to reciprocate :)
Before: Duke would run and hide in his crate whenever he saw his leash.
Now: Duke jumps and barks at me until I get his harness and leash on him for a walk. This is such a big change from where he was two months ago. I promise it’s no exaggeration at all when I say he literally used to cower at the sight of his little lanyard leash he came with from ACS. Luckily Wrigley has shown him that the harness and leash are exciting things and Duke now gets as happy for walks and jogs as Wrigley does. Their energy can make going on walks a little interesting, but it’s fun seeing how excited they get for this.
Duke is the sweetest foster dog we could have asked for. He’s easy to love and cheer for, and we can tell he appreciates this chance we’ve given him. He’s extremely loyal and will be a great addition to any family. We can’t wait to see who will take Duke in and give him a forever home. I’d say he’s pretty ready for his own place now! :)