Reflecting on my past year with Cupcake
The other day I heard one of the radio DJs refer to this week, the week between Christmas and New Years, as the “lost week.” I suppose in some cases this is true. So many people take this week off from work that not much really gets done in terms of “real” work.
But for me, this week is a time to reflect. A time to look back on the year that has passed and to think about what is to come in the year ahead. I’m not sure why, but for some reason I have been doing a lot of reflecting on one particular dog this year – Cupcake, my sweet little Sheltie girl.
My how far she has come in this past year.
Last year, she had just returned home after being lost for 12 days. I was just happy to have her back home again. It was such a relief to know she was safe and not lost in Eagan or someplace beyond.
But this year, I find myself reflecting on her amazing progress.
I can still remember the very first day she came to stay with me (as a foster dog). She was so scared and uncertain, both of me and her new home. I remember her standing at the gate watching her former foster mom get into her car to leave and how she ran along the length of the fence, trying to find a way out, to follow her. Dawn had been such a rock in her life up until then. How sad and scared she must have been as she watched her leave.
But that Cupcake is long gone now. The one that has replaced her is so much more confident, happy and secure, not only in herself, but also in others.
The old Cupcake was afraid of all strangers and never would have even considered approaching someone other than me. Over this past year, I have watched her approach people she has come to know as friends (or those she deems as “safe”) as well as strangers. It seems she has learned that some of our dog park friends carry treats, and because she is treat-motivated, she will approach them to get one. At first it was only come close enough to have tit tossed to her, but now she will take them right from the person’s hands. She even approaches people she doesn’t know, if she suspects they have treats.
The new Cupcake also loves to play, and will tear around the house with her brother, Jasper, as they wrestle and growl and act like silly pups. (She has even been known to play a game of tug with her sister, Daisy!)
She also plays with some of the dogs at our dog park, especially Duncan, another young Sheltie, who seems to have caught her eye. She will twirl and jump and dance just to get his attention.
Watching her playful side come out has been such a joy.
The new Cupcake also knows the commands “sit”, “down”, “come”, “drop it” and “watch me”, and is quite good at solving some of the most difficult doggie puzzles. (She also is quite good at stealing the cat’s food, but we won’t mention that one will we?)
In the past year, she has also had the chance to experience new things, like a hike in the woods, putting her toes in a lake, walking along a beach and chasing more squirrels and rabbits than one can count.
She has also learned to share my attention, doggie bones and her toys with her siblings. She is still the first to corner me in the bathroom, but she doesn’t mind sharing the space with Jasper if he wants to join her.
I love that she will now put her paws up on the edge of the couch and paw at me to let me know she wants some attention. I love that her preferred sleeping space is right next to my bed (or on my bed) and that she wants to be where I am because that is where she feels safe.
I love that she feels safe and happy and curious and confident in her new home. I love that she knows this is her home. (I think she knew it before I did.)
The dog I adopted a year ago has turned into quite an amazing little dog. I never could have guessed she would have come this far in just a year. It makes me wonder… what will she do in the next year?