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Posts Tagged ‘Daisy the Wonder Dog’

Wordless Wednesday #201 – Daisy, Puppy Mill Dog #201

August 19, 2014 11 comments

It seemed appropriate to recognize Daisy on this 201st Wordless Wednesday. She was dog #201 in the mill. Still has the tattoo as a souvenir. She is my Boo.

This makes it all worthwhile. Save a dog. Experience pure joy. #petadoption #adopt

My Boo. Such a happy girl.

Original Daisy 2

Snoozing in he grass

My co-pilot.

My baby girl #Daisy

Daisy is all pooped out too.

One@of the many items Daisy carries around on a daily basis. :)

Sleepy Daisy

Daisy rides in a car – A look back

October 24, 2013 8 comments

DSC00869Today I am taking another look back to the early years when Daisy first came to live with me.  Daisy is a former puppy mill breeding dog who was estimated to be four years old at the time I adopted her. She was afraid of everyone and everything. She practically crawled on the ground the first few days she came to live with me.  It highlights the progress Daisy has made since I adopted her in 2007.

I hope it gives hope to those who have a damaged or unsocialized dog. Progress can be made. It takes time and patience and often happens in fits and starts – for every step forward there are two steps back, but it is so rewarding when you start to take those steps forward.  The key is to never give up hope. You need a lot of patience and understanding. You also need learn to learn to celebrate the small successes.

Time has a way of smoothing the edges of our memories. What once was crisp and clear, and ever so real in my mind, has been replaced by more current memories. But if I take a minute to look back and think about the early days with Daisy, I can remember some of what I have forgotten.

This past week I was thinking about Daisy and our early trips in the car. How different they used to be from today. Even now, I don’t really know if it was the car that terrified her or the movement of it.

What I do know is that she would readily jump into the car after the first week, but then immediately lie down and sprawl the entire length of the car. And there she would lay, frozen, for the entire trip. In the early days this would pose a problem because Aspen also had to fit into that back seat. I quickly learned that Aspen had to get into the car first or there was no room for her. Even then, Daisy was just as likely to lay directly on top of the elderly and delicate Aspen as she was to lay next to her.

I could not explain to Daisy why I needed her to move, and tugging gently on her collar or trying to physically move her were an impossibility. Have you ever tried to move a 60-lb dog who immediately freezes and clings to the car seat for dear life? It is not a great experience – for  the owner or for the fearful dog. It used to make me feel like the worst person in the world where Daisy was concerned.

So to help make the experience less stressful, we developed a routine that included starting over (something we did a lot in the early years). What this meant was that I would call Daisy out of the car as if we were unloading (i.e., getting out) and then re-load her into the car. This allowed me to adjust Aspen, move Aspen or help Daisy to leap in and lay next to her vs. on top of her. It often took 2-3 times, but we would usually get it right and then could be on our way.

Over time, Daisy learned that the car was not something to be feared but something to be excited about. This is because it usually meant we were going for a walk at the dog park. I remember the first time she sat up in the back seat to look out the window (it still makes me smile to think of that moment) and the first time she tentatively stuck her nose out the back window to sniff the air rushing by. Who could have ever guessed that my sweet fearful girl would learn to enjoy the simple things that most dogs enjoy every day?

Now, Daisy loves riding in the car and is usually the first one to jump in. She loves looking out the window, but is just as happy to lay sprawled out in the back seat so she can doze as we drive to our destination. She knows when we are getting close to the dog park and when we are close to home. These are the times when she perks up and stands and wags her tail. No more fearful frozen moments for her. I love hearing that now familiar thump, thump, thump as her tail hits the back seat. How far we have come from those early days. This November it will be six years since Daisy came home with me. Time may have muted my memories of those early days, but it has not muted my love and pride for her and her progress.

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Summer 030

Daisy’s belly rubs – A look back

October 3, 2013 13 comments
Can I get a belly rub?

Can I get a belly rub?

Today I am taking another look back to the early years when Daisy first came to live with me.  Daisy is a former puppy mill breeding dog who was estimated to be four years old at the time I adopted her. She was afraid of everyone and everything. She practically crawled on the ground the first few days she came to live with me.  It highlights the progress Daisy has made since I adopted her in 2007.

I hope it gives hope to those who have a damaged or unsocialized dog. Progress can be made. It takes time and patience and often happens in fits and starts – for every step forward there are two steps back, but it is so rewarding when you start to take those steps forward.  The key is to never give up hope. You need a lot of patience and understanding. You also need learn to learn to celebrate the small successes.

The first time was when I was laying on my belly on the living room floor. I was typing away on my computer when suddenly she appeared in the doorway. She approached cautiously, tentatively. Her eyes darted around the room but focused on me and my movements as she got closer. She was prepared to run, if needed. Any sudden movement from me and she would do just that.

I kept pretending to type away as I watched her, out of the corner of my eye, lay down. She was just out of reach, but close enough I could hear her breathing. I held my breath, afraid to breathe, afraid to move. I didn’t want to scare her.

We sat like that for some time before I was able to breathe again and make some attempt at acting normally. Inside, my mind was racing. She actually approached me! My scared, puppy mill mom of a dog, Daisy, had decided to trust me enough to lay down near me! Wow. This was big.

I watched as she fought to keep her head up, afraid to completely relax near me and sleep. But, eventually, sleep won out and her head dropped down until it was completely resting on the floor. I let her lay there. I didn’t make an attempt to touch her then, but I would over the next few days.

That was the first day. That was the day that led to Daisy’s favorite thing… belly rubs. As Daisy started to get more comfortable around me, and started to feel safe enough to lay near me, I started to inch forward and give her little belly scratches. She loved them. She wanted more of them.

As soon as I laid down on the floor with my computer, she would come into the room and lay down near me, stretching her belly out for me to scratch it. It made me laugh. It made me smile. Who would have believed a belly rub would be the thing that opened the door to her trust? Certainly not me.

As time progressed, Daisy discovered that belly rubs could also be given on the couch, in my bed as a morning wake up routine, and even outside, on the cool, prickly grass. I know Daisy loves them because she seeks them often, but the truth is, I love giving them because they make her so happy. She might not have had these for the fist four years of her life, but she darn well would have them as often as she wanted them for the rest of her life with me.

Now, one of my favorite morning routine includes that moment when I get to lay my head on Daisy’s body and rub her belly. This is our moment. It’s just me and my dog; her and her human.

It’s a reminder of how far we have come. It’s a reminder of what is possible when love and trust are given freely. Daisy loves belly rubs and I love her. What could be better?

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Daisy’s Tail – A Look Back

September 19, 2013 2 comments

IMG_4339Today I am taking another look back to the early years when Daisy first came to live with me.  Daisy is a former puppy mill breeding dog who was estimated to be four years old at the time I adopted her. She was afraid of everyone and everything. She practically crawled on the ground the first few days she came to live with me. This is an old blog post from Daisy’s blog, “Daisy the Wonder Dog (and how she found her Inner Lab).” It highlights the progress Daisy had made after I adopted her in 2007.

I hope it gives hope to those who have a damaged or unsocialized dog. Progress can be made. It takes time and patience and often happens in fits and starts – for every step forward there are two steps back, but it is so rewarding when you start to take those steps forward.  The key is to never give up hope. You need a lot of patience and understanding. You also need learn to learn to celebrate the small successes.

This post is from March 12, 2009, two years after Daisy first came to live with me.

It suddenly occurred to me today how far my little Daisy has come over the past 14 months.

As I was letting her inside this afternoon and we headed back into the house, I looked at her and patted her on the head. And, then she did something that made me smile – she looked at me and wagged her tail.

That’s when I realized that Daisy had been wagging her tail for a while now.

How did I ever miss that monumental moment when she first wagged her tail at me? When did it happen? How did I miss it? And, come to think of it…When did Daisy stop circling the car every time she came inside? When did I stop circling the car with her so I could hook a leash to her collar and lead her inside? So much progress and yet it passed by in the blink of an eye.

It’s amazing what a little tail wag can do to brighten your mood!

When I first got Daisy her tail was always tucked under her butt to signal her fear and uncertainty. This remained the case for many months afterwards. Everything was so new to her and people were not something she had a lot of confidence in, especially women. So, a tucked tail was completely understandable.

But eventually, over time her tail did come out and it would rest along the back of her legs, not tucked under like before. The tail wagging came much, much later. It may have been when she began to understand that when I asked her “Are you hungry?” food was soon to follow. Or, it may have been she realized that riding in the car usually meant she was going to the dog park to see her friends or hang out with family. Or, maybe, just maybe, it was when she realized that she was safe and that her new mom loved her a great deal.

It makes me realize how much I have waited for this moment; when Daisy would wag her tail just because she was happy. Forget rainbows, just give me another Daisy day like today!

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Daisy and Jasper from 2009

Daisy’s New Year 2010 – A Look Back

September 11, 2013 5 comments

DSC03718Today I am taking another look back to the early years when Daisy first came to live with me.  Daisy is a former puppy mill breeding dog who was estimated to be four years old at the time I adopted her. She was afraid of everyone and everything. She practically crawled on the ground the first few days she came to live with me. This is an old blog post from Daisy’s blog, “Daisy the Wonder Dog (and how she found her Inner Lab).” It highlights the progress Daisy had made after I adopted her in 2007.

I hope it gives hope to those who have a damaged or unsocialized dog. Progress can be made. It takes time and patience and often happens in fits and starts – for every step forward there are two steps back, but it is so rewarding when you start to take those steps forward.  The key is to never give up hope. You need a lot of patience and understanding. You also need learn to learn to celebrate the small successes.

This post is from December 31, 2009, two years after Daisy first came to live with me.

It’s so hard to believe, but year two with my beautiful Daisy the Wonder Dog has already gone by and we are headed into year three. She has come a long ways, something made more clear to me after I reread some of my posts from my earlier days with Daisy. She was so afraid and skittish when we first began our journey. Everything was new and frightening to her. But she is becoming less frightened by every day. She is truly an amazing dog, and she continues to inspire me every day.

Last year I listed several goals for Daisy.

Little did I know at that time how much progress we would make and how far we would still have to go. Nor could I know that just a few months later I would be adopting a new dog, a Sheltie named Jasper. He has brought a lot of changes to Daisy’s life, mostly good and a few not so good.

The Progress!

Daisy still eats in her kennel, (it’s still very much her safety spot) but she is no longer afraid to eat in my presence. She still doesn’t like to drink in front of me, probably because it requires her to have her back to me, but she isn’t afraid to go get water when she needs it.

Daisy is getting more confident – in herself and in me. She still continues to be overwhelmed in new situations or where there are a lot of people around, so I try to expose her to new places and situations on a regular basis. Her new Thundershirt (I’ll talk more about the Thundershirt in a future post) has helped her to be calmer in new situations, but she is still a work in progress.

Daisy is also no longer afraid of me touching her collar. This is mostly because I have added a new routine to our day. Every day when we return from the dog park, or from a walk, I remove her collar for the day. When we get ready to leave for the dog park in the morning, I put it back on her. There are two reasons I do this, 1) to get Daisy to associate me putting her collar on with something good (namely, the dog park or a walk – something she really enjoys), and 2) to increase the number of times I touch her collar thus turning it into a non-event. It really seems to be working too. Daisy now comes to me so I can put her collar on in the morning! I’d say that’s progress indeed!

While Daisy has not yet learned to play like other dogs by chasing a ball or a frisbee, she has learned to play. I witnessed it this summer while I was mowing the front yard. Daisy and Jasper were in the back yard hanging out when suddenly she began taunting him with a rope bone. She started prancing around with it in her mouth, daring Jasper to try and get it, and when he did, she played tug-of-war with him. I couldn’t have been more surprised. It was one of the coolest moments in my time with Daisy. She has started doing this at the dog park too, only using a stick in place of a rope bone.

Daisy is also more comfortable being at home now. Jasper is her constant companion and pal and she seems to be less lonely having him here with her. At one time this summer, Jasper stayed with my mom and her Sheltie, Jake, for a few days and Daisy missed him immensely.

The Work Ahead

We’re still working on being more comfortable around cameras. I fear I may have scarred her for life on this one :( I continue to use my camera around her; hoping that continued exposure will lessen the fear she associates with it. In fact, just this month she let me take some shots of her and didn’t try to run away or turn away from it in fear. One of the photos is at the top of this post.

Daisy is not yet able to walk beside me while on leash or at the dog park, but she is starting to be more comfortable being out ahead of me if Jasper is on leash next to her.

Daisy continues to make progress, and that is something to be celebrated. I will continue to share Daisy’s progress (and my insights and ideas on what works or doesn’t work with a puppy mill dog) throughout 2010. I hope you will cheer Daisy’s progress along with me this next year.

Go Daisy Go!

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Koi Daisy! Koi! – A Look Back

September 4, 2013 2 comments

Daisy in the ElementToday I am taking another look back to the early years when Daisy first came to live with me.  Daisy is a former puppy mill breeding dog who was estimated to be four years old at the time I adopted her. She was afraid of everyone and everything. She practically crawled on the ground the first few days she came to live with me. This is an old blog post from Daisy’s blog, “Daisy the Wonder Dog (and how she found her Inner Lab).” It highlights the progress Daisy had made after I adopted her in 2007.

I hope it gives hope to those who have a damaged or unsocialized dog. Progress can be made. It takes time and patience and often happens in fits and starts – for every step forward there are two steps back, but it is so rewarding when you start to take those steps forward.  The key is to never give up hope. You need a lot of patience and understanding. You also need learn to learn to celebrate the small successes.

This post is from September 6, 2009, almost 2  years after Daisy first came to live with me.

Daisy had a little adventure yesterday and I couldn’t resist sharing it.

You may not know this, but before Jasper joined our family, Daisy would often accompany me on client appointments. This was partly because Daisy was so frantic when I left her at home alone, but also because it was a way to expose her to different situations, people and animals and help her to expand her horizons. Sometimes she would walk with me and a client and at other times she would wait in the car (Please note: Daisy never went with me if it was too warm or too cold out for her to remain in the car).

Having Jasper as a companion has helped Daisy to be more calm at home, so she has not been traveling with me as often. Yesterday however, I thought I would take her with me as a treat. She loves it when she can go with me on my rounds.

Our first stop was to check in on a Labrador Retriever (who is almost an exact replica of Daisy) and a French Bulldog – both of whom are absolutely adorable and sweet. They love other dogs, so I wasn’t worried that Daisy would have to remain in the car. First, I let the boys out to go potty. Once that was done I let Daisy out of the car. Everyone set about sniffing each other. Once the introductions had been made, we leashed up and set out on a walk together. Both the boys and Daisy love to walk (and what a lovely day to do so!). The sun was out. It was warm, but not hot, and the birds were singing up a storm.

When we returned, we headed out back to feed the Koi fish. The Koi pond is covered with netting over three-quarters of the pond (Blue Heron’s and Kingfishers have been gorging themselves on Koi, so the netting protects them from these interlopers), while the remaining one-quarter of the pond is covered with beautiful green lily pads. The fish have learned to be cautious, so they mostly stay under the lily pads, only adventuring out when they feel brave or when they know food is coming.

The boys followed me as I stepped into the porch area to grab a scoop of the fish food. Daisy was busy exploring her surroundings, sniffing the plants and trees surrounding the Koi pond. I carried the scoop of fish food back to the pond. The fish saw me coming and started to come out from under the lily pads and swim towards the top to get their food. Who said fish aren’t smart?

As I spread the last of the food along the top of the pond, I turned to head back to the porch, and that was when I saw her. My Daisy. After sniffing the yard, she had returned to the stone sitting area to sniff. As I turned, I watched Daisy walk, nose to the ground, straight into the Koi pond. You know that moment in a movie where something momentous happens in slow motion and the main character, shouts “Noooooooooooooo!!!” in slow motion? Well, that was me as I watched Daisy walk straight into the pond.

Imagine Daisy’s surprise as she stepped forward and fell down into the lily pads and water. She had no idea that the lily pads weren’t a part of the stone area. Honestly, it never occurred to me that she wouldn’t know there was water there. Poor girl!

She came up sputtering and immediately headed towards the edge of the pond. Amazingly, she did not panic, but rather swam to the edge of the pool and started to pull herself up. I raced to grab her, but she slipped back in. “Oh no!” I thought, “She’s going to panic! And, I’m going to have a hard time getting her out again.” But, I was wrong. Not my Daisy. She quickly swam to the edge again and pulled herself completely out on her own (with a little help from me as I grabbed her collar).

Given her background, I thought she would be totally freaked out and running scared. I was wrong again. Daisy simply shook herself off, looked back at the pond, and then set about sniffing again. I was floored. Was this my scared little Daisy? The one who was so afraid of everything and anything new or different? Who would have been absolutely freaked out if this had happened a year ago?

I guess not! Who would have thought that Daisy could be so nonchalant about something that would have been so frightening to her in the past. Simply put, I was in awe of her. I think Daisy’s progress is a testament to what encouragement, patience and love can do for a puppy mill dog. I was so proud of her.

But, I still think I will shout “Koi! Daisy Koi!” if we are ever faced with this circumstance again.

(As a last note: No Koi or lily pads were hurt in the making of this accident, and the netting was spared because luckily Daisy fell in the one-quarter part covered in lily pads.)

Koi pond

The Dog That Was Not There – A Look Back

August 22, 2013 15 comments

DSC00449Today I am taking another look back to the early years when Daisy first came to live with me.  Daisy is a former puppy mill breeding dog who was estimated to be four years old at the time I adopted her. She was afraid of everyone and everything. She practically crawled on the ground the first few days she came to live with me. This is an old blog post from Daisy’s blog, “Daisy the Wonder Dog (and how she found her inner Lab).” It highlights the progress Daisy had made after I adopted her in 2007.

I hope it gives hope to those who have a damaged or unsocialized dog. Progress can be made. It takes time and patience and often happens in fits and starts – for every step forward there are two steps back, but it is so rewarding when you start to take those steps forward.  The key is to never give up hope. You need a lot of patience and understanding. You also need learn to learn to celebrate the small successes.

This post is from August 20, 2010, almost 4  years after Daisy first came to live with me.

People have always commented to me how lucky Daisy is to have me, how I’m such a ‘good mom’, but the truth is there was a time when living with Daisy felt more like I was living in a house with no dog at all. And, it made me question why I had adopted her at all.

I’m not going to lie. I like to feel connected to my dogs. I like that they seek affection from me. That they want to lay by my side while I watch TV or read a good book. I like that they get excited when we go for a trip to the dog park or when I come home.

Daisy was not one of those dogs. She was emotionally distant. Fearful. Restrained. Reserved. Dis-Connected.

I could not expect her to wag her tail when she saw me. I got that from my dog Aspen. I never expected her to come to me for a pet. My dog Aspen did that. I would never have expected her to hang out with me on the couch while I watched TV. Aspen did that.

At the time I adopted Daisy, Aspen was my only dog. She was affectionate, funny, enthusiastic, loving, sweet, gentle, kind, and excited about life, and she was “my dog.” She made my days brighter. I looked forward to seeing her when I got home from work because I knew that she would want to hang out with me. I loved taking her on walks because she loved them so. I loved to watch her hook her head over the arm of the couch to see what I was doing in the kitchen. Aspen was everything Daisy was not.

That’s why Aspen’s death, so soon after I adopted Daisy, hit me so hard. For some people, having a second dog is a comfort when they lose another. For me, it felt like I was all alone. There was no dog to distract me from my grief when I cried. There was no dog there to greet me when I got home or to show excitement when we went for car rides, or to just hang out on the couch with me. All I had was an empty shell of a dog. One who preferred her kennel to being in the same room with me. She was like a ghost, flitting from room to room, unable to communicate, unable to connect, unable to emote any kind of emotion at all. It was sad and lonely place to be.

IMG_2710What I never expected was that slowly, over time, Daisy would become the most special and wonderful dog I’ve ever had. She touched me more than I ever thought she could. Without Aspen as her guide, Daisy had to rely upon me for guidance. She had to interact with other dogs, study them, mimic them, and find her own identity. She started to trust me and seek me out. She looked to me as her protector and I took that job seriously – I still do. Tail wags? I get them from Daisy all of the time now. Seeking affection, pets and belly rubs? Yup. Daisy wants attention, pets and belly rubs all of the time now. Hanging out on the couch? Daisy does that too, on occasion. She still prefers her kennel, but she’s not tied to it. She is just as happy to lie next to me on the couch or to jump onto my bed for a belly rub. And, she has a smile now. I love that smile.

Is she still fearful? Absolutely. But, every day she surprises me and proves that she can overcome her fears and be the dog she was meant to be. She’s finding her inner Lab and I love that. And, I love her… very much.

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