Little Lady Lost: An Update
On Sunday, I was driving through Eagan and passed many of the locations I had spent so many hours searching for Lady. It brought back a lot of memories for me. I am so glad I no longer have to worry about her being out there with the coyotes or dealing with the cold weather or getting hit by a car. Except for a bad haircut, you’d never guess that she had been missing for 12 whole days before she was found. I have many people ask how she is doing, so I thought I would give everyone an update.
As I mentioned in my post “Little Lady Lost and How She Made It Home Again“, Lady came home a little dehydrated and completely encased in burrs. What I didn’t tell you was that she was so encased in burrs and feces that they couldn’t even take her temperature at the emergency vet clinic.
Other than making sure she was fine physically, we (me, Estelle and Karen) were most concerned in making sure Lady was comfortable. I couldn’t bear the thought of her having to deal with all those burrs in her coat and poking into her body for one minute longer, so when the veterinarian asked if we wanted to cut them to cut the burrs out, we said “Yes.” As a result, Lady ended up with a less than glamorous look.
Honestly though, I could care less how Lady looks. At the time, I was more concerned with her physical and mental health. Did she eat something that could hurt her or make her sick? Would she be terrified and skittish after being out on her own for so long? She had been off her meds, specifically clomipramine, for nearly two weeks. (I was told that the last time she had been off them she had been an absolute mess, so I really worried about her mental state after this whole ordeal.)
We treated her health issues with fluids (for dehydration), antibiotics and de-wormer (in case she had eaten something that had given her worms), but her mental health seemed completely fine. She didn’t show any of the anxiety or nervousness I expected, but rather acted as she did before she went missing.
I had fully expected that she would be jumpy or timid or suffering from anxiety after her ordeal, especially since she had been off her meds for so long, but in fact, from the moment Lady has come home, she has acted as if she was never gone. She has played with her favorite toys, stolen the cat’s food, and even tried to engage Jasper in play, giving him playbows galore.
In some ways, she seems even more normal than she did before she went missing. I know that probably sounds strange, but what I mean is that she is even more affectionate, more animated and playful, and somewhat calmer, than she was before she left. Maybe knowing that she is home is all that she needed to feel more comfortable in her skin or maybe the calm, predictable life at home is the exact opposite of what she experienced in those 12 days and she just feels more able to relax now that she is safe. Whatever the reason, it’s nice to see her so happy. As a result, I have chosen not to start her on clomipramine again, unless or until she shows signs that she needs it.
Since Lady has come home we have taken many excursions to the dog park. The first few times I kept her in her harness and a leash so I could be sure that she wouldn’t run if startled. Although, a little more skittish at first, she has done quite well ever since and loves to go for walks. In fact, she just recently (this past week) started taking treats from our friend Jill, a friend from the dog park. This is a huge step for her since she has always backed up when offered a treat before. She is also starting to check out some of our other dog park friends more closely, like Kellie and Kym.
While she does stop to sniff quite often, like she did before, she rarely lets me get too far before hurrying to catch up. She doesn’t like to be too far from me these days and that’s more than fine with me.
Lady also had her first bath since returning. She didn’t really like the experience all that much, but she handled it with class. She didn’t even get all goofy like Jasper did after his bath. Apparently, ladies just don’t act that way. 🙂
She still loves playing with toys and spends a lot of time chewing on the bone that Aunt Cindy got for her. She has also learned a few new commands since returning home: “down”, “watch me” and “stretch” (extend front legs and go into a bow) – and she has gotten even better at “sit”. She also loves taking long naps in her favorite spot near the toy basket and has claimed the new dog bed as her own. Jasper doesn’t seem to mind.
All in all, I have to say that Lady has done quite well after her little adventure. The only lasting remnant as far as I can tell is a recognition of the sounds coyotes make. I ran across a video of some coyotes yipping while searching for funny videos on YouTube. When I played it, Lady immediately stood up and looked around, trying to find the source of the sounds. She looked quite unsettled and nervous. Jasper, on the other hand, had no reaction at all.
Estelle, from Minnesota Sheltie Rescue, suggested it might be PTSD and I am inclined to agree. As silly as it sounds, it never occurred to me that she might recognize the sounds until I saw her reaction. It makes me sad to think of her sitting out in the dark woods somewhere and hearing those eerie sounds and being so very afraid. Needless to say, I will not be playing that video again. If you want to hear what they sound like, click on the video below. It gave me the heebie jeebies.
Lady and I want thank everyone who helped bring her home. I think she knows she is one lucky girl. She had so many people who helped her, whether they prayed, spread the word, set up traps, alerted the media, handed out fliers or called to report a sighting. In many ways, I consider what happened to be a miracle. I’m thinking we can all use a miracle now and then, can’t we?
As a last note, I mailed the adoption papers for Lady today. I had planned to submit them at Christmas time, but the holidays kind of took over. So now, Lady will not only be the first adoption of 2012, but she will also have an adoption anniversary that falls on the first new day of each year.