Home > Animal Rescue, Daisy, Puppy Mills > A Brut Moment Challenge: The moment Daisy and I connected

A Brut Moment Challenge: The moment Daisy and I connected


Today I am taking part in a challenge from our friend over at 24 Paws of Love. Here is the challenge:

Tell us in a post what was the most monumental moment that you and your dog shared, that changed the course of your lives together.  How ever big or small, what happened that brought an understanding between you and your dog and brought your relationship closer than it was before.  What is that one story in your mind that stands out and you repeat over and over to anyone that will listen?  Tell us all about it!!

I knew from the first moment I read about the challenge, I would be writing about Daisy. Although she is the most wonderful dog you could ever imagine now, she was a really big challenge in the beginning. Being a former puppy mill breeding dog, Daisy was fearful of me (and others). In the past, humans had always meant pain to her. Getting close to her ,and connecting with her, was difficult. I had to think outside the box – a lot. I had to learn patience, how to move slowly, and speak in a soft voice. For every step forward there were two steps back.

Our challenges included the following:

  • Getting in and out the door to the backyard
  • Building trust
  • Riding in the car (Daisy would lie flat out on the back seat as if she were hanging on for dear life.)
  • Wearing a collar
  • Going for walks
  • Letting someone touch her
  • Approaching her

There are so many moments along the way that brought our relationship closer, but perhaps the one I remember most fondly I shared on her blog about a year after I first brought her home. I’m going to steal my words from the post I wrote back then, “Have a Daisy Day”, and share what I remember as the moment our relationship changed.

Most mornings, Daisy and I pick up Henry, another wonderful pet sitting client, and head off to the dog park. Daisy, as is her wont, claims the full back seat as her own; sprawling across the full length of the seat so she can sleep comfortably. Henry rides shotgun; always alert for the lone squirrel crossing the street or another dog on a walk. On occasion, he looks over at me with his adorable puppy-dog eyes and I cannot help but pet him and tell him how cute he is – an absolute truth and he knows it.

Usually, when we drop Henry off, Daisy remains sprawled in the back sleeping until we near home and then like some hidden radar, she sits up (after the 1st stop sign on our street) and looks out the window. Sometimes, she will stand up, tail wagging, as she waits for me to pull into the driveway and then into the garage.

But, recently Daisy has added a new behavior. After we drop Henry off, she climbs into the front seat, where she sits until she falls asleep, head drooping down  lower and lower until she finally lays down; or she curls up in a ball (so she can actually fit her lab body into the seat) and lays her head on my lap between the stick shift and my bottled water. It’s the first time she has really sought me out for affection in this way. I know I may be adding human emotion into the mix, but it’s almost as if she feels more at peace being near me. When she rides up front, her whole body relaxes and she sleeps more deeply, sometimes snoring gently. She seems to love that I can pet her continuously from that position.

For me, it is the most peaceful ride I have ever had. There is so much love that is contained in that one small moment in time. Knowing how afraid Daisy was to trust anyone, including me, for so long makes it all the more amazing and beautiful. How is that a dog so mistreated and unloved for so much of her early life could trust enough to let me see her vulnerable? I know I’ve said it before, but I really am lucky. She is one special dog and I don’t think I will ever be the same again. She has taught me so much in the past 11 months that she has been with me, including: love, patience, trust, commitment, beauty, peace, and the joy that comes from the small things in life. It’s my wish that everyone gets the chance to be blessed with the same.

Have a Daisy day on me.

Yeah. That’s definitely the moment our relationship changed.I’m smiling even now as I remember those moments. I love my Daisy.

How about you? Is there a moment when your relationship changed with your dog? A moment when you really connected? A moment when there was a breakthrough? I’d love to hear your story.

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  1. Lynn
    November 1, 2012 at 8:00 AM

    So touching, Mel. What a great read!

    • Mel
      November 2, 2012 at 6:53 AM

      Thanks Lynn. Daisy and I have quite a story. I am so grateful I adopted her.

  2. November 1, 2012 at 8:05 AM

    Mel, What a great story and special moment!
    As you may remember I also have a Mill Mom. Lacy was also scared of people, but sounds she did not know or loud noises sent her into a panic running to find a place to hide. She never sought out the comfort of a human when she was scared. I would cherish the moments she would accept my touch and not cringe, but seem to enjoy being petted.
    I think the one big moment that I remember most is we were out for a walk in a large field, when there was a loud thwacking sound. I saw that people were hitting a Pinata, but what Lacy did melted me. She came to me for comfort and safety from the noise that must have sounded like someone being beat. I knew that we had made that connection and she knew I would keep her safe. I know it sounds small, but to me it was huge.
    We have a special bond that in the beginning I did not think possible. I’m so proud of her and her ability to forgive what people have done to her.

    • Mel
      November 2, 2012 at 6:52 AM

      Carole – I read your comment on my cell phone with tears in my eyes. I can totally relate to the loud noises and them turning to you for safety and security. It is not a small thing at all. Daisy used to cringe at my touch and jump at every noise. That she would come to me as Lacy did to you is a big thing indeed. Thank you for sharing this moment.

  3. November 1, 2012 at 9:32 AM

    Beautiful post, Mel. I am so glad you shared this again. I am woefully behind in my reading so I wasn’t aware of this challenge until now. I will have to take it up and share my response in my blog. Thanks again. I hope every day is a Daisy Day.

    • Mel
      November 2, 2012 at 6:49 AM

      I hope you do write about your and Shiva’s moment Kristine. The Hop is open all day today as well.

  4. jan
    November 1, 2012 at 10:06 AM

    What a lovely and loving post. I’ve never had to deal with a dog who had been abused but it is obviously a rewarding experience.

    • Mel
      November 2, 2012 at 6:50 AM

      Jan – very rewarding. You learn to celebrate the smallest of successes.

  5. Will and Eko
    November 1, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    What an awesome story – thanks for sharing! Time to have a Daisy day.

    • Mel
      November 2, 2012 at 6:48 AM

      I hope your Daisy day was wonderful Will and Eko. 🙂

  6. November 1, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    I remember reading this Mel on your Daisy blog and I remembering just melting as I am again . You and Daisy are so blessed to have each other. Although I have never had a puppy mill dog, I can relate so well to being petrified of humans and learning to trust and how those little steps are a world of love when they happen.

    Thanks so much for joining the challenge and your story. 🙂
    Give that Daisy and all your dogs a big hug from the 24 Paws of Love.

    • Mel
      November 2, 2012 at 6:48 AM

      Thanks for a great blog hop 24 Paws! I was so glad to be a part of this one!
      I feel very blessed to have Daisy. Yes, you definitely get the small steps and the progress that happens on those steps.

  7. Kathy
    November 1, 2012 at 12:27 PM

    for me, it was when Timber , our rescued pitbull who was starved near death then thrown into a dumpster like a piece of garbage, got up on the couch and snuggled in right behind me. I could feel his warm breath on the back of my neck. It took 2 years and he’s still a little jumpy even around us but he continues to inprove all the time. I love him so!

  8. November 1, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    That was a beautiful post Mel, I read it with tears in my eyes.

    I’m not sure when Delilah and I had our break through moment, if I had to pin it down I would say it was during a training class when the trainer dropped a handful of treats right next to her and she kept her eye contact with me. That was really a magical moment for me.

    • Mel
      November 2, 2012 at 6:46 AM

      Jodi – That is a wonderful moment! Because I feel like I know Delilah through your posts, I can completely appreciate that moment! Congrats!

  9. Laural
    November 1, 2012 at 6:02 PM

    This is so beautifully written, thank you. You told the same story between me and my Rottweiler, Kyler. He came from a hoarding/mill situation as well. There were 200 Rotties taken from a ranch in Texas in 2011, 7 of them moved to Minnesota and I was able to foster this beautiful boy, which so quickly took my heart he became a permanant resident. Our break through moment was not all that long ago. He was laying on the floor – I layed on the floor in front of him with my head on the floor as well and slowly moved towards him and he totally trusted that I was only there to give him affection. Every little thing this boy does brings a tear to my eye and a smile to my face. My heart actually aches as I am watching him become a dog, one very slow step at time.

    • Mel
      November 2, 2012 at 6:44 AM

      Oh Laural – I completely teared up reading your story. It was only 5 years ago that I was where you are with your Kyler. I am so glad that you decided to give him a home. I completely understand what you mean about everything he does brings a tear to your eye and a smile to your face. I’m still amazed at Daisy’s progress. Wishing you and Kyler the same. God bless you both.

  10. November 1, 2012 at 9:43 PM

    Stop making me cry! Ohhhh, I loved this post Mel! Thanks for sharing your moment with us!
    I hope we all get to experience a Daisy Day in our lives!

    When I read about this challenge I knew exactly the moment I was going to write about with Leroy! I’ll be posting about it tomorrow!

    • Mel
      November 2, 2012 at 6:55 AM

      Sorry Jen! I kind of get teary-eyed every time I try to write about Daisy and her progress (just like Cupcake and her return home). Maybe I’m a sap?
      I hope everyone gets to experience a Daisy Day too. 🙂

      I’m looking forward to reading your post!

  11. November 1, 2012 at 11:15 PM

    I won’t reveal my relationship with this dog ’cause well, the person that owned “dog” was a jerk. My relationship with “dog” changed the day it ran, like flat out RAN, to me for protection to avoid being punished for chewing up a hat. “Dog” realized I could be counted on to be a firewall of protection. Yeah, not everyone should have a pet 😦

    • Mel
      November 2, 2012 at 6:45 AM

      Oh wow Karen. Yes. That is a breakthrough moment. Is the dog safe now?

      • November 2, 2012 at 1:37 PM

        “safe” in a sense. “dog” died a few years ago (of old age). “Dog” didn’t have an overall crappy life, there were just times where “jerk” could have managed it’s anger a little better.

  12. November 2, 2012 at 9:36 PM

    I just had to smile reading this post. How wonderful.

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