Home > Animal Rescue, Daisy, Dog Behavior, Pet Sitting, Puppy Mills > Daisy Makes a Leap – A Look Back

Daisy Makes a Leap – A Look Back


DSC01243Today I am taking another look back to the early years when Daisy 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 think it is a good reminder for those who have a damaged or unsocialized dog. Progress can be made with dogs like Daisy. It just takes time and patience. Often it happens in fits and starts – for every step forward, there are two steps back, understanding this may be easy, but seeing it can be hard. They 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 April 11, 2009, a little over two years from the date she first came home with me.

It’s been a while since I’ve updated anyone on Daisy’s progress. Partly because it’s been a little busy around here (we’ve had a lot of visitors staying with us), but also because Daisy seems to have made a tremendous leap in her progression towards finding her “inner lab”. To be honest, I couldn’t be more proud of her.

It’s like a light switch has come on. Although I know it has taken a lot of work, time and patience, it seems as if Daisy has suddenly gained confidence overnight. Oh, she still has her moments when she is unsure and overwhelmed, but all in all, she seems to have turned a corner. Even my friends at the dog park have noticed her new confidence. She absolutely loves to have her friend Brutus chase her through the woods at the dog park. She can fly like wind when she’s running through the woods. I am always amazed at her dexterity and her ability to quickly change course or find a way through the thick brush. I would never have guess she could be so nimble!

It makes me laugh sometimes to watch her pretend that she doesn’t see Brutus sneaking up on her, and then just when he’s about to pounce (and yes, a 120 lb. Rottweiler can pounce!), she’s off like a flash! She flies through the woods, her tail up and a smile on her face. What happened to the dog that stuck closely to my side or just behind me, so close that her nose often touched the back of my leg?  She’s still there, on those occasions when she does not feel safe, but she is more often than not off exploring with her friends or running through the woods. And when she does stick closely to my side, it’s different. I don’t see the fear that I used to see. She’s more confident. More sure of herself.

Just last week, our friend, Lynn (Sasha’s dad) commented on how she is now able to comfortably approach men and women now. She used to be more cautious and unsure when she approached a woman or when they approached her. But, so many of her friends have moms that she has learned to be less fearful around women. It’s so great to see.

Daisy is also confident enough to sit with her group of friends waiting for a treat from her friend, Henry’s mom, Ann-Marie. Last summer, whenever her Bob, another dog park regular, would distribute treats she would back away and only approach cautiously when the other dogs let her in. Not anymore! She’s right there waiting for her share. A Lab never turns down free food!

I think the last thing that has changed is our morning and evening rituals.

Daisy has always preferred to sleep in her kennel because she feels safe there (and because Nick doesn’t terrorize her there). In the past, morning rituals consisted of me getting up and letting Daisy outside and then getting our breakfasts ready. That was until Mya (a pet sitting client) came to stay with us. Daisy was watching when Mya started sleeping on my bed with me at night. She noticed that Mya got belly rub from me every morning before we got out of bed.  The wheels in her head started turning and soon she was thinking she wanted a bit of that attention for herself. So now, every morning before she goes outside, she jumps onto my bed, lays down and stretches her body out so I can give her a belly rub.  We spend a little quality time together just me rubbing her belly and giving her kisses. She loves it, and so do I.

In the evening, her belly rub time is a bit longer. Sometimes it even includes a little doggie massage. She absolutely loves her doggie massages! It’s our quiet time together and I get to tell her I love her. I think she likes that too.

When she first met Daisy, my vet told me that she would probably be the best dog I’ve ever had. To be honest, I seriously doubted her statement at the time. I had already had some pretty awesome dogs I my life. But now, I think she may be right. Daisy is so very special. She’s courageous, well-behaved, gentle, loving, and smart. She doesn’t bark and she gets long with every dog she meets. Who wouldn’t want a dog like that?

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  1. May 23, 2013 at 7:48 AM

    That is so sweet. It made me a little teary. It’s so rewarding to see dogs with issues progress. Kudos to you for helping Daisy to be the dog she is meant to be.

    • Mel
      May 24, 2013 at 7:20 AM

      Thanks Susan. It sometimes makes me teary too. Daisy has come such a long way.

  2. May 23, 2013 at 8:12 AM

    Dog park therapy is the best, isn’t it? When we fostered a terrified (and non-fear aggressive) older puppy, even while he was scared of us, he opened right up at the dog park and would whiz right by people who he otherwise would have been afraid of. For as many bad things I hear people say about dog parks, if you have a good one, know the hours to avoid, and know whether your dog is a good match for the park, they can be wonderful for certain dogs.

    • Mel
      May 24, 2013 at 7:19 AM

      I SO agree. A good dog park can make all the difference. We had a good crowd in the morning that made all the difference too. It was a small group of responsible dog owners. Daisy really learned a lot from our small little group. It made all the difference.

  3. May 23, 2013 at 12:06 PM

    No therapy like the dog park – Eko loves it and it’s relaxing for me as well. That photo is great – you must have had a tasty treat in hand to get that much attention!

    • Mel
      May 24, 2013 at 7:18 AM

      I agree Eill and Eko. The dog park really allowed Daisy to see that most dogs have loving people attached to them and those people could be pretty nice. They also carry treats! This is actually my friend, Ann-Marie, handing out dog biscuits at the park. The dogs, as you can see, were excited. 🙂

  4. May 23, 2013 at 4:11 PM

    This is so sweet!!! Thanks for sharing this oldie, but goodie message. Wishing you, Daisy and all her friends the best.

    • Mel
      May 24, 2013 at 7:16 AM

      Thanks Amanda! So glad you enjoyed it!

  5. May 23, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    I love when you post your old Daisy posts here. Keep it up.

    And your description of a change like a flipping light switch is so true. You can get impatient waiting for change and then it just happens.

    So has Daisy turned out to be the best dog you’ve ever had?

    • Mel
      May 24, 2013 at 7:16 AM

      Thanks Pamela. I never knew it would strike a chord with people. I just wanted to preserve them and not forget where she has been.
      In answer to your question? Yes. She has been, I love her dearly.

  6. May 23, 2013 at 5:45 PM

    I loved reading about Daisy. Our Labs have always been such great pets. Am glad Daisy came into her own…but I’m sure that was due to your patience and great care of her!

    • Mel
      May 24, 2013 at 7:14 AM

      I’m glad you love reading about her. I just wished I had started blogging the first day I got her and continued on throughout the first four years. Seeing her now, I forget how far she has come. That’s a good thing I guess, but I never want to forget how much she has grown. I am so very proud of her.

  7. May 27, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    I absolutely adored this. It’s such a great thing to be able to remember all those successes. I laughed out loud when I read about her figuring out how to get those pre-bed belly rubs. It’s amazing what watching other dogs will do/teach them!

    • Mel
      May 27, 2013 at 8:59 PM

      I agree Sarah. I laughed when I re-read about Daisy doing that. I had completely forgotten! She is smart that way. It’s how she learned to become a dog. She watched other dogs and mimicked their behaviors. I have loved watching her do this. So fascinating to see her watch and learn and try herself. 🙂

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