Daisy’s belly rubs – A look back
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?