Home > Animal Rescue, Daisy, Puppy Mills > Daisy rides in a car – A look back

Daisy rides in a car – A look back


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 What once was crisp and clear, and ever so real in my mind, has been replaced by more current memories.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.

Summer 022

Summer 030

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  1. October 24, 2013 at 7:34 AM

    OMG, she’s so sweet. I love that last pic!

  2. October 24, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    Such a pretty girl! I’ve had Our Best Friend four years, and he still barks like an insane machine when we get into the car to go anywhere! But now I think maybe there’s hope. 🙂

  3. October 24, 2013 at 8:34 AM

    Wonderful post Bree…It is great to remember the progress our pups have made with love and patience…I was really surprised the day I brought Gizmo home from the shelter…Here’s a dog whose only car trip had brought him to doggie jai and no this strange human was putting him into another car…I figured he’d be nervous or concerned…nope, not Gizmo…he was happy as a clam riding in the car and has remained that way

  4. Margot
    October 24, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    I feel so sorry for dogs that are in puppy mills. It just goes to show you, that they are worth our attention and care, because many puppy mill dogs live a long time. I had two miniature poodles that lived until they were 15 and 16, with no health problems, and they came from a puppy mill. My Tasha that recently died, only lived until 13 years and 7 mos., and she did not come from a puppy mill. Thank you for your lovely story, because Daisy is a beautiful girl.

  5. October 24, 2013 at 9:46 AM

    Love that second pix. Sweet girl.

  6. October 24, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    Daisy you are beauwoooowooooootiful!

  7. October 24, 2013 at 4:18 PM

    Oh Daisy, you are so like my Maggie. Maggie LOVES going in the car – but does as Daisy – jumps in, immediately lies down and doesn’t move. Luckily, I have an SUV, so we have plenty of room back there.

  8. October 24, 2013 at 7:53 PM

    Sweet girl. Bless you for rescuing her.

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