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January 19 2010 “Rufus’s big Day”

1:00 Malaika and I just picked up Rufus at his home. We had to pull him out from under the dining room table where he was hiding. Then mom helped get him in the car with a bittersweet goodbye. She was sad to see him go but happy and excited for him to break out of his shell.

1:30 We went straight to the park to walk and let all the dogs meet. He was fine right away with his two temporary boston terrier foster brothers. He sniffed the air and unsurly followed my lead making eye contact here and there.

2:30 We just got home and I unpacked the car of his crate, food and toys. Before we even entered the house we got outside and went for a long run to work off some of his pent up anxiety.  He lagged behind a little bit but kept up with me and my boys.  I realized quickly that when I said his name or good boy he ran a little bit faster.  This apparently boosted his self esteem and so I ended up singing his name and hollering support along the entire run.  We do what needs to be done at Dog Gone Amazing, haha.

3:30  We got back home from the run and now its time to go in the house.  I was asking a lot of him, to trust me enough to follow me into a new house with new smells, new people, new dogs, and cats (one with 3 legs)! And to make it worse he didn’t know any of the hiding spots yet. Ok I would love to say he walked into the house right next to me and our cosmic bond had begun. No…he decided to hide under the car for a bit. I gave him some time to come out on his own but I guess that wasn’t in his plans. There I was lying on the floor of my garage trying to urge him out. With no luck I had to politely offer him another option, a tiny tap of a broom 🙂  Once I got him in the house he settled down. To my surprise he didn’t go try to hide under something, he just sat in the kitchen trying to take everything in. Since he wasn’t hiding I decided it would be ok to let him relax for a while in there. There is a fine line to succeeding with a nervous dog. You never allow them to hide from life but you also never force them to participate. He was willing to hang out openly in the kitchen which is out of his comfort zone, so I was happy with that and didn’t push for more. I knew if he wasn’t aloud to hide and I was patient he would progress. And with my dogs running in and out of the kitchen, smelling him and drinking water and begging for treats, that is exactly what he did. Dogs are awesome with helping rehabilitate other dogs. (Oh my gosh, breakthrough! He just walked into my computer room on his own where I am typing and checked things out for a minute then tested a bone outside the door!)

4:45 Rufus came with me to a dog lesson and hung out in the car. Side note: he still hasn’t drank, peed, pooped or eaten anything yet since I picked him up…a sign that he is still super nervous.

6:00 Time to meet my husband. I was weary because with his past history of being terrified of everyone I thought for sure a tall man would definitely be scary. Well I just learned something new about Rufus…HE LIKES MEN! Without hesitation he walked right up to my husband and allowed him to pet him. What?

10ish  Time for bed. He has been sitting with my husband all evening watching tv. Yes, ok I took it a little personally, haha. I set up his crate in my bedroom all comfortable with pheromone spray and a light blanket over it to make it feel like a little den where he would be safe. Although he was hesitant I helped him in and he didn’t make a single peep. Still no pee, drinking, eating or poop.

3:00 AM Yes we had pee outside!