Monday, September 7, 2015

Walks With Zoey

Zoey has some of the same fear her mommy, Spot has. Couple that with the medical issues I was having when I should have been socializing her, and I thought for sure that she wasn't ever going to be a normal dog. She's been all over the northwest, but I've mostly steered her away from strange people and animals until we could work on that more, and we just started the last couple months.

But she has her mommy's intelligence, and she wasn't an abused puppy mill dog like her mommy. A few months ago when we finally started our training, I could see it click when she understood what "Zoey, come here" meant. I could see it click when she realized that walking with the leash meant that we both have to walk at the same speed.

And on our walk today, we walked by several screaming children on bicycles and a large, yellow, Labrador. One of the little girls on her bike said "hiiiii doooogggggiiieeee" as she zoomed by. Zoey, looked at the girl, looked at me, and I could see that it clicked. It's safe because the big, burly dude with the shades is giving her all the subtle body gestures that she's safe. She's safe because the man says she's safe.

Recently I reminded a younger sibling of one of my favorite quotes:

"Courage isn't the absence of fear, but the mastery of it."

So, I am helping Zoey master her fear. Years ago, I had to replace our front door. When my 10 year old step-daughter saw that the door comes out with a reciprocating saw in less time than it would take to unlock it, she said "If the locks or even the doors aren't keeping us safe, then what is keeping us safe? How are we safe?" to which I replied "I am keeping you safe."

Now that it's hopefully clicked with Zoey that our walks are safe, I'm hoping we can just continue the forward progress. After our encounter with the big family, she was giddy on the way back home. She was actually prancing.

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