The house feels so very quiet and calm despite the fact that all three kids are still here and we have a border collie puppy in residence. Without Gala, the energy is different. I dreamed about her last night waking at 3am with an uneasy feeling. I lay there imagining what she’s thinking, worrying about her tender heart, and sending up silent prayers that she would blossom in her new setting.
As has been the case for me of late, sleep did not return. I tossed and turned and debated getting up and cleaning something instead of wasting so much time growing more impatient at my inability to get back to sleep. And then I became absolutely sure I could hear the puppy crying downstairs.
I got up and crept through the dark, silent house and peeked in on Yang. She was lying alert in her crate, listening to me approach. She gave me a tentative tail wag, wondering what the heck I was doing up. “Good girl,” I told her and went back to bed to continue worrying over Gala until the sun finally came up and I went for my solo run.
For the last two weeks Gala’s move has been in the works. One thing or another has delayed it again and again, but finally yesterday she moved to Shannon’s house about an hour north of us. Shannon and her fiancé are young and active and have two big, friendly, well-trained dogs. They have a fenced yard and are experienced in using ecollars for training. They used an ecollar to successfully train another difficult-to-adopt-out OPH dog, helping her find her forever family after many months in foster care. My great hope is that they can take Gala the next step, too.
After over four months, Nick and I have come to the conclusion that we can’t take Gala any further in her training. She has come so far and we’re proud of that success. She needs to learn not to be afraid and reactive to other dogs. We can’t teach her that here since our personal dog, Gracie is afraid and reactive to other dogs. The two have been combustible since day one and even crated side by side and seeing each other every day their animosity has never stilled.
Gala also needs to learn to respect a fence and come when she is called. With no fence and the siren call of the horses here, it’s been impossible to work on either of those skills. The ecollar has helped immensely but I still fumble with it and have never felt confident in my ability to use it if a serious situation arose – like a dog fight or a loose Gala heading for the pasture.
In a quieter house, I’m hopeful that Gala will settle even more. She is an extremely sensitive and smart dog and our crowded, busy household with its stream of teenage guests and new dogs made her anxious and excitable. I think in a calm setting with a regular schedule and two well-behaved dogs to set the tone, Gala will thrive; her confidence will grow and her ability to trust with it.
Gala loved Shannon on sight and happily jumped in her car, always ready for an adventure. Shannon is smart and kind and eager to take on the challenge of this dog. We’ve agreed that I will hold a place here for her in case Gala can’t adapt to her new setting, but both Shannon and I are hopeful that she will.
Next week I send my daughter off to college and a few weeks later I send my oldest son across the Atlantic to study in Cyprus. Sending Gala to Shannon’s is kind of a tiny test run for my heart. Trusting them to be successful without me and knowing that it’s the best thing for them. All this good-bye saying is wearing on my soul.
Thank goodness that Yang is still here. This puppy is the definition of happiness. She is sweet beyond measure, sauntering across the grass with a happy gait, an ever-present smile on her face. She never runs out of kisses and loves every person she meets with an unconditional immediacy that is often missing in our world.
I’ve wondered over the last few weeks how such an amazing puppy hasn’t been adopted yet, but this morning I decided that everything happens for a reason. I need an enormously loving, well-behaved puppy right now and maybe the powers that be saw that coming.
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