I have to forewarn you that this past week hasn’t been terribly exciting. The progress with Daisy is only incremental and likely will stay that way. Again and again, I shake my head at the depth of pain this dog has endured. Her scars are deeper than any dog I’ve encountered.
It has been a month now since I picked up Daisy on a cold night at the bowling alley where she arrived on a transport from South Carolina.
And yet despite the fact, that during that first week of fevers, labor, delivery, and surgery, literally carrying her 60+ pound body in and out of cars, hospitals, and vet offices, she remains terrified of him.
She still will not take a treat (even chicken or beef liver or bacon) out of his hand and will wait until he is out of sight to eat any food he leaves for her. She scrambles to the other side of the kitchen if he or Ian comes in the room and panics if either of them approaches her. They have never raised a hand or voice to her, and go out of their way to never look at her directly.
I try not to think of what happened to this dog to create such a deeply embedded fear of men. There is not much more we can do but wait for the ties that bind it to her heart to loosen. Hopefully, we can cast a little doubt on her belief that all men are evil. It may take much longer than her time here, it may take a lifetime.
Meanwhile, we are waiting for her family to find her. Hoping there is someone out there who sees her face and hears her story and feels called to help this sweet pup.
What follows is the daily diary of Daisy that I post on my Facebook page. If you’d like to follow along in real time, you can find it here.
Diary of a Rescue Day 22:
Daisy had more energy and a lot more initiative today. She barks for me and wants to go out, despite the snow. She pulls a little on the leash when we are out wanting to lead instead of follow- quite a change.
Nick is still working hard to earn her trust, even lying on our kitchen floor for Daisy’s sake. The video below is from last night. This morning he was rewarded for his efforts because Daisy followed him around the kitchen, keeping her distance but approaching him when he was still and giving him a quick sniff.
Late this morning when Nick started up the tractor to clear our drive, I was outside with Daisy and she went into all-out panic mode, dragging me up the hill away. Apparently, tractors are also a part of her personal nightmare. We went for a walk around the pasture and returned later when the tractor was put away.
This girl. Sigh. I can tell that there is a fun, loving, mischievous girl hiding in there. It will be fun to see her emerge.
Diary of a (misbehaving) Rescue: Day 22 (evening):
Not sure if stealing and dismembering Nick’s shoe is a sign of affection or aggression….
Diary of a Rescue Day 23:
Daisy had a busy day of barking – at the horses outside, Flannery and Frankie playing in the living room, me not staying in the same room with her, and tonight at her reflection in the door. I take it as a good sign that she is investing in protecting us/her/her interests.
She definitely does not feel safe around the other dogs. Frankie was a brave volunteer who escaped frightened but unscathed by Daisy’s reaction to his presence in the same room. My guess is that she has had to defend herself and her puppies against other dogs and so does not trust them any more than men.
On the man front, she continues to be curious about Nick. He ignores her and she sneaks occasional investigations- sniffing him while he works at the counter or sits at the table. The new strategy is to let Daisy come to him on her terms.
She is revealing her playful and curious personality more and more each day. She will need a special adopter whose patience and love will be richly rewarded.
Diary of a Rescue Day 24:
Quiet day for Daisy. I was gone all day so she was relegated to the puppy room. Boy, was she happy to see me come home- leaping and twirling noisily and clumsily but very affectionately (there are a few adverbs for ya). I didn’t manage to get that on camera but I did catch this little ‘let-me-show-you-my-favorite bone episode. Such a sweet girl she is.
Diary of a Rescue Day 25:
Is it a good day if there’s nothing new to report? I think Daisy needs a slew of boring days so that she can realize that we are all boring, non-threatening people.
For the time being, Daisy is living her life in our kitchen interrupted by several walks outside with me. The most exciting part of her day is when Ian appears to eat. She is very leery of him and generally stays out of his way, barking in alarm if he moves too fast.
Otherwise, she entertains herself with chew toys and a big selection of bones. I’d be bored, but I guess for a dog, it’s not a bad life.
It is probably just about time to list her on the website as adoptable, although I have no illusions that there will be a rush of adopters.
I wish she wasn’t afraid of my little pack because they are curious about her. It’s not an issue I’m willing to push through, so we have resigned ourselves to living in a gated community.
Diary of a Rescue Day 26:
Today Daisy appeared on the OPH website as ‘adoptable’ even though I don’t anticipate a big rush of adopters. It’s the first step. I’m hoping her story or her beautiful face will touch someone and they’ll decide they want to give this sweet dog the life she so deserves.
While I realize it might not be an easy adoption in some ways, in others I imagine it will be. Daisy is full of love and ready to launch it on her person. Her devotion is strong and deep. She spends her days waiting for me to come back to the kitchen and does a happy dance, twirling and leaping when I do. Then she follows me around the room, pressed to my side, eager for my attention.
I’m pretty sure her adopter will need to be a woman. I haven’t seen Daisy around children yet, but they might be okay for her too. And she’ll need to be an only, as, like men, other dogs seem to bring out nightmares for her.
Another OPHer said to me once, “I do wonder about their stories, but in some ways it’s probably better we don’t know.” Daisy’s scars run deep and yet, there must be a woman someone in South Carolina who showed her love. This. Dog.
Diary of a Rescue Day 27:
I feel like Daisy is making progress in many ways but not when it comes to men. That fear just goes too deep. She is still terrified of Ian, even though he is the only one feeding her this week (Nick is out of town) and today he slipped her some leftover cheesesteak and eggs (both of which she waited until he left the room to eat).
Her coat is looking better and I think her eyes are brighter. Today she pulled the blanket covering her dog crate off three times, removing it every time I put it back, so I guess she no longer wants to hide so much. Her little bat cave used to be the safe space but today she spent a lot more time out and about or snoozing on her dog bed.
#Babysteps #togetherwerescue #anothergooddog
Diary of a Rescue Day 28:
Most days when I come back to the kitchen after spending a portion of my day in the office, Daisy is so excited to see me that she spins and jumps. Of course, when I try to catch it on camera this time she was just waking up and not super energetic (yet), but you can see that she’s learned the command, ‘Sit.’ It’s a start!
This girl is just such a love. A lot less barking today. I think she’s realized that it doesn’t accomplish much since it no longer brings me running and I’ve given up telling her to be quiet.
I hope she finds an adopter before I leave at the end of the month for the OPH Rescue Road Trip. I’m already stressing how we’ll handle that if she’s still here and still holding fast to her fears of the guys. It’s been a month now so I’m pretty sure that will be the case. She has a whole new worry to add tomorrow when Brady arrives home for Spring Break. Gonna be a tough week for this pup since Brady being here will likely mean a few more guys will turn up.
Thanks for reading!
If you’d like to know more about the book, Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs, visit AnotherGoodDog.org, where you can find more pictures of the dogs from the book (and some of their happily-ever-after stories), information on fostering, the schedule of signings, and what you can do right now to help shelter animals! You can also purchase a signed copy or several other items whose profits benefit shelter dogs!
If you’d like to know how you can volunteer, foster, adopt or donate with OPH, click here. And if you’d like more pictures and videos of my foster dogs past and present, be sure to join the Another Good Dog Facebook group.
One last thing! I will be leading a group of eight volunteers on a week-long trip to volunteer in some of the shelters we work with in North and South Carolina. We will be posting stories, pictures and video of our adventure. You can see all of it by following our Facebook page, OPH Rescue Road Trip. We promise to share the dogs we meet, the heroes we help, and the reality of shelters in the rural south. It may not always be easy to see, but hopefully it will also inspire you to help the many, many dogs in need. And if you’re so inclined, you can support us with donations through our Road Trip Fundraiser.
Released August 2018 from Pegasus Books and available now