Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Day 21 - First Hike

Three weeks and what a crazy, fast, rewarding and challenging three weeks it has been.. and worth every minute of it!  There has been so much laughter and compassion towards this little lady as she went on her first hike this past weekend.  I met my friend, Stacie and her dogs at Moss Rock Preserve.  At first she was very hesitant and would lay down on the ground, not moving an inch... I immediately thought to myself.. 'oh no'.. this hike is going to take FOREVER!!

Laying down on the ground seems to be a common tactic she uses when scared or unsure of a situation... There is nothing I can do when this happens. I have learned that baby talking, petting or any attention just encourages her to stay still longer..

So when this dreaded moments happen while on leash, I find that standing still, calm and quietly will give her enough time to assess the situation and trust that it will be okay and just like that she stands up and starts to walk again.

Small challenges throughout each day seem to work best as it builds confidence in her ability to make decisions when faced with unfamiliar territory.

My friend Stacie has been very supportive and encouraging with Millie's recovery and I really see how Stacie being there, socializing Millie with her own dogs and taking part with activities such as hiking and playing have helped tremendously!

It was through quiet observation that Millie saw playing could be fun. She would sit and watch the other dogs running, chewing and playing and then it happened.. Out of nowhere.. She went into play stance and the other dogs welcomed her with love.

I felt a sense of pride as she ran circles and shared with us her carefree side.  It was such a joy to watch and I could see in her face that this was the most fun she has had in a long while.. If ever.

Now when I pick up the leash, she associates this with 'fun' , 'walks' and 'adventure'.. as she becomes excited to learn where will she be going to explore next.

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