Wednesday, April 22, 2015

My Shadow Has 4 legs and Barks at Everything

Being kept up at night by barking dogs was not an unusual thing in the apartment complex we were in. Most of the time, little yippy type dogs were all over the place and constantly barking up a storm. But when a dog barked from 7pm until 7am, with a bigger deeper bark than normal, I couldn't fall asleep. I posted statuses about how I was going to have to talk to someone about keeping their dog quiet at night, how some of us were trying to sleep. Little did I know those barks would change my future, forever.

I came home from work one night, around 10, to find the source of the barking, a medium sized black dog who had no collar that I could see, and was terrified of everything. I tried to coax it over to me, and failed, the dog ran into the night and wasn't seen that night - although it was heard.

The next night was the same thing. I even had peanut butter to offer this time. And again, I pushed too far and wound up scaring the dog into the night.

But I didn't hear barking that night. Or the next.

The first picture I have of her!
I started to get worried that maybe something had happened to the poor thing. Hoping it had just found its way home.

Then the dog showed up once more. Armed with a slip lead from work, 12 cans of Pedigree, a small bag of Ol Roy (I ran back out to Walmart when I heard the dog again), a squeaky toy, a small jar of peanut butter, and a whole lot of determination, I even managed to get Tristan involved in capturing the dog.

5 hours later, the sun is starting to come up, I've chased the poor thing all around the parking lots, people have asked me to shut my dog up and I've explained that it's actually been quiet for most of the night dealing with me, and it's not mine. I heard people threaten to shoot it if I ever let it out, or bark, again. I knew what I had to do. Even Tristan gave up, and decided to go to bed, leaving me with a dog to capture on my own.

Eventually, both of us exhausted, she rolled onto her side, and let me put the slip lead over her neck. She fought with me for a minute, before willingly following me back to the apartment. We immediately threw her in the spare bathroom for a scrub, and doused her with Dawn. There were no fleas (we have no idea how that happened), but several ticks that we spent the next few days trying to pick off of her.

Our plan was to wait until Monday (I caught her Saturday night), and call the rescue I worked with at Petsmart and release her to them.

 The dog hated Tristan, right from the start. She wouldn't go anywhere near him. But within minutes of coming inside was attached to me. I kept tripping over her. She wouldn't leave my side, we joked that she was my little shadow. Then he started calling her Shadow. Within hours, she was overly attached to me, and had a name.

I didn't work that weekend. Neither did he. We decided to keep her by Sunday, realizing she was housebroken, trainable, and not going to fare well in a shelter, especially after becoming so attached to me. To be honest, I had already gotten attached to her. We had been talking about getting a dog, and were discussing getting an adult dog from a shelter in the next few months, I was already on the hunt, and she just fell into our lap.

Monday she came to work with me, we asked the vets to look her over, explaining we still weren't 100% sure we would keep her. (He wasn't, I was.) and they offered a discount on the service because of it. It turned out, I had a 8ish month old, Black Lab mix, who, aside from being covered in ticks two days ago, nails that were just too long, and being scared out of her mind, seemed perfectly healthy.

Shadow was a big fighting point between Tristan and I, he constantly pushed me to get rid of her, especially as we realized she was more my dog. When he said he wanted a dog, he really wanted a dog that would be like his Aussie at home. One that had bonded completely to him, and listened to him without fail, and he could train, to outshine me.

But Shadow ran from him. Growled at him. Barked at him constantly, it took him 3-4 weeks of constant treating and babying for him to even pet her. Looking back, that should have been my first sign.

But my girl stayed with us. When Tristan and I fought, she'd wrap herself around my head, preventing him from cuddling with me. She'd let me cry to her when I needed to, and was taking easily to training. We just couldn't take her anywhere. We brought her to Petsmart, and she just barked. After a few weeks of doing this constantly, she was starting to get better, but only if I was around. She had made friends with the Vets, so when I was at work, if they were going to be open the whole time, she came with me. She'd get to play with other dogs, and with other people, and I got to know she was safe while I was at work. Shadow was already my baby.

I had no idea the impact this dog would have on my life. She came home with me, as Tristan couldn't have cared less about her, and adjusted almost immediately, with few incidences (the few we had were more annoying/funny than harmful). Her training has fallen back a little, as she sees other dogs get away with things she never would have in a million years if it were just the two of us, and I haven't had the time to really work with her. She still is socially very anxious, but I'm hoping to really hammer through a lot of that this summer.

This 4-legged Shadow of mine has been just what I needed more often than not. She hasn't been away from my side for more than a few days in 3 years now. She's saved my life more times than I can count, as she's defended me against dogs, and people. She's my little guard dog, who'd sooner run behind me if someone were to really break in, and my loud obnoxious barky butt. I can't imagine a life without her, and I really hope I never have to for long. She is indeed one of the best things that has ever happened to me. She's got her quirks, but so does her mom, so we make quite the pair in my opinion.