It’s officially Friday Eve, woohoo!
This week has felt especially long to me, and I still have much to accomplish today and tomorrow, so it doesn’t quite feel like the weekend is anywhere near. I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that big things are brewing in the Benitez household. I am close to being able to share what we have going on, which I believe is a large reason behind me being super tired and this week feeling like it is dragging.
Today I thought I’d change things up a bit and continue a mini-series I started awhile back. As you may know from following along on this blog, I am a proud mama to three rescue animals. Animal rescue is a huge passion of mine, which I think compliments my desire to reduce my footprint on Earth and the environment. I’ve shared Rooney’s story (here) and Basie’s story (here), but I have yet to introduce you to my miracle pup, Piper.
Without further ado…
Piper is Rooney’s littermate, though she did not come into our lives until later. She was adopted before Rooney, and a whole year passed before we met this special pooch. We were coming up on our one year adoption anniversary with Rooney, when I was catching up with our family friend who was part of Rooney’s foster family and she mentioned that one of his sisters had been surrendered back to them. It was something about the little boy in the dog’s adopted family having an allergy.
Benny and I had discussed at length how we’d never find another Rooney, and how we’d eventually like to get him a playmate. I went and met the dog and made the decision that we had to have her. I normally never make such impulsive decisions, but we were four months from the wedding and two weeks from moving into our apartment, and I think I was a little out of sorts.
We named the gorgeous pup Piper. We were in for a slightly rude awakening, as she was (and still isn’t) anywhere near as easy to care for as Rooney. For starters, she was so nervous and absolutely terrified of Benny. She had to come to me for me to be able to pet her, and I don’t think Benny was able to pet her much at all. She would not eat around people. I had to put her food in a bowl in the kitchen and then leave the room. As she ate, she would come look at me to make sure I was not coming back before she’d take her next bite.
It was quite stressful at first, and each time Benny came home, Piper would have an accident…she was that scared. About a week into having her, we decided to take her to a pet store for the first time. Rooney always loves going out and about and visiting people, so we figured we’d get her into the same groove.
It was horrible. Absolutely horrible.
Piper shook violently when a dog trainer tried to help us size her for a harness, and when we were getting ready to leave, Benny and Rooney got too far ahead of us. Piper freaked out, somehow shimmied out of her collar and ran into the busy parking lot. Benny chased after her, which frightened her more. Finally I just got into the backseat of the car, opened all the doors, and gently called to her until she tentatively made her way into the car.
I cried the whole way home.
The way she looked in that parking lot….so scared and unfamiliar to humans. I had this feeling in my stomach that something wasn’t right.
Fast forward a few weeks to our new apartment. Benny was home on a lunch break to let the dogs out, and when he went to try and get Piper in her crate things went south. She was running from him, and finally he cornered her and went to grab her, and she snapped at him. This incident, the night she got loose in the parking lot, and the fact that the vet said she exhibited behavior of an abused animal helped me come to the decision that we had to get a better grip on the situation.
We enrolled Piper into a six week obedience course, and Benny attended every session with her to build their bond. The poor girl was terrified every class. She would not let the trainer get anywhere near her. Each week we’d go home though, and she’d execute the commands we learned flawlessly. We had to video record her each lesson to show the trainer she was learning the tasks in order for Piper to pass the class and get her certificate. It was not always fun, but getting Piper away from Rooney for an hour each week and building her trust in us was the right decision.
We have had Piper for ten months now, and we cannot imagine life without her. She is still nervous in public and around strangers; however, she is a dime! She greets Benny at the door each evening and kisses his face, she is an amazing leash walker, and every night she burrows underneath our covers and sleeps cuddled up to us. She’s proven to be great with my nieces and nephews, and she especially adores my niece, Dayla, who is only two and a half and a little timid around most dogs.
Piper is no Rooney. She is her own fun and playful type of pup, and despite her hound-like tendencies, she has grown close with our cat, Basie. Piper is our little miracle pupper. We don’t know the truth about why she was surrendered, or what her first year of life was like…the vet and her trainer both hint at perhaps she was kicked around and neglected. We’ve got her eating high quality food now, so her coat has turned quite glossy and beautiful; we love on her constantly, and now she will just crawl up on our laps; and we continue to work with her, so that she grows more comfortable.
Ten months has made a world of difference, and each month that goes by, I see improvement. An older gentleman at one of our training classes looked at me one night and said as he motioned towards Piper, “That dog will be the best dog you ever have. You know nothing about what she’s been through, but once you’ve got her trust, she will be the most loyal creature you’ve ever known.”
I think he’s right.
Have you ever seen an animal blossom from shy and nervous to playful and confident?