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Introducing my new girl...

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It’s been a few years now since I’ve frequented the boards here.  I lost my beloved Jill a year ago last month—a loss I continue to grieve, and typing this, emotions that surface are raw. My little Bing dog, the sole remaining survivor from my original pack of 5, and the only non-herding breed member, still provides his magical anti-depressant powers (I refer to him as my little Prozac)... especially helping me weather many dark days over the course of the pandemic—he has been my salvation.

For a long time I was on the fence about acquiring another border collie, vacillating back and forth.  Periodically I would peek at rescue websites and Craig’s List for potential candidates. Last Spring I was approved and first in line to adopt a lovely young adult female, but the timing was bad. I had already committed to fostering a reactive young sheltie mix who was scheduled for spay surgery, so I didn’t feel up to taking on both simultaneously.  Over the past year I had made around half a dozen inquiries, all having been adopted out by the time of my contact. Well, long story short, 3 weeks ago today, I drove two hours to Phoenix and came home with this little cutie. I had promised myself I wasn’t going to take on another “project”, having previously acquired two dogs with significant aggression issues, and another with major fear/socialization issues, all of whom lived out their entire lives with me. This time I just wanted a happy, well-adjusted, uncomplicated hiking companion (Bing has many wonderful qualities, but trail dog is not one of them!)  My new girl, now christened Mouche, (phonetic pronunciation, Moosh-- like a lush slurring “Moose”) did not fall into that desirable personality profile. Like many of us, I have a type--petite and pointy and at 26lbs she checks those boxes.  She definitely needs some groceries.  I find myself singing Boney Maroney to her.  When I arrived at the shelter at opening (first come, first serve) and she was brought into the small play yard for our meet and greet, she just couldn’t bring herself to engage with any human.  She paced the fence line, avoided interaction (I initially sat very still and didn’t apply pressure her), moved furtively, ignored high value treats and generally wouldn’t acknowledge my presence nor that of any of the shelter attendants. Inquiring about her background, I learned she had been at the shelter for over a month and a half, she was an owner surrender, was about a year and a half old, and had spent the first week plus at the shelter cowering under her bed.  Though there had been a lot of prior interest in her, there were no takers, likely due to her inability to engage.  This shelter does no adoption screening.  I was not asked a single question about the suitability of my home-- you plunk down your money and you take home your dog--I just couldn’t leave her there. I figured if she wasn’t an acceptable fit in my house (and Bing would have final approval) then I would do what I could to re-hab and re-home her to an appropriate situation via the local rescue I volunteer for.

That first day as soon as we arrived home, I took her for a long walk to expend some of her anxious energy. She tried to cower in the drainage ditches and crawl into the culverts, and then flattened herself onto the street. Without facing her I continued to walk forward, gently urging her on. She was like a fly on a string. Then I introduced her into my segregated smaller fenced area within the larger fenced yard where she cowered frozen against the fence. Within 72 hours she was seeking me out for attention and affection.  I waited a few days to introduce her to Bing other than through a baby gate or the fence, to give her time to decompress.  Within moments of their first face to face, she play-bowed and it was on. Her progress has far surpassed my expectations!  Now, though she is still timid and often furtive, she dances at the door when I ask her if she wants to go for a walk, puts herself to bed in her crate at night and greets me with a wagging tail and joyful expression every morning. She is somewhat reactive to other people we occasionally see on the street while walking, but I’m sure as her confidence improves this will resolve.     Meet Mouche: Day 1 and Day 3




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Great intro, Nancy, and thanks for saving Mouche (love the name!).  Bing just might be her spirit guide for a while, what a cool picture of them on Day 3.  I look forward to hearing more of your progress with Mouche!


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Patience and love are working miracles with Mouche; she could not have found a better home!  She is a beautiful dog and bless you for taking the chance and now reaping the reward!

Hopefully the two of you will have many happy years together!

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  • 5 months later...

It's hard to believe Mouche has been with me for 6 months already! We've become great pals and she clearly feels right at home.   When I brought her home from the shelter in Feb, she was skeletal-- her coat dull, dry and brittle. She's filled out nicely to I'd guess about 30lbs, and her coat looks shiny and lustrous. She always makes me laugh with her antics. She pulls a toy of choice out of the toy basket or the jolly ball in the yard and amuses herself until exhausted (temporarily!).  One of her favorite amusements is "hockey". She has a disk shaped nylabone about the size and shape of a rounded-edged hockey puck.  She'll proceed to play with it on the tile floor, grabbing it in her teeth and tossing it in the air, then batting it around with her paws until it eventually disappears under the furniture-game over. When she gets zoomies"  (I encourage her, exhorting her "It's time for zoomies! when she starts acting like she's ready to jump out of her skin and begins to pester Bing)she's so comical cause she'll race around the yard and then dash inside the porch, through the dog door into the house, run a circuit around the sofa, then back out the dog door, out the porch door and around the yard again.  She loves it when I ask her " Mouchie, is it cuddle time?". She responds, tail wagging wildly with excitement and anticipation, as she races me to the dining room where I haul out the massive dog bed that fits us both. I've barely gotten it to the floor before she flops down on it where we spoon and I give her a neck massage and her eyes close, squinty with delight. If I stop, she bumps my hand with her muzzle or grabs it with her paws to signal "more, please"...the oxytocin flows!   She and Bing have bonded nicely. He was dubious at first after the initial excitement wore off, but especially within the last couple of months he is on board, and they amuse themselves with games of bitey-face ...until he's done and she isn't and I have to act as referee and tell her to go lie in her crate.  Mouche has been an apt pupil, but is still a work in progress when it comes to her people skills.  I swore I wasn't going to get another "project" but...here I am again.  Her reactivity is still on full display at home when I have guests. She's a bit better out in public, but we still have a ways to go.  We've had some very nice play dates with savvy owners and their dogs at their homes.  It's been difficult finding time and appropriate people/circumstance to work with this behavior due to Covid and the summer heat. Now that her basic obedience foundation is decent, I'll sign her up for a class so we have more opportunity for the right kind of exposure. Her obedience, manners  and trick training are coming along nicely. I've been using a long-line on our morning walks and working with her on whistle training for a solid recall at distance.  She's so funny, when I stop walking and ask for "heel" when she's out on the long line, if she offers me a sloppy sit (not in heel position), I need only look at her and wait and she'll scoot herself into the proper position and look up at me for praise and the intermittent treat. I don't always insist on a constant heel position.  I just want it to be there when it's needed. Well, I've rambled long enough so here are some recent snaps of Mouche and Bing is in there as well.


Mouche vines.jpeg



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