Saturday, November 25, 2017

Maggie, Six Months Later

A letter from Maggie (formerly Allie-the-dog) to Langley Animal Protection Society

Dear LAPS,

Hi! Remember me?  I was Allie and you took me in last spring.  It's been six months since my Mama Jean adopted me, and she said I should tell you how I'm doing.

It was pretty scary coming to a new home, but I soon learned to trust my new mama, and liked being in the house and garden with her. But other people scared me and new places made me nervous and  I was still a bit confused about why I wasn't going back to my old home where I used to live with my other mama.

Mama Jean says during the first four months she seldom saw a sheltie sparkle in my eye or a sheltie prance in my step except for rare moments when I got silly in the privacy of my home. Most of the time I was really quiet and reserved and hid away in Mama's bedroom as much as possible. On walks, I froze like a statue or hid behind mama whenever people approached.   If they had a dog, I would cautiously let the dog approach to say hi to me, as long as the human didn't look at me or bend down or talk to me.  I didn't play, I didn't run, I didn't bark (unless someone was coming into my house or yard and then I became frantic with barking and running).

I waz tryin' to figure out my new world
and wonderin' where my old mama was.
In the fall,  this began to change.  In September we went away to the Sunshine Coast for a week.  At first I was afraid I was losing my home again. The cottage we stayed at was nice enough, but it wasn't home and nothing smelled familiar. It was by the ocean though, so I got lots of walks on the beach just like I do at home.'s a beach, but it's not MY beach! 
Then one day we got in the car again, and on a ferry again, and I could tell we were heading home. I was so exhausted from having to be hyper-alert all week that I fell fast asleep on the ferry and when I woke up - I was home! Back at my new home, with my Mama Jean. And I never looked back.

From there, Mama says I grew by leaps and bounds - I guess that means I leapt and bounded a lot.  I started voluntarily approaching dogs on our walks - now they are all my  friends.  And I started walking right past strangers without stopping or hiding or even hesitating most times. On my Friday hikes with mom and our friends Pat and the poms, I began approaching Pat all by myself - especially when I saw her hand go to the treat bag!  I do love my treats!

Whatcha got there, Auntie Pat?

In the house now I always bug mom to play with me.  I bark at mom to get her to chase me - I fly around, onto the couch, onto the bed, through the kitchen, back to the much fun!  Play, play, play! Now we're talking!

Speaking of talking, I know how to talk.  Mama says I must have some northern dog in my ancestry, because she's never heard a dog talk as much as I do except for northern breeds.  We have long conversations about life and why I mustn't chase the cat and which species is the smartest - dogs, cats, or humans?  Oh, and Mama taught me to play with my treat ball and my wobble treat tower - did I mention I love treats?

Sometimes I use mah nose....

And sometimes I use mah paw!

Oh, and the C.A.T.  - the one that has my old name, Allie.  I am still learning not to chase her, at least not too much or too seriously - mostly I just herd her now. We actually get along pretty good, though mama doesn't leave us alone together 'just in case'.  I have been known to nip a few mouthfuls of fur from her hind quarters if given the chance.  Oops.

See?  I'm not chasin' her at all!
I'm just looking.
Mama says I am a really good-natured sheltie, and I even let her put silly costumes on me - like this frog one she made me wear for a Hallowe'en photo.


And in the last couple of weeks?  I am happy happy happy!  You can see it in my face in these pictures mom took on our hikes.  We go on lots of hikes.

One morning last week we went to the beach, as we always do in the morning, and when Roly, a neighbour's dog, started running back and forth into the water for a ball, I started playing too!  I barked and barked a happy sheltie bark, and I chased Roly, and I even went into the water which I didn't do even on the hottest days of summer!  My mama was so excited to see me play with another dog - I'm not sure who had a bigger smile, me or her!

Mama didn't video that, but she did take a video a couple of days later of me.  My tummy clock was early, and I know that when the C.A.T. hops up on the buffet where she is fed and starts meowing loudly, I will get fed too.  So I tried to get the cat off the back of the loveseat (I'm talking to her, not growling at her in case you wondered).  When she said she wasn't hungry, I tried a different tactic - getting mama to take me for my afternoon walk, as I sometimes get fed right after that.  So, as you can see, I'm a pretty smart dog and a pretty normal sheltie! Here's part of the video of me manipulating Mama into feeding me early:

I'm still not happy having strangers in my space,  but I'm getting used to it. The other night we had some friends over for dinner and I hung around all evening instead of hiding in the bedroom like I usually choose to do.  Of course, this might have had something to do with my wishful thinking that I might get five plates to lick clean instead of just one - though it turned out their meal was stuff I'm allergic too so I didn't even get one plate - now how fair is that?

Oh, yeah, my allergies.  My eyes and ears are all better and my skin is a lot better now that I'm always on my special foods.  Mama even keeps a jar of my special treats in the kitchen and whenever I start barking at some noise outside, or when she wants me to take a pill, or when I'm pestering the cat, she just says "On your mat!" and I run to the mat in the kitchen and get a treat!

I still get some rashes on my belly as I'm also allergic to grasses and stuff, but my mama and my vet take good care of me and I go to the doggy spa once a month and quite like how my bath and grooming make me feel.  I'm also on special meds for my thyroid and for arthritis, and no longer tire out or get a limp on our walks.  In fact, I love, love, love my hikes with mom and our friends now.  And I love riding in the car (I always wear my seatbelt!). And I love my morning walks on the beach and my evening walks around town.  I guess you could say I love life!

And Mother Nature even made all the leaves
match my colours! 
So, I think that is about all the news.  Six months - a half a year in people time, about three and a half years in dog time.   My mama says I have gone from Velveteen Sheltie to a Real Sheltie.  I'm not sure what that means, but it has something to do with Love.

I wonder if this velveteen sheltie will
become a Real  Sheltie too?

Your friend, Maggie.


Marie said...

HI, Maggie, thanks for the update on how you are feeling about your new home. How nice that you yourself, figured out how kind your Mama Jean is and how she loves to see doggies happy. You look so good in your pictures and I look forward to future postings by you, have a great doggy day.

Dom said...

Aw, Maggie... how wonderful you've come out of your shell. said...

Oh Jean that is so heartwarming!

Black Jack's Carol said...

Maggie, you have come along beautifully under the loving care of your new Mama. Each step/photo along the way represented hours and hours, I know, of patience and trust on both sides. Neither of you were quite sure how things would turn out, but look at you now! A real Sheltie with verbal skills to boot. :)