3-25-12: Six month old Emma arrived today, safe and sound after an exhuasting and terrifying journey. We knew nothing about her, but the volunteers at RAGOM had a team of vets waiting for the entire crew. The gals were triaged upon arrival in the Twin Cities early Sunday morning. To say that she's frightened is a gross understatement. The only way to get her to come out of her crate is to leave the room and let our foster Molly, and resident Rudy, work their magic. Both big dogs are gentle and patient with her. In fact, since she's only been around other dogs, her comfort lies in the presence of Rudy and Molly. She hides from people with her nose in the back corner of her crate. Molly sleeps near her and watches her with a look of empathy and concern. Rudy lords over the two of them from his perch on the couch.
3-26-12: Emma won't eat, but she did finally take a drink of water this morning. I was so happy to see her getting at least something in her system.
3-27-12: Sweet Emma loves to play chase and wrestle with the big dogs. She's mastered the stairs and enjoys being outside. She follows Rudy and Molly everywhere. Craig and I picked her up and sat with her tonight. She let us pet her, but her little heart was beating a mile a minute and her muscles were very tense. We will do this for short stints several times a day so that she gets used to us. We also put our worn t-shirts in her crate so that she can get to know our smell. At this point, it's extremely important to let her come to us. Positive reinforcement only.
3-28-12: Emma is still a flight risk, which is common for gals like her. She walks around the yard with a trailing leash on, for her own safety. She's eating and drinking like a champ, and has even decided to explore a bit.
3-29-12: Big day today! Craig and I hauled Emma to the vet for a wellness exam. She checked out beautifully and is in great health. Since some of her litter mates were diagnosed with ear mites and whip worms, she was treated for both as a precaution, even though all tests came back negative. Better safe than sorry. She's currently resting in her safe place (her crate). I'm sure she's exhausted.
3-30-12: Emma went to see our fabulous groomer. She had a bath, trim and brush, and ear cleaning. We can tell that she feels much better, both physically and emotionally. She's still scared of people, but she's making progress.
3-31-12: We had an impromtu backyard BBQ tonight, and Emma did great! She played with the other dogs until everyone was worn out. At one point, I picked her up and put her in my lap, gently petting her. Though it took a while, her body finally relaxed. Baby steps.
4-1-12: Emma is now taking treats from our hands, and coming in and out of her crate on her own (we leave the door open when we're home). She has learned her name and knows that only good things come from people. She's still skittish, but that's better than terrified.
4-2-12: Wow! This morning, Emma made leaps and bounds! She explored the entire house on her own, played in the backyard (complete with a case of the zoomies) and wrestled with Rudy. She even found her voice today, and we couldn't be happier. Her barking and howling shows that she's becoming more confident. She still has a long way to go, but the puppy in Emma is really starting to emerge. We've discovered that she loves to hoard anything she can find. Yesterday, while I was sorting socks, she slowly came close, gently took a sock out of the basket, and then proudly pranced away to her crate. Later, when she was playing with Rudy, I went to retrieve the sock. Much to my surprise, I discovered a pile of things: Two more socks, a balled up paper bag, two dish cloths, a match box car, and a dollar bill. Plus, she had several stuffed toys and a ball in there (she's allowed to have the ball and toys, just not our things). She was obviously counter surfing when I wasn't paying attention.
4-3-12: I was rewarded with gentle licks and sniffs again today. We wanted Emma to have some play time without us scaring her, so Craig invented the perfect toy. He drilled a hole in a tennis ball, attached some rubber to the rope, and tied it to the tree at "dog" level. It was a hit! She spends lots of time chasing it, batting it, and tugging it. Murray and I like to sit outside and watch. She's pure entertainment, this girl!
She's still pretty camera shy, so it's hard to get a good picture.
Rudy and Emma. Emma really felt the need for some comfort, so she linked paws with Rudy.
**I am a volunteer for Retrieve A Golden of Minnesota. I was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.**