These last few weeks have been tough for Gracie. She lost not just her packmate but her brother/littermate. She had never known a day without him by her side.
She was having trouble going to sleep. She would just about get there then become restless and go searching the house. She stopped barking at every falling leaf. Now, she just warned us of the arrival of the UPS truck.
She broke house training. She would sneak off to a room and leave a puddle. Then, she would come back out and avoid both hoomans.
That meant a trip to the vet. She shook the whole way. She was frightened of the car, frightened by the trip, and frightened of the vet. Even the vet was concerned about her demeanor. She didn’t growl or snap. She crawled into a corner and shook.
We (including the vet) were pretty sure there was nothing physically wrong. And the testing showed that our hypothesis was correct.
So, what to do?
The answer was to take her to a place where she had NOT been with George. The closest we could come to that was our dirt road towards the wilderness areas. With two dogs off leash it was just too dangerous and we hadn’t done that for a few years.
This week we started taking her a little ways up that road. I trusted that she would come when we called her no matter what interested her. But we worried that she just wouldn’t care.
Boy, were we wrong.
The leash came off and Gracie took off like a racehorse. She came back every time she was called and then, when released, took off again.
I thought my heart would burst.
Today, I took the precaution of putting on her electric collar. (set on vibrate) and we turned her loose. Away she went at the speed of happy dog.
But what did she spy? What stopped her in her tracks?
I feared a snake (yeah, it’s winter and they aren’t out yet but who says you have to be rational!)
It was a miniature horse. He was quietly grazing right next to the fence.
She had only seen horses on tv. So, as she stared (and pointed, I might add) a low growl came from her throat. I had to remind her to come to me and she did. But she was not shaking. She was not frightened. She was just curious.
She took a second look (from the road) and decided that whatever the creature was, it wasn’t worth her time. She took off again.
There is a joy seeing long Cocker ears flapping as they run. I could have watched it all day.
She is on her way to discovering her own dogness. And it makes me so very happy.