Things about Sheba that make me sad:
Sheba will be six years old on June 25th, at least according to her rescue records, and she will have been with us for a year and a half. I do not know a lot about dogs, just the dogs that we have had. Sometimes I wonder if she misses or missed her puppies. We know that when she was rescued she had recently given birth and was still recovering, but there were no puppies mentioned in the rescue and sixteen dogs were rescued. We do not know if that was her first litter or not, we do not know if it was a puppy mill or not. I just wonder sometimes if she misses them.
Although she lets Roger pet her, in fact she begs to be petted, she still leaves a room when he comes into it, will not eat if he is in the room, and backs up to me, or backs into my office if he approaches. We both share in walking her, she generally needs to be walked three times a day. I had shoulder surgery in early April and could not walk her and my husband did it every time, getting up early to get her out, and feeding her.
I think I have finally figured out that she will approach him when he is sitting whether at the table, at his computer or on the couch. It is when he is on his feet and moving, approaching her on foot or entering a room that she is most likely to run. He noticed that if he approaches her from either side, approaching from the right she is less likely to bolt than if he is approaching from her left. Vision? or Past experience?
Truthfully, I think that his caring for her totally while I was recovering from surgery helped her to be less wary of him, but it is still sad that despite a year and a half of a good and easy life, her past and past abuse seems to haunt her. There are occasions when she will seem afraid for no apparent reason, although I think that happens less often now.
She continues to be wary of strangers and although we need some opportunities to help her get socialized, the COVID-19 Quarantine has limited her opportunity to be exposed to our friends.
Things about Sheba that amaze me: Sheba gets “good girl” treats when we walk her and she has done what a good dog does. It is rare that she doesn’t cooperate on a walk. One thing that amazes me is how gently and carefully she takes the treats from our hands.
When we first got her, she did not seem to know what her nose was for, but now when she gets outside she seems to take great delight in sniffing every possible blade of grass. Every.
Despite her sad history, we learned last summer that Sheba
likes, loves being outside. When my husband is working in the yard or the garage, she will hang out in the yard with him, on a tie out rope. She has a good length so she can move around, he makes sure she has water.
How can I possibly know that she loves being outside? She will get up when I approach and is happy to have me fuss over her a bit, but then she returns to her cozy spot in the grass. Even shaking her food dish so that she can hear the food move around in her dish, is not enough to entice her back inside the house. Perhaps that is good for my ego; there is something that she loves more than me!
She also loves being on the front porch and seems happy to watch people, dogs and cars come and go, or just suns herself.
Even though we have “invited her” she will not get on the couch or any other furniture. She is well spoiled with dog beds, but I think she could be really comfortable up there with us and curl up between us and get petted, or just snuggle. She does like close physical contact.
She does not bark! except in her sleep. It is cute and I appreciate it. We have neighbors with yappy, barky dogs who will bark at anything or anyone that moves. They have terrorized Sheba. She is bigger than they are but they scare her.
All that being said, one day Sheba startled me and scared me a bit. She jumped up from her bed, ran to the other side of the room to the rear window and barked loudly, slamming into the window. I thought she was going through the window. She ran around the dining room panting, went from window to window and back again, barking and slamming into the window. There was a rabbit in her yard!
Things about Sheba that make me smile:
When we go upstairs at night for bed, she races ahead of me and then turns around on the landing to look at me. I think she looks at me with a “grandmother” kind of face and to make sure that I am actually following her, even though I am the one who started upstairs.
I take foolish, chances and take advantage of her stopping there to reach out and pet her face to face, while I am standing about 3 steps below her. That is fine as long as I don’t lose my balance, but it has become a nightly ritual.
She follows me or waits on me. When I am washing dishes, she will straddle the kitchen doorway until I am done. She will wait for me a discreet distance away when I am in the bathroom.
Perhaps like other dogs, or our other dogs, Sheba likes routine. She gets a dental treat at noon, supper at 5:00 p.m. and a rawhide treat at 7:30. Sometimes she seems to be able to tell time, other time it just seems like wishful thinking.
Odds and Ends
Please do not think that I never get annoyed at her, pastor, yes; saint, no. She can be very pushy and annoying when she wants something and can seem to put her entire weight into her face that she uses to push my hand. Since she gets walked three times a day, I really try to space it so it doesn’t turn into 4 times, unless the need seems great.
She is stubborn if she wants to go in one direction and not in another. She is very easily distracted, if she sees a person, or another dog, or hears a blade of grass rustle, she will forget why she was outside in the first place.
Did I say that she is afraid of small children? With the schools closed due to COVID-19, she was happy to walk around the whole perimeter of the school yard. But if kids are playing in the play ground, once she hears their voices, she will do a 180 and strain on the leash to go back the way we came.
I did say earlier that she can be annoying? Around 8:00 p.m. or a bit later, when I should have left my office and computer, she will come to get me. Pushing my hands away from the keyboard, as though she were a sheep dog and I were her sheep. She likes us all to be in the living room together in the evening, even though she will not join us on the couch. Annoying, but wise.
Misty, our Beagle adored my husband. She would often sit against him on the couch, throw her head back and look up at him and I wondered what that felt like. She never did that to me; but he was her Alpha male and I was “the other woman”.
Sheba sits at my feet when we are on the couch and she will on occasion throw her head back and look up at me. I feel bad because she does not do that for Roger and so often ignores him. But that action, that act of adoration or something, whatever it means is quite lovely and humbling.
Not holding back the tide,
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