Sunday, December 9, 2007

Freckle-Lexi's first year as a Canadian

Today is the one year anniversary of Freckle-Lexi joining our family – today we’re celebrating her first Gotcha Day. That’s the day many of us who have adopted rescue animals celebrate, since we rarely know the day they were born, nor do we know their exact age.

We’ve seen so many changes in her over the last year. Each day, each week, each month, she’s settled in more and more, relaxing in her new home, stressing less, at least visibly, when we head out in the car to new destinations. It seems she’s finally realized that the new person she meets on the street, the friend who comes over for a visit, isn’t going to be the next person who whisks her away to yet another temporary home.

Some highlights of Freckle-Lexi’s life with us, at least from our perspective:

We meet for the first time in Marysville, Washington (that's this post's blog photo), and drive back to Canada with her – the border guard welcomes her as a new Canadian!

We try desperately to get her to pee that first day so we can go to bed that night – and she holds her urine for, as far as we know, more than 36 hours. Apparently, dogs in transit do that sometimes.

She starts going on neighbourhood walks and gets to explore her new home.

On New Year’s Day, we let her “off leash” for the first time at Spanish Banks West Beach, dragging a 30 foot leash just in case. She takes off up the beach at the warp speed and disappears into the distance, a tiny almost invisible speck. We wonder if she’s running back to Idaho, when she banks to the left and flies back up to the beach toward us. The result of her speedy return is described on Freckle’s and Ceilidh’s blog at I sure wish we had it on video.

Though we were told she was good with other dogs, Freckle starts getting snarky around the neighbourhood – in part, we think, because we have a dog living kitty-corner from us who stands on his third floor balcony and barks and snarls at us everytime we emerge from our door We decide to nip this in the bud and start looking for a trainer we can work with. All the tricks we’ve learned over the years with Bridget and Sassy are ineffective.

We find a great trainer and have a few private sessions and then start attending drop in group classes twice a week. We work outside the group, close enough to start the desensitization but distant enough to keep things under control. Three weeks later, we’re integrated into the group and it’s been great ever since. A comment from our trainer about a month ago: “How does it feel to have one of the stars of the class?” I say FANTASTIC! Check out some photos of Freckle in class on Flickr.

More impressions to come in future posts. It's been a wonderful year with this girl and we hope to have many, many more.