Nov 1, last year we adopted
Sabrina thanks to Carol Rauch & Sallie Cosgrove. When we
celebrated Thanksgiving 22 days later that year, Sabrina was a scared
A year has passed & as Thanksgiving is here again, I began to think
about Sabrina's first year with us.
Her CERF exam was normal. Her heart tested good. Her hips seem ok,
though not perfect. She has put on weight -- probably too much.
Sabrina is still almost deaf but has developed a case of selective
vision just as some hearing Bouvs have selective hearing. You know
the routine. You say something benign like "sit" &
your Bouv looks @ you with a blank expression, then looks around to see
who you are talking to, then gets up & wanders off on some
Over the past year Sabrina has learned to look @ me or Truman for
instruction. Is it ok to continue barking? Are you still there?
Do you want me to "come"? But there are times when I
signal a 'sit' or 'down" & the little devil will turn her head
so as not to "see" the command. I smile @ her Bouvness
and then make sure she "sees" what I want.
Over the past year, Sabrina has learned that she really does have a
place in our family. When Truman tries to muscle her out of "skritchy"
range, she now maneuvers herself within arm's distance & stays for
"skritchies". When Truman gets a treat, she promptly
approaches for hers. And she argues for recognition when I return home
& Truman is trying to hog my attention.
Dessert time is sweet. Truman always rcvd one or two licks of ice
cream when we were having ours & he got to lick the plate or stick
when we were done. Now Truman & Sabrina share equally.
He gets nothing until the two of them are sitting side by side -- he
gets a lick or two, she gets the same. They understand the process
& stop licking momentarily when their turn is over. Back &
forth until nothing is left.
While none of this seems like much, it took almost a year to convince
Sabrina that she was as entitled to these perks as Truman is. I'm
grateful that she now knows it.
"No's" were reserved only for important things this past year.
As a result, Sabrina is now spoiled but wags her stump of a tail
sometimes. She was so shy when she came to us.
Because Sabrina is deaf, she sleeps like the dead. Once situated, she
flops over & starts snoring. I've had to get used to this,
this past year.
Last November, Sabrina growled @ everyone under any conditions,
anywhere. No stranger could touch her, no stranger could entice
her with a treat. It's not that she bit, she simply moved out of
range. Her front leg quivered nervously, sometimes she urinated in
fright. I'm happy to say that most of this behavior has abated.
She is still a bit anxious, doesn't warm up to strangers in a flash but
doesn't growl constantly either & does go in close for a quick sniff
or two. She has, on the rare occasion, even allowed a stranger's pat.
It is, of course, axiomatic that an animal that has lost one sense is
going to be more highly developed in others. All dogs have
fantastically sensitive noses, thousands of times more sensitive than
our own -- no matter the size. And of course, dogs use their noses
to a point of disgusting humans sometimes. But we have now gone
through a spring and summer with Sabrina & we now know that she
takes a moment or two to smell flowers. We have several perennial
gardens on our property & quite frequently, one can find Sabrina
gingerly leaning in to get a whiff of a newly arrived blossom or two a
few rows back.
A year ago when I left a room Sabrina followed. If she couldn't
join me in the next room, she cried, moaned, scratched & barked to
be let in. I couldn't go to the bathroom alone. Slowly I weaned
her from her insecurity. We practiced "returning".
First I waved bye-bye & closed the bathroom door, shutting her out.
A moment later, I opened it & gave her a hug. Then I
lengthened the time, then went outside, then went into the garage, then
off the property, outside the gate. Each time I returned & gave her
A year later Sabrina still follows me from room to room, sleeps with me,
watches me take a shower. But, if for some reason, she doesn't
hear me move from one room to another & wakes up to find that I'm
not with her, she doesn't panic. She knows I'm nearby because I
always wave bye-bye when I leave her.
And not too long ago, Sabrina gave me a kiss for the first time.
So, along with a bunch of other things like Carol, health, friends,
home, Truman, & Sam, I'm grateful that I got a little kiss from a
sweet girl, the runt of the litter, who is finally coming into her own.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.