It’s been 5 days since Solo came to stay with us, a scared, unsure dog, knowing only kindness from his saviors at Eddy’s Dogs. Life before that was not so kind for this young dog, who carries a lot of distrust from his past.
Solo is not aggressive, he is scared, he doesn’t growl or bark, he shakes and freezes. I knew of Solo’s rescue and what he had endured and his long recovery to get him to a place where he was ready to get into foster care and find his forever home.
I prepared for his arrival by setting up a dog pen for him, I put a sheet over it, to make it feel safer and set up a bed with some toys. A safe place for Solo to retreat and be left alone, if he choose to.
When Solo arrived I met him outside with Dahlia and Flipflop to make the introductions. Solo was uninterested in them, and me! He only had eyes for Sherri (who helped nurse him back to healthy), it was hard for Sherri to leave him as well, remembering the time and care she took, cleaning his wounds and bonding with him. I have fostered for Sherri and Eddy in the past, however; so she knew I knew exactly what Solo needed.
Solo needed to be ignored, by ignoring him, I posed no threat. Of course it’s always hard to ignore the dog, I want to hug him/her and tell it everything will be ok now and they will never be hurt again. However, dogs don’t speak that language, so I had to ignore Solo to show him I have no interest in him, which in his mind registers that I have no interest in harming him.
Solo ended up not going to his pen, he wanted to be in my kitchen, so I set up a bed and some toys in the kitchen for him, and left his pen in the living room, in case he wanted it. As I set up his bed and brought in some toys, I was careful not to look at him and I acted as if he was not even there.
I tried to leash him up to take him for a quick walk but he was too afraid to come with me, so I let him be and took out Dahlia and Flipflop and we went to bed, leaving Solo feeling safe in the kitchen.
When I awoke the next morning, Solo was still too scared to allow me to leash him, so I walked Dahlia and Flipflop and let Solo explore the apartment. On the walk with my dogs, I realized this probably wasn’t a good idea, and sure enough I came home to some doggie “accidents” to clean up.
I am fortunate to be able to work from home and I arranged to do so the first couple days after Solo’s arrival. On Solo’s first day here, I continued to ignore him and he started to explore. He would walk up to me and sniff my hand, I would pretend I didn’t notice.
The sniffs eventually turned to licks and then not before too long, Solo was pawing at me to pet him. I put my hand on him gently, he froze and trembled, I removed my hand and talked to him in a soft voice. He pawed me again, this time he didn’t tremble, but I could tell he was still unsure from his body language, but he was really trying to trust me and have love.
That was the beginning of Solo’s amazing few days with us so far. Solo is now sleeping on dog beds in the living room during the day but will go into his pen on occasion. He only wants to be in the kitchen to eat, he won’t eat around me or the other dogs, I’m assuming because in the past on the streets he had to protect his food.
In five days Solo has shown great progress in learning to trust and be a dog. A few days ago he growled at me when I tried to dry him off with a towel (after a walk in the rain), and today, after Flipflop peed on Solo’s head during a walk, Solo let me clean him and didn’t growl or show any signs of fear with me. He’s playing with toys and instead of being fearful of the leash, he gets excited to go for walks.
Solo still has a journey to go as far as letting go of his fears from his past, but he wants to be loved so badly, and is trying so hard to trust me and other humans. I’m so proud of this little sweetheart!