Harriet Goes Camping

88

Continued….Part 3

Week 1: Harriet (L) Remi (R)

Sure, my first foster dog, Harriet, had little things that were broken because she had not had much human contact. 

  • She was not potty trained–but we could fix that, quick, with some crating at night and lots of walks.
  • She did not know her name, Harriet, which was probably assigned to her by the Shelter.   With all her German engineering, ending up with a name like Harriet is, let’s be honest, humiliating.  Something like Heidi (noble and kind) or Greta (little pearl) or Ava (a bird) would have been better. I kept her call name Harriet because it symbolized something greater:  it would be another battle scar she carried until she was adopted.

On her first full day of normal, back at our farm, I noticed something silly.  Harriet, who is five years old, did not know how to walk up or down stairs and she did not know how doors opened and closed.  She had survived winters and summers tied up in a barn her entire life.  It was fun to teach her about these things, and trust me, some things she learned the hard way:  like doors.  Her snout took a few good smacks in all of her excitement.  A big plus was that she had no bad indoor habits…no counter surfing and no jumping on furniture. She craved sitting in my lap, but all she could do was press her head into my knees and push as her sign of love.  I cupped her little face, lifted it up, and encouraged her.  She simply had no brain connection between her wants and the execution.  It is no different than asking someone to wiggle their ears…they may really want to, but just can’t execute the moves.  One day, though, I saw this! (and smiled) 

The goal was to slowly exercise her to build up her muscles so her frame would have support and straighten out.  Her back was deeply bowed like a horse who carried too much weight and her front legs were awkward with elbows splayed outwards in a bulldogesque manner.   Everything about her confirmation was a little “off” from years of abuse at the end of a 6′ rope.   We needed to get some lungs on her, put some weight on her, and see if we could make our own “My Fair Lady.”

After a week of playing fetch and jogging, her carriage started improving.  I decided more fresh air was the cure!  We loaded up the Airstream and headed off to Holland, MI for some trail hikes full of new flora and fauna to explore.  Bees buzzed and frogs scared her when they jumped.  Chipmunks in campgrounds are very brave and Harriet almost caught one!  There were berry bushes and prairie grasses to burst through.  We ran up and down endless sand dunes and shared peaceful sunsets.  At night, Harriet wore a little red jacket and the toasty campfire kept us warm.

She loved everything about camping.  She watched squirrels skit and scatter between pines and she held a skunk eye on all the tweetie birds.  Harriet splashed in the Lake Michigan surf and began to hold her head up just a little bit higher.  She helped me find a stick to roast a hot dog on and she tried to lick the campfire sparks so I had to keep her a little farther away–she was so entranced by the snap, crackle, and high flying pops.  Over and over, she snapped at lightening bugs, missing, as her chops slammed shut with a funny, saggy sound.  Everyone in the campground stopped to say hello to Harriet.

 Within a few weeks, Harriet started looking like and enjoying life as a proper GSP

We had one hurdle left…Getting Spayed.   Stay tuned.

    

 

 

 

© Copyright The Painted Post - Suski Web Design LLC