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Old 03-01-2005, 09:35 AM
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bonster bonster is offline
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Post Bonnie - the first six months

Well its been about six months since I took Bonnie from a shelter as some of you know. You've all been really kind and provided some great advice, so here's a little ramble to cover the story far.... hope you enjoy it...

Early days
When I first met Bonnie she was bit 'scraggy' with dried-out fur, reportedly possessive over food, in a pen with two other dogs at a very busy shelter... I took her for a walk and she pulled and didn't seem to know any commands! But - although excited and nervous at first - she seemed really happy to have human contact. I couldn't understand how she'd been overlooked as she'd been at the shelter for around a year - apparently cast out by an elderly owner who 'd given up on her in puppyhood. Her brother Clyde (named from "Bonnie and Clyde") had already been rehomed - in Holland.

Bonnie's only "puppy pic", from the shelter:


So there it was - we made a donation to the shelter and Bonnie came home via the vets for all the necessary inncoulations, tests etc. Well, via the vets in a roundabout way... straight from the shelter, "mine" for all of two minutes, she didn't want to be put into the car, her collar was lose and she slipped it literally as I left the shelter and "took me jogging" a couple of miles into open country.. and it was over 100 degrees!! I was really worried that she'd be gone, her first taste of real freedom, able to run outside of her kennel environment.... but she didn't bolt, just kept herself a few yards in front of me, and I swear she kept looking back with a toothy grin! Luckily the shelter was down a farm track in the middle of the country some distance from any main roads, so no harm done!

Back at home
Although about one-and-a-half she must have still been a puppy in terms of mental development and socialisation/world-experience. Everyday basic things were a source of such fascination - the TV, mirrors, carpet, stairs! From the kennel days she'd learned the trick of standing on her hind legs otherwise unsupported - for quite a while - to get a good view to the outside... and although this continued for a while she was always really gentle and very respectful of her new home environment -- and needed no housetraining whatsoever.
Silly things would initially frigten her, like the microwave bleeping or the wind blowing over the patio awning, but over time she learned there was no danger... (she is not scared of the microwave any more - as she's figured out when that's going there'll be food around LOL!!!)

Over time now Bonnie is getting more and more used to new things... as well as the typical sunshine and rubbly, dusty terrain she's travelled within Spain and seen grass, beaches, mountains, other animals (she didn't know what to make of the first horse she saw!), rain, ice, snow and much more. She's been into busy towns, loves riding in the car and has started to play ball finally.
Having lived at the shelter for around a year - a concrete/mesh pen with probably a 20 minute walk each day - what an experience for her the last six months must have been!!

In the early months she would get over excited outside and didn't understand how to play at all, but now she's transformed. She knows most basic commands and is very good at figuring out what she should do based one what's going on around - she's a bright inquisitive soul and loves to watch whats going on, even whilst lazing around or in her basket.
She can turn her head at all kinds of interesting angles when she can't be bothered to get up but still wants to keep a beady eye on things! She's got a great coat now and has built-up staminer, and is real fun to watch running. She's gained trust too - realising that most people are friendly.. but will still give a woof or two to warn me of approaching strangers or if she's unsure. That has probably been the most pleasurable transformation - especially over the last couple of months - watching her go from nervous to confident, overly excitable to just about right with new situations and strangers and finally starting to play.

I only had to leave her once - I had to fly back to the UK for family business, and Bonnie had to go to kennels for a few days. I'd had her meet the owners already - I really didn't want to do this but I had to make the trip, the kennels were good and she wasn't able to travel with me as her travel papers were "in process" (it takes months...)
She was well looked after, and you should have seen her when we went to collect her. She spotted us from across the yard as a kennel girl brought her out - and nearly pulled her over! When she reached us leapt up over and over - virtually jumping up onto my shoulders - making a really sweet, urgent bleating noise. As we took her out she saw the car, pulled us towards it, jumped inside and snuggled down.. guess she knew she was back to normal! Picking her up, seeing her well and so pleased to see me was a really nice moment.

There haven't really been any bad moments, just a few upset tummies and some (my!) frustratation at her occasional over excitment, but nothing major or upsetting at all. Mostly its been funny - like the time she woofed at an oddball fiddling around the car (story in another post)... or the 'heart in the mouth' moment when I went to get her (European) travel papers. Here in Spain you have to go to a government office with your rabies test results to get a dog "passport" - no problem I thought... only I had to take Bonnie in too I didn't know this until I got there - I was planning on leaving her in the car for five minutes! For a country dog who walks/runs for miles without seeing a soul it was quite an asking to have her walk though a large open plan office, past all the officials at their computers... and have them run over her with a scanner to verify her microchip number. I was terrified she'd take a dislike to something or someone and start to woof or get excited... but she behaved perfectly... I think she knew it was important!

Bonnie as she is today - enjoying the snow:

And you can see her sprinting around and playing ball in my signature!

So overall I'm really pleased that this has all worked out so well, 'rescuing' has been so rewarding in addition to the usual pleasures of having a dog, and I've really enjoyed Chazhoud so far - its been fun and a great source of advice too.

I'm taking a long vacation for a month or so back to the UK in a few days - by road though France in a motorhome (RV) with Bonnie - and when I get there will be staying with my Dad and his 9 year old GSD-X - also a rescue - wonder how it will go? Will the old dog learn new tricks... or will the young 'hound' calm down a bit with the influence of a wise old lady? Hopefully a bit of both
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Old 03-01-2005, 04:50 PM
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smkie smkie is offline
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Bonnie is a great dog..i have enjoyed getting to know her and learning of her progressions..her running after the ball is something I get a kick out of every time I see it. I wish I could go on a vacation, especially with my dogs..hope the two of you get all the good out of your time together, it goes so fast.
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Old 03-03-2005, 04:00 AM
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bonster bonster is offline
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Thanks smkie - we go on Monday - I'll miss Chazhound whilst I'm on the road !!
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Old 03-03-2005, 05:33 AM
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smkie smkie is offline
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i will miss you too! Hope you have a glorious time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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