We took Jack on his first camping trip to Zions for Memorial weekend. We took him for a few reasons: 1) We didn’t really have a dog sitter available, 2) We needed to find out if he liked camping (we are a camping family) and 3) We thought it would be a lot of socialization/rehab for him. And guess what?! It turns out he loves camping and he is making HUGE steps in his rehabilitation.
Rob knew that this camping trip would require a lot of him. I’m just far too nervous with the whole biting issue, and I know Jack senses that when he’s meeting someone for the first time. So, Rob did all the introductions (which means lots of treats for Jack). And other than some snapping at our nephew, Dylan (getting used to kids is going to be awhile) and then a weird incident with our brother-in-law, Heath, he was a rockstar! He was off the leash a ton and the majority of the time came right back when he was called (he also looked at us and kept going the other way a few times to be a shit). No, he’s not done with his rehab, but he is so on his way.
Once I know that Jack is calm and OK around someone, then I am too. I am so grateful for Rob and his calm nature. Perhaps with a prescription of Xanax I could be mellow as well. I’m just the worried mom though, and I’m learning alongside Jack to take a deep breath and relax. Just look how chill the guy is here.
Jack chillin’ in the trailer
Rob and Jack made my Mom’s Day today. After Jack’s usual 6:00am wake-up with many kisses and jamming his paws on my neck, he and Rob presented me with a hot cup of coffee, beautiful flowers and a poem. Rob says that Jack came up with all the words, but Rob helped him write them (he doesn’t have thumbs, remember). Some of my favorite lines:
Think of the things
That I’m much better at
Like not biting dad
And putting up with the cat
Know this Mom
That I love you a lot
You can tell when I’m scolded
And run to my spot
And I know my actions
Have made you cry
But I’m trying hard
To be your Good Guy!
This is the third poem that Rob and Jack have given me, and I cherish every single one of them. This one made me laugh and cry. It also made me feel hopeful. I have been so anxious about Jack lately, but I know he will get it. We just need to practice. Today we let him off the leash at the park and he came right back every time!
And he always puts a smile on my face. Like a few minutes ago when I was putting some laundry away and set a couple of towels on the floor. Anything that is soft and placed on the floor is an invitation for Jack to lay on. Which is exactly what he did. I love my boys!
We’re experiencing some stressful stuff with our little Jack. He has proven to us that he has some real fear aggression issues, and although I know we’re going to do everything we can (with the assistance of a trainer), it’s really hard for me. Today I got to my sister’s house and immediately broke into tears. She’s the best sister in the world, so she let me cry as much as I wanted. Stevie on the other hand told me, “Stop crying Aunt Sonie, it’s annoying.” She’s not much of a comforter. She did give me a couple of hugs afterwards, but I’m pretty sure she had an ulterior motive.
It might sound ridiculous to be so emotional, and I know that for the sake of Jack, I need to keep it together. I love this dog so much though, and I worry. I worry about the future for him and us as a family, I worry for other people that make him nervous and I worry that I might not be the right person for such a nervous dog.
I welcome all comforting thoughts and comments. I need them. Jack needs them too.
Remember how I mentioned Jack is kind of a fearful dog and has taken little nips at people when he’s scared? Well, we are really trying to do all we can to train him and take away the emotional response. Today my brother-in-law and one of his employees came over because his employee is repairing and painting our deck for us this weekend. Anyway, Jack was barking up a storm when he heard them on the deck. So, I calmed his down (had him sit and gave him a treat), put him on his leash and we ventured out. And he was a rockstar! I had the guys give him treats and I praised the shit out of him for being so good. He just smelled them and then wanted to be their best friend. I know we have a ways to go, but I feel so hopeful.
Good boy Jack, good boy!
Do not be deceived by this image of Jack. Yes, he is a Mama’s boy, but he does not want anyone to know that. In fact, he would be really pissed if he knew I was publishing this vulnerable picture of him. He wants you to know that despite his size, he is tough and has no problem lunging at your leg if he needs to.
Jack has this thing where he really likes pooping in bushes or on large rocks. He gets his butt so high up and right against the bush that the poop ends up all over his butt hair. And remember, he’s white. Oh, and he doesn’t like me trying to get it off with a wet wipe, so if we don’t immediately bathe him, he ends up with pieces of poop stuck to his butt. Here’s a visual of when it’s still wet. I’m pretty sure that we’re going to have to take scissors to it now that it’s dry. Di-freaking-stugsting.