Åndalsnes / Isfjorden
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Wolfskin's diary part 7
Friday, September 2nd, 2016
Now it's been 2 months since I made the last diary entry... Ashes on my head! There was (and is) so much to report. I will try to remember everything and write it down here. Will definitely be a longer affair ... ;-)
Wolfskin has developed splendidly. His trust in us has grown every day, and he also behaves differently towards strangers. Skeptical and hesitant, but not afraid or even panicking from the start.
Every day we now go outside with the leash. At first still secured like a hardened criminal - with a chain leash, double carabiners, additionally secured to my belt, with gloves. And every day Wolfskin made progress. In the beginning he kept running in circles around me and tried to bite the leash, but these signs of stress subsided noticeably after just a few days. Until they stopped performing at some point at the end of June. Wolfskin's running movements were no longer panic and fear, but were replaced by a certain curiosity and joy. But always - and to this day - he keeps an eye on me, waiting for me.
On July 5th we dared to take the next big step: We took the heavy, unwieldy chain leash from Wolfskin and used a slightly thicker rope as a long leash as a test. I still had the images of a scared dog biting and panicking in the back of my mind.... But my lovely boy behaved in an exemplary manner. At first he moved a little unsteadily, because the lack of weight of the chain on his collar suddenly made him suspicious. But after just a few meters in the forest, he was walking much more freely and easily. What a heartwarming picture! Not a single bite on the leash, not a single attempt to escape from the collar.
Our dogs are now alone at home for several hours a day, after all we also have to do our work. Everything worked great; Shunka and Josy are used to being alone anyway, and Wolfskin is also at an age that doesn't require uninterrupted, long-term fun. However, my darling doesn't like it that much when mom leaves him alone! Punishment must be - so first my pillow had to suffer, then the new bed linen on my sofa bed. When entering the room, Micha first thought that a chicken had flown in from somewhere and that Wolfskin had gotten its claws. But it was just the feathers from my pillow, which were all over the place and had also spread to Wolfskin's fur. Those were the only two times he actually broke anything. Today he often gets my clothes lying around on the bed and cuddles with them. Micha's shoes had also miraculously made their way under the covers, and my foot and leg balm was also on his list of favorite cuddling utensils.
Mom, your pillow exploded all of a sudden - be glad I'm alive!
Of course, since we can't always just go for a walk in the forest, we also practiced walking on the short leash on the street. With scared dogs, it's important not to force them to be close to you. That's why the long leash is so ideal at the beginning. I then kept them shorter bit by bit, always with several days in between. Wolfskin didn't mind since he's always near me when we're out. After only 2 weeks I was able to exchange the thick rope for a normal leather leash! I was sure that he no longer had any intention of freeing himself from this tie around his neck.
Then we had to clarify the walking order on the street. Our Shunka was once again a great help for Wolfskin. First hopped he again around me and to the left and right, and when a car came, I liked to jump straight into the side ditch. He didn't know any different from his dangerous life as a street dog! However, after a few days, when I always practiced very early in the morning because there were hardly any cars, Wolfskin walked to Shunka's left like an old hand. However, we have to run relatively fast, because he has to hop because of his missing hind leg and therefore cannot "heel" completely. Look how great he did after just a few days of practice:
Since Wolfskin now moved so safely on the leash, I also untied the rope in the forest and let my sweetheart walk with a 15 m long, very light tow line made of Biothane. It is super light and above all washable and waterproof. Wolfskin quickly learned how he had to walk to keep the leash on one side and not between his legs. Such a smart little fellow! With this leash, my sweetheart can run relatively unencumbered and "free"; whether through wet grass with Baby Pelle, over dirty forest paths or through a stream and puddles with bosom friend Shunka. You could see Wolfskin blossoming every day. So: When mom calls, sweetheart no longer runs around the outside, but through the middle of the puddle! Yeah! :-)
After just 4 months with us, Wolfskin is becoming bolder and developing more self-confidence. He's around more and more often, lying down on the porch, standing in line for the food counter, or just keeping me company in the kitchen.
Putting on a collar and leash is now a piece of cake - on the contrary. When we first had huge problems getting our problem child outside, his attitude to "outside" has changed radically. He likes to go outside, enjoys sniffing around and running unhindered, which means a certain amount of "freedom" with the long leash. But Wolfskin is always attentive, follows me with his eyes and hardly ever uses the entire length of the line before he's waiting for me. I'm so proud of him.
At the end of July we finally had our first real vet appointment. Immediately after his arrival, our vet was at our house, but there was no question of an examination or even vaccination. At that time, she only saw Wolfskin from afar and only the tip of her nose.
We are then on 22.7. drove to the practice with Wolfskin in his box in the car. Since it was relatively clear to me that we wouldn't be able to get him into the vet's office voluntarily, we just did it the other way around - Lise Marie (our vet) came to him in the car. We first sat in the van together for a while, then closed the car door and opened the cage. Wolfskin came out and let Lise Marie pet him. I knew that Wolfskin doesn't bite, but for safety reasons Lise still wanted to put a bite guard on him (not a muzzle, just some kind of soft cloth) so that she could safely give him an anesthetic injection. Because we had decided not to stress the sweetheart and to see him during the examination, vaccination, cutting his claws, checking his teeth etc to let sleep. We also wouldn't have gotten him onto the treatment table without an anesthetic - that's one of the few things that Wolfskin still doesn't tolerate to this day: lifting and carrying.
And shall I tell you something? Without batting an eyelash Wolfskin had his mouth tied, and he also accepted the injection in the neck without a peep. He didn't seem restless or nervous for a second! I was so proud of my boy! We then made good use of his deep sleep and brought everything into shape. The vet said he had great teeth, and otherwise my sweetheart is in good health. We have shortened the claws properly - and there is a discount for cutting (after all, there are only claws on 3 legs instead of 4!)
I was on vacation in Germany. 10 days. And every single one of them I missed my soul dog. Of course, I also had something in my suitcase for our furry friends - and Wolfskin helped unpack the suitcases, just like Josy and Shunka do.
My darling is such a nice guy. He now enjoys the walks to the fullest. It is sniffed and marked what nose and bladder gives, there is also a run-up and a good run around! Wolfskin has got used to the towline and knows exactly where to put his legs to avoid getting tangled.
Wolfskin only goes into our high-security enclosure when we leave the house because he has to go through it to get into the yard. Otherwise the enclosure no longer interests him at all; not even its former puller corner is worth a detour. At first we still used the enclosure to leash him in it, but in preparation for the lack of bars we have got into the habit of always putting him on a leash in the hallway. And that works great.
Now it was time to go one step further.
We had built a garden at the back of our house over the summer, with chain link fence and conifers on one side and an ornate wooden fence and gate on the other. The whole thing is only about a meter high - so in an emergency not really a hurdle for our Romanian, who has already escaped before... But in the meantime many weeks had passed and Wolfskin had changed, gotten used to us. I no longer had the feeling that he wanted to leave us. So we dared on 19.8. the first time to take the leash off him in the garden and let him run free. Wolfskin sniffed at every conifer, examined the pile of wood at the back of the garage and then made himself comfortable under the garden table. He didn't bother looking for a hole in the fence for a single second. It was so wonderful to see him so relaxed and "free". He used the fresh green to "hang out" and just be a "lazy dog". And for us, too, the new freedom was quite comfortable: we only had to go through the house and open the back door - and we were in the garden. Could it have gone better? Who would have thought that just a few weeks ago?
In the garden!