It’s been interesting to watch Zoey settle in to our new home. I was really concerned that the move from the only home she had ever known would further traumatize her. She has really been through a very difficult time after losing her best friend.
I was a poor substitute for Angela in the days a and weeks after we were left alone with each other. I could actually see her distress as she realized that it would be just the two of us.
Even though I tried to keep our daily routine in place, it just wasn’t the same, and we both recognized it. Sure, she ate her food and came to the dog park, but it was all just going through the motions and necessity.
It really troubled me to see her retreat into her quiet corner, isolated from me and the rest of the world around her. Her favorite place was our closet, laying under the clothes totally removed from the activities of our daily life.
I was torn about how to treat this behavior; once I shut the closet door to prevent her from spending so much time there, but I relented after noticing the troubled look in her eyes and she lay on the floor outside the door.
What was going to happen to her, I wondered, when we moved to a new place? How would she be able to adjust to a different living space with different sounds and places?
Moving day was hectic so she stayed with Ann, her trusted friend and walker. She always responds to her with an excited rush to the door and a happy smile on her face. They go for long walks and Ann lets her roam freely along the paths at the Supply Pond or the quarry. They have a real connection and she will go to Ann’s home to stay for a few days whenever I need to be away.
She came in and was immediately engaged with greeting Matt and Frank who were there helping me with the move. But I was worried about later, when it would be just we two again.
She followed me around and began to recognize the sights and smells that were connected to the home that she had known. Everything in the new place was familiarly, everything was stimulating her to be at ease, to feel comfortable.
The transition was slow but steady, it was a process of settling in, feeling at home.
Actually, we were both adjusting at just about the same pace, and, in some ways, supporting each other. She began to follow me from room to room, something she had only done with Angela. She even began to spend time with me in the evening when I usually watch TV. I purposely left the closet door closed so that it didn’t beckon her. I saw her once or twice look in longingly, and once, she actually got in under the clothes, but I moved her out. This had to be a new way of doing things and that part of her life needed to be left in the past.
Now, we are both feeling a greater level of comfort in the space and with each other. Zoey is slowly becoming my friend and companion; she is bonding with me and I with her.
It’s a very nice, comfortable feeling to have her sitting beside me on the couch, or even on my bed, which has become her closet substitute.
A dog, like all the rest of us, has to figure out how to live her life, making the best of what’s offered. She is teaching me some important things and I believe that she is learning from me as well.
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