Monday, August 17, 2009

Sadie has settled down

That's the form that was on Sadie's cage when she chose us three-and-one-half years ago, at Wayside Waifs. As you can see, they were calling her Joli. She had been in their care for two weeks.

My previous dog, Mandy, had just been hit by a car and killed, so my worst fear was that this might happen again. Sadie was so very hyperactive when we got her home, she'd run away at any opportunity; and I'd worry myself sick until she showed up again.

So I stopped turning her loose, and kept her on a leash at all times when we went outside. After I'd had her a year or so, I found out it was safe to turn her loose when we took our walks in the pasture; so she had that little measure of freedom.

When we moved back here further from the road last year, I started letting Sadie go outside to "do her business" without a leash, but I watched her closely. If I turned my back, she was gone. If I saw her running off and called her, she ignored me. I tried punishing her for this behavior, but that backfired on me: She decided if she was going to have a fly-swatter taken to her, she just wouldn't come home at all! So when she'd disappear and then return, I began petting her and telling her what a good dog she was for returning.

One early morning recently, I let Sadie out and forgot about her. I don't worry so much these days, because I know she will come home before long. It occurred to me that there's very little traffic around here at that time of day, and that it might do Sadie good to be set free regularly for an hour or so. There was risk involved, but not too much.

The more I set her free, the more laid-back she became... and the more she stayed right here in our yard. My biggest fear used to be that she would follow one of the free-roaming dogs in the neighborhood and get hurt, because she had always gone absolutely crazy when she saw a dog around.

Now that she's gotten acquainted with them all, she hardly notices them, or she'll simply watch them cross the yard from back here at the house. Oh, there's her nemesis, the dreaded Boxer, that she'll still run toward. But the Boxer always stops at her approach; and once Sadie gets near her and sniffs at her from all sides, she wags her tail, and comes back home.

As you can see by these pictures, she generally keeps her Frisbee nearby. On a hot day she'll take it to the shade with her.

When she wants in, she comes to the door, and sometimes barks to let me know she's waiting. She still spends at least three-fourths of her waking hours in the house, by her own choice.

She's a changed doggie. Usually, she even comes when I call her these days. I guess the old saying is true:

If you love something, set it free. If it comes back to you, it's yours. If it doesn't, it never was.

Still, there's always that risk, however slim, that something bad will happen to Sadie. I do believe the older she gets, the less chances of that there will be.

6 comments:

madcobug said...

Good for Sadie. Sounds like she has settled down a lot. Your flowers are looking so pretty. Helen

Anonymous said...

Your house looks beautiful, so loved. Sadie sure has come a long way. Vicki

Sugar said...

sadie is a cutie, gld she's fit into your life so well!
your yd looks great. ;)
huggies...

I'm mostly known as 'MA' said...

You are very fortunate to have her stay around like that. Not all dogs would settle down like that. My DD has 2 dogs about the same age. One is like your Sadie the other totally doesn't listen at all. They are so different.

Hollie said...

Yay for Sadie! What a sweet girl! Your flowers are gorgeous!!!

Faye said...

I'm glad you don't worry so much anymore. I remember the almost frantic worry you had after Mandy. Sadie is truly becoming an adult and sounds like she is taking responsibility well.