Sunday, May 2, 2010


week ago I met a dog at a local Humane Society that I absolutely fell in love with. I had several conversations with the supervisors at the shelter and after a couple long conversations with my husband; we decided to adopt this beautiful beagle/hound cross and name her Pixel.

Pixel was a stray when the Humane Society found her. She was reported three months before she was caught in the industrial section of the city. When they finally did catch her and bring her into the shelter, she was a little underweight but nothing serious, they checked her out for diseases and did the whole workup and found nothing serious. They spayed her and sent her along to the shelter to be adopted.


When I first brought Pixel home my biggest fear was actually how she'd react to Freyja, my long hair domestic cat.  She is a bit of a diva and I had a feeling she'd be more of a problem than Pixel... but I also had no idea what kind of exposure Pixel had had to cats before.  So I cautiously opened the door since Freyja likes to wait there when she hears the keys in the lock, and sure enough when the door opened she had her face right there to greet me.  Well she was sure surprised to see a doggy face when the door opened.  She let out a nervous little meow and backed up slowly.  Pixel, however sniffed her and barged in right past her without a second glance.  I was over the moon!  She didn't try to eat her, didn't growl, didn't lunge at her... just total indifference!  Freyja was another story.  She spent the next hour stalking her while she explored all the fun new smells in every nook and cranny in the apartment.  Their first meeting was a complete success!

Later that night was a bit different... Freyja was getting more and more curious about this new animal in her meticulously kitty-marked house, and kept testing to see how close she could get to Pixel to sniff her.  The first time she got too close, Pixel was sleeping on a blanket next to Eric's computer desk and Freyja inched closer and closer till Pixel woke up and lifted her head, startling Freyja causing her to spaz and claw Pixel's nose.  Pixel barked once and Freyja RAN out of the room.  Pixel didn't like Freyja getting too close after that little scratch on her nose, so she tried growling to keep Freyja at a distance after that.  We reassure both of them that everything is okay, in soothing tones, and get them both to calm down when things start getting tense and there's only been one other bark since then.  Just a warning bark, nothing serious.  After that, they've decided to give each other space and it's gone great!


Now that I've brought her home I've started to really see the deep-rooted damage that she's had done to her. Even gentle correction causes her to flinch, and cower on the floor as if she's expecting a blow (making me want to cry even thinking about it), she doesn't understand affection from people in any way, and is fairly uncomfortable with people touching her (standing very still, head lowered, tail tucked), and she is hesitant to take treats when being praised (but thankfully rarely refuses them).

Pixel spends most of her time inside either in her crate, or on one of the three beds we have for her (one in the living room, one in our office, and one by the bed in our bedroom). After just a day in her new home she has grown cautiously more and more comfortable being around my husband and I, and she’ll sit on the couch with one of us (but not both of us; she prefers to be a little distance away), and she’ll snuggle up on the bed with one of us (but if both of us are on the bed she won’t go up). So we have seen progress in that area, and we can already see she is coming around the idea of affection, such as her tail doesn’t tuck quite so much and she holds her head a little higher each time, and her tail wags when she knows she’s going out for a walk.

The real problem is her fear of being inside. Once she is inside she’s pretty okay. She sleeps a lot and finds comfortable places to be alone, but when we’re finishing up a walk and we get near our place, she freezes and immediately starts trying to pull away from me. Gently coaxing her up the walk takes a lot of time and often she’ll thrash to get out of her collar (we’re going today to get her a harness so we don’t have to worry about her getting out of her collar and bolting). It takes a lot of patience and gentle guidance to get her to even consider going through the door and up the stairs to our apartment. But it’s mostly just that dead-stop fear that she gets that breaks my heart. And often when we’re back inside she’ll pace around by the door for a while or go over to the balcony and whine at the door to be let out onto the porch.

All in all I am happy with Pixel. She is an easily lovable dog, and I believe with a lot of patience and hard work she’ll be an incredible dog. I’ll be updating frequently with progress she’s made because everything from this point will be exciting progress!

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