I found Sasha in a cage at the Humane Society. She was crouched in the far corner of the cage, trembling and very afraid. She looked around nervously at the people walking by, and I can’t imagine what she was thinking. I stopped and sat down by the front of the cage and beckoned her. She focused on me briefly, then her gaze returned to the traffic shuffling by her cage. After a while, when the people were gone, she ventured forward and smelled my hand then retreated to the far corner of the cage. Within an hour, all I got was a lick on the hand.
I spoke to the volunteers about Sasha and they told me that she had been there for a nearly a week. They were working on training her to walk but her fear was causing her not to trust her handler. I brought Sasha home that day and we started to get to know eachother. We spent a lot of time together, but my times away proved to be a disaster. Her separation anxiety caused me to have to crate her which actually turned out to be a very good thing. Happily, she is over that fear now and knows that, when I leave, I will be returning.
I have been working with Sasha for a year now and she has finally given her trust to me. She is a very loyal dog and quite loving but still distrustful of most all people. A few weeks ago, I decided it was time for our first trip together. After introducing her to the car and a few trips to a local dog park, we set off from Florida to North Carolina. Despite the long trip, Sasha did wonderfully in the car and enjoyed the closeness that we had. Rest stops were difficult. New people and places spooked her, but she knew why she was out of the car and afterwards, welcomed the opportunity to hop back in.
After a long day of driving we arrived at our destination in the mountains. Sasha paused at the end of the car looking around in wonder. She finally hopped out and walked around looking at the trees and hills. Then, in a moment, she took off, running up and down hills and through the woods, keeping me in her vision but taking her new environment in. After a few minutes, she came dashing up to me, tail wagging, and jumped in glee. A brand new world never before seen. A dog’s paradise.
After a few minutes, we went in the house to unpack which was another opportunity to explore. After checking out the house, Sasha was out on the deck looking at the world around her with such fascination. Tail always wagging and eyes open wide.
As it was late, a quick sandwich was made and as I sat eating it, I felt a nose push on my leg. It was Sasha looking up at me, eyes full of love and smiling large. She did not break her gaze as she sat down. I knew what she was trying to say; thank you for bringing me here with you. She understood that she was included in this journey and, for that, she was extremely grateful.
We had a wonderful vacation, full of long walks and adventures. Much time was spent on that deck watching fireflies, birds, and leaves blowing in the wind. For me, it was a better time because she was there. Now that we are home, I see that excitment in her eyes everytime we get in the car. Although it will not happen tomorrow, one thing I know for sure; Sasha will travel again.