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Monday, November 3, 2014

The Amazing Shyla

Shyla had a more amazing weekend than I ever dreamed that she'd have. She was out in the world a lot, and she was happy!

Our pack, including Shyla, went to the big city for some time with family. I didn't know ahead of time but Shyla was about to navigate the city streets, including playgrounds, left-over scary Halloween docorations, crowds outside an ice cream store, and a little boy playing on a scooter.

Throughout it all, she seemed to view strangers as potential new friends rather than scary beings. She also seemed to take the oddities in stride. For example, in the past, something as benign as a fake plastic boulder on a city street caused her to be too scared to walk anywhere near it. Last night, she walked right under a fake ghost that was hanging and swaying from a branch just a few feet over our heads. It was incredible.
At more than one point during that outing, my brain said "Shyla can't handle this...". But I was wrong. My brain said that Shyla couldn't handle it when my nephews played at a park with crazy things on the playground that spun and moved in odd ways. But I was wrong, wrong, wrong. I've never been so happy to be wrong.
Then, on Sunday, we went to a drop-in training class that has been the site of more than one meltdown in Shyla's past. I almost didn't take her to the class, thinking that it would be too much after her exciting Saturday. I'm glad that I took her anyway.

During class, I kept thinking that she seemed so capable - so able to cope with things that have ended class early for us in the past. Again, she wanted to meet people - almost all of them. She wasn't upset by the loud handball, volley ball, and tennis games going on around us. She was the Shyla that I dreamed she'd become, way back when I met her more than 2 years ago.
She had only one hiccup during class. There was a dog park at this site, and one dog in the park was barking in a desperate and upset way. He did it intermittently, and it unnerved Shyla so she couldn't focus on class. But, I'd quickly get her moving with our own little private games (like asking her to do her favorite tricks really fast all in a row), and she'd forget that she was worried.
I feel like Shyla's weekend was confirmation that all of the patient work we've done, using positive training to teach her that the world isn't so scary, has been worth it. 

Oddly enough, the weekend was too much for me, rather than Shyla. I've been having "cluster migraines" again, and I had my worst migraine ever last night. I was in bed with the covers pulled over my head for more than 12 hours, and at one point, I started wondering if I needed to go to the ER.

Fortunately, things began to improve at that point... And, as of this morning, I'm on a higher dose of a migraine-preventative medicine. It makes me into a zombie, but after last night, I'm quite sure that's better than having lots of migraines. Argh.
When I was feeling so awful last night, Shyla was almost motherly toward me, licking my face and gently cuddling against me. Perhaps this is part of the maturation that I'm seeing in all of her life. It makes me happy.


  1. such a good, brave girl! so happy she's doing well. and glad you're doing better today.

  2. a fake ghost…. as opposed to a "real" ghost. :-)

    go Shyla!

  3. That is so very wondrful, bravo Shayla! We are proud of you too! Now, if you could get those migraines unser control.

  4. Dear KB, I'm so excited that Shyla has matured into a secure dog. I am so very sorry that you had the cluster migraine last night; I wish there was something I could do for you. I wonder if you've tried acupuncture? I imagine you've tried everything. Please know I will pray for relief from these awful migraines. I imagine you had snow today; we had a few flurries, so I stayed inside sewing.
    Sending you warm hugs tonight.

  5. She's such a brave, gorgeous girl! I hope you feel better soon!

  6. Who would have thought dear Shyla would come so far so fast. What an affirmation of your trust and faith in her and your dedicated patient training.

    Here's hoping you get the migraines under control again.

  7. We're thrilled to hear that your gorgeous Shyla is now the belle of the ball! And here's to hoping you can keep the migraines at bay.

  8. That's wonderful about Shyla! I'm so sorry about the migraines.

  9. Amazing Shyla is only as amazing as her human who trained her so well and so patiently. So sorry about the horrible migraine. We are worried that our granddaughter (the girl twin) may have inherited her mother's migraines:( So young at 7.

    Hope you have a migraine-free week.

  10. So sorry about the migraines, and I hope they take a hike soon and forever. Argh.
    Shyla...very well done, pupster!

  11. This post brought tears to my eyes! I'm working so hard to help Macy shake off three bad years of her life and be confident. She's started to acknowledge the humans in our see them as a source of affection and friendship... It warms my heart so!

    I just love your tales of how Shyla has grown.

    I've had two dogs "nurse" me through illness. I had the stomach flu with Maggie. She never slept with me but that night, she got in my bed and rubbed her paw down my arm repeatedly until I slept!

    When I had the flu, Mabel who would disappear on our hikes, wouldn't get far enough from me to let me get a good cough going! She insisted I take her hiking but then wouldn't leave me! My doc told me that's why I fought it off for so long... the hiking. Mabel, who insisted on sleeping with me, refused to when I had foot surgery. Only when the stitches came out did she get back in our bed!

  12. Were all so proud of Shyla!
    And were sorry those migraines are making you hurt.

  13. Keep up the hard work Shyla, your hard work is paying off and yours too mom.

    Aroo to you,

  14. You have done wonders with her. She is the dog she has become because of you. And damn...feel better.

  15. Well done, Shyla. Not so SHY anymore!


  16. I'm so glad to read this about Shyla - I'm sure the confidence she's gained from our bike outings and your training has helped her gain self-esteem. We've seen the same with Maggie. Hate to hear about your headaches though - hope you feel better soon.

  17. I'm glad Shyla did so well! I hope you feel better soon!! ~hugs~

  18. I just love hearing how well Shyla is doing!! I hope you start feeling better soon!

  19. It is so wonderful to read about Shyla's progress. We hope you feel better soon
    Mr Bailey & Hazel

  20. Congratulations to BOTH of you! What great work!

  21. We are thrilled beyond thrilled for both of you!
    We hope you feel better soon, KB.

    Love ya lots♥
    Mitch and Molly

  22. Oh that's fantastic! I'm so proud of Shyla.

    I hope you feel better soon!

    Monty and Harlow

  23. WoooHooo!!! You go gurl!! I am so proud of you! Gosh, even 'I' HATE scooters!!! ☺
    I'm givin' you a big high paw!
    So sorry abouts your my grains! Oh boy, Ma can sure sympathize! And you're right, zombie is preferable to gettin' one! Yes indeedy!
    Sendin' some AireZens your way!
    Ruby ♥

  24. Fantastic news Shyla we knew you could get used to that city life
    Lily & Edward

  25. Sorry to hear about your migraines but so happy to hear about Shyla's achievements.

  26. Well, this is a mixed report - "Yay!" for Shyla, "Oh,no" for you. So sorry about the migraines. I am hoping so hard for an end to them for you...

  27. First, super sorry to hear about those migraines, they are definitely NOT fun.

    Congratulations on getting Shyla to this point! It's wonderful when it all comes together, isn't it?


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