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Monday, January 19, 2015

Gratitude

Shyla and I went to our advanced dog training class yesterday. I find myself constantly astounded by her.
She loves meeting the people at our training class. She's learned that it's a safe place where people are always nice to her. In fact, she's even started jumping up when greeting some of them. With my previous dogs, there was absolutely nothing positive about them jumping on people. But, because of Shyla's background as a fearful dog, my trainer and I exchange a smile when she does it and gently guide her toward a more appropriate greeting style. She's learning fast.
Each class lasts an hour and is held in a public park or on a city street. Shyla always has about three short episodes of "fear" during the class. Most people wouldn't recognize the signs but I've learned to see them - her face gets tight, she sniffs the ground while ignoring the world around her, and her movements get jerkier. When she hits one of these rough patches, we walk away from the class and either play a fun game or chill out quietly. And, the phase passes in a few minutes (if I don't take a break at the first sign of fear, it just escalates). Sometimes I know what caused it, and sometimes I don't.
During the majority of class these days, Shyla sits by my side when the teacher is talking, seeking eye contact with me. She's not vigilantly swiveling her head around to scan for danger. Nope, not any more. Instead, I feel like she trusts me to watch out for her while she focuses on me.

Seeing her eyes focused on my eyes makes my heart swell with love. This little girl has come so far, and I've somehow earned her trust and love along the way.
After class, Shyla and I went for a little hike to unwind, and we had our second incredible sunset in a row. We can go months without seeing sunsets like these - and we've had two in a row!!! I am so thankful!
It seemed like a fitting ending to a day when I felt such gratitude for Shyla being part of our lives.

30 comments:

  1. such a good girl. you two are paired up perfectly. :)

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  2. Oh good for Shyla...we have a shy nervous pug (Maggie) and I always wonder the same thing, what happens that makes her feel that way, shyla has come a very long ways, and she know she can trust you.
    stella rose

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  3. Hari OM
    My heart swells for you and Kyla! YAM xx

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  4. Go Shyla!!! We are so happy to see how you two have grown together!!

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  5. Thrilled to hear Shyla is doing so well and that you two are a match made in heaven. Here's to a Happy and Healthy 2015 for all of you!

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  6. That's such great news to hear about Shyla! She has come a long, long way and we too are very proud of your girl.

    And Shyla, you can scrunch your nose at us any time!

    Hugs,
    Lily Belle & Muffin

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  7. Home is much more comfortable but it sounds like you are doing a good job in the city
    Lily & Edward

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  8. We just adore the picture with you twitching your nose, Shyla, and we just love you to bits. You and your mom are just so perfect for each other ♥

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  9. Beautiful, every word and photo and I am so sure that all of us out here share your pride and gratitude that Shyla has come so far with your patience and training. We celebrate as well.

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  10. Good for her - it's so great when they make strides isn't it. Maggie freezes when her fear kicks in, but she, like Shyla, is recovering more quickly when she realizes there is nothing to fear.

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  11. I'm glad she is getting better. Harlow has some fear issues, but for her, it comes crashing down so suddenly that most of the time we have no warning. Thankfully, we can turn it around quickly.

    Monty and Harlow

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  12. How wonderful for everyone that Shyla has overcome so much of her anxiety. And lucky for her that you can interpret early warning signs. Sweet story.

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  13. That sweet Shyla is full of class!

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  14. Yay Shyla! I felt the same excitement when Phod was excited enough and trusting enough to jump up on people. Now we are working to stop it! The little things need to be celebrated!

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  15. What a lovely girl ...she has come so far!

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  16. Warms my heart.

    Aroo to you,
    Sully

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  17. Shyla is a wonderful success story!
    hugs
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

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  18. That's so awesome that she's starting to feel better about the world!! I know exactly what you mean about the jumping up! We were actually thrilled when Phoenix felt comfortable enough to do it! Shyla is so pretty and the sunsets!! Oh the sunsets!! <3

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  19. She has come so far, you should be proud of both of you.

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  20. Love the last photo! AMAZING! Your stories of Shyla give me so much hope for Macy

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  21. Well done both! And onward to more joyful success :)

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  22. What a lovely post - as always, I enjoy reading about your bond with Shyla and her increased confidence. :)

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  23. It is good when humans know their doggies so well that they can perceive these signals. Of course we doggies do it to humans all the time!

    Your Pals,

    Murphy & Stanley

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  24. Good girl Shyla! Your a brave heart,, and learning so much,, learning to trust-- and feel good in your own body!!
    We love those beautiful skys!
    love
    tweedles

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  25. you should be very proud of eachother congrats

    retro rover

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  26. Each time I read more about Shyla it gives me renewed hope that Willow and I can work through her fears. Willow also does the sniffing the ground thing when she's trying to avoid situations that scare her - there's a LOT of sniffing going on right now! I would love to get her to a stage to be able to take her training, I know she would love that.

    Thank you for sharing Shyla's story - it's helping us over here on this little island :)

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