Wednesday, June 22, 2005

"Be Still My Heart"

Rowena has been training well this past week. I have really tested her sit-stay and down-stay this week and had planned to do some playing and training with her to help her unwind from a boring business day. I packed up my backpack with her tie-out post, line and balls and put her on her flexi leash to bring her down to the park across from CHCS where she might get some extra distractions. It was about 5 pm so people were beginning to make their way home from town and from CHCS. As I knelt down to screw in her tie-out line, I placed the flexi -leash handle under my knee to hold her lightly in place. She took a few steps away to check out the surroundings when she realised that that horrible flexi-leash was slowly starting to follow her. This was the beginning of this horrible episode. She began running away from the leash (attached to her collar) and I did my best to call her to me... yelling, half panicked for her to come back to me. She headed for the edge of the sidewalk and I thought for sure she would freak out right into the road. I screamed for her to come to me. She moved from the road edge and began to kind of run towards me, but continued to freak out and past within feet of where I was. She then scrambled up the hill, nearly stepping off the sidewalk a couple of times, but never doing so. A woman who was walking up the sidewalk was able to step on the line of the flexi leash and stop Rowena from going any further. I ran up the hill to where the woman was and snatched up the leash handle. I thanked her and explained what had just ocurred... that my dog was terrified of her flexi- leash because it "follows" her a bit too closely for her comfort. I took some real slow deep breaths as I pulled Rowena in to safety and said "Thank you very much" to the woman as I returned to the bottom of the hill. I continued screwing in her tie-in and clipped her off the mean ole flexi-leash and on to the line that we usually train or plain on. I began crying. I sat down on the grass and pulled her close and pet her and kissed her as I told her "Don't you ever do that again. It is just a leash! It is not going to hurt you! Don't do that again." I just sat and hugged her for a little bit before I stood up and tried to do some work with her. I was going to play with the tennis ball to gradually get us back to play and work mode, but she seemed so spooked by the whole experience that I could not get her even to get excited over her tennis balls. She seemed very hesitant to move too much even with her tie-out line. Her energy she had shown me earlier had been sucked dry from the horrible flexi-leash chasing her around the park. I packed up her tennis balls, her tie-out and line and put her on her short work leash. I then hooked her flexi-leash to her collar and I walked around the grass in the park for about a half hour until she had gotten to the point where she could walk facing forward (as opposed to walking backwards while staring at the offending flexi-leash handle that dragged behind her). Then I walked a bit on the walk way until she could handle the flexi-leash dragging on the pavement. Finally I proceeded up the stairs, across the road and up the sidewalk towards home, all the while dragging the flexi-leash on the ground. Some kids questioned what I was doing. Then right near home, these three adults looked at me... even after I tried to explain what I was doing, looked at me as if I was somehow torturing my dog. Oh if only they knew how this beloved dog of mine had tortured me earlier. It was after dealing with these people that I decided that Rowena and I just needed to turn back around and go inside. I would take my PRN anti -anxiety medication so that I could breath and calm my heart down a bit. then I would just lie next to Ro on her dogbed and savor the fact that she was here with me and was okay. She is presently the best thing going for me in my treatment plan. To lose her would almost definitely put me back in the hospital. Before I go off to bed tonight, I am going to brush her out, give her her meds, take her out to go to the bathroom one last time before leading us both into bed. I will pray giving great thanks that Rowena is still with me. Tomorrow is another day. I'll see where she is then.

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