Bear was the hardest rescue dog I have ever adopted. A year ago, his nervous fearful energy had him sailing over fences, dodging through holes, and running in the opposite direction when called.
The first month after we adopted Bear, (November/December 2021) was spent spending rebuilding, adding height and securing fence so Bear could run but couldn’t escape onto a busy highway. Escape was his first go-to when scared, and he was frequently afraid. A sound as small as a clicking pen would send him out of a room.
His second go-to was uncontrolled play. Every fiber of his body engaged raucously. It was impossible to get his attention, even when he was on a leash.
Food was also an issue. Having been a starving stray, he would eat anything. Cardboard, wood, dirt. If I dropped a napkin, he would snatch it and eat it. He ate a few rats, supplied by my cats.
The week before our first anniversary of adoption, I noticed a change in Bear that worried me. He laid around the house. He didn’t try to grab dropped napkins. His eyes no longer followed every move we made. His demeanor was a hundred notches below what it had been a year ago.
My husband echoed my thoughts when he asked, “Is there something wrong with Bear?”
The thing is, playing in the pasture, he still ran, leaped, rolled and hunted with more exuberance than his two friends. Bear had learned to chill in the house. He had learned that his 3-acre home was safe. The dog who once quickly snatched up a dropped napkin and ate it, is now the slowest eater of my pack. He savors his food.
Today, Bear reclined at my feet as I sat on the sofa watching TV and eating lunch. When I was done eating, I took my dishes to the kitchen then returned to the sofa. I hadn’t noticed that I had dropped my napkin. Bear did. He picked it up and put it in my lap.
So, what is wrong with Bear? Absolutely nothing.