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The Angel Saga's new Chapter--excellent update 12/04

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  • The Angel Saga's new Chapter--excellent update 12/04

    First of all, y'all need to know that Angel is every bit as fearful as MM has told us here. I've never met a dog who is so afraid of, well, everything.

    We are in the middle of starting all over from scratch. Last night, I went to bed early after taking Angel out for a fruitless last opportunity to do her business. Her bed was a crate in the small cave under the foot of my sleigh bed, and the door to the bathroom and my computer room with comfortable chair was open. The hall door to the computer room was closed, and she had the run of my bedroom, the living room/dog door, bathroom and computer room. The door to the crate was open, and her food and water were in there. All of my dogs were being perfectly kind to the new one, but I could tell from her body language that she was terrified.

    I turned off the light and went to sleep with Toby and Pearl and Sissy. Hoover was in his place, and Angel was in the computer room when she had come when I was posting last night. The whole time I was on the computer she was pressed against my leg, which I thought was a very good sign.

    When I woke at about 2 or so to do MY evening business, she was in the bathroom with me. As I went back to bed, I could see her head poking out of the bathroom door. Then it started to rain, and we had a bit of thunder. It rained the rest of the night.

    I awoke around eight, and there was NO Angel. The kitchen door to the back porch and the back porch door were open. I don't know if they had been open all night because I had forgotten to close them, or if the dogs had pushed them open, but open they were and Angel was gone. She was nowhere in the house, which is full of dog caves; I had left the door to the back closet open, in case she wanted to hide there, and I have other caves here and there under furniture that she could have hidden in. But she hadn't.

    I'm almost hoarse from singing her name in the backyard, the front yard, the barn, the headquarters, and all over my property. My dogs have been acting all day as if she were around, but she won't come to me. Sometimes, frightened dogs will move under the house in the crawl space, so I got a flashlight and searched through all the openings, but couldn't see anything that looked like her. The dogs also were going into and out of a place that is under a magnolia with almost impenetrable bamboo, and as I looked in as best I could, I couldn't tell if the brown and gray that I saw were leaves or Angel.

    I was desolated to say the least, and having to tell MM was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do.

    Tonight, I started singing to Angel again. This time I thought I heard a sort response back in the windbreak. Then the beagle started doing his hunting call, and all of the dogs went over to a huge pile of downed trees and brush left over from the tornado this spring. In and out they went, over and over, so I got my flashlight and shone it in the cave like parts, and THERE SHE WAS! She wouldn't come to me, but I saw her and know that she is still here.

    I've put food out next to the wash house (I have my washing machine and dryer in an old farm building because I'm terrified of lint fires), and I'm going to leave the door open tonight with her bed and MM's Tshirt snugly under cover, although tonight is absolutely clear and beautiful. I've also opened the door to the hay shed.

    She JUST this minute walked into my bathroom! Hallelujah! And she just this minute went back out the dog door again. I cannot push her at all; when she wants to come it's got to be her idea. She really is very fragile, and I cannot afford to lose her trust.
    Last edited by vineyridge; Dec. 4, 2009, 10:42 PM.
    "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
    Thread killer Extraordinaire

  • #2


    • #3
      I'm sorry that Angel is doing that with Viney, but after all my experiences with her, the fact that she came in the dog door on her own to look for Viney was HUGE for Angel.

      I'm just hopeful that all the work I did with her in the past year will make this transistion easier for her, and I am grateful beyond measure that she is staying on the property (she never did wander far from where she felt safe, even here, her roaming was very limited to just a few farms).

      I'll tell all of you, my very first over-emotional reaction was to jump on the first plane to the closest airport to Viney's place, and help with the search, and bring Angel home.

      Now that I know she felt comfortable enough to come inside Viney's house on her own really made me feel good. Especially when I remember how long it took for me to get her to come into the wide open barn all last year.

      I will tell you that once Angel trusts Viney, her fears will be replaced with happiness, the same that they were here on my farm.

      I know that Viney has a good canine attracting aura about her, and despite this rocky (and rather heartstopping) start, that it will come out okay, and that both Viney and I are blessed that Angel has come into our lives.
      There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


      • #4

        Come on now Angel girl, trust Viney.

        Sending my very best wishes and good vibes.
        Save lives! Adopt a pet from your local shelter.


        • #5
          Am I misunderstanding? Are you saying now that Angel has been found, you are allowing her to come and go at will?

          Yikes, that seems really dangerous, even if I did that with one of my own dogs in a new place.
          Not to blow darts, but I just had to ask and if my understanding is correct, really suggest you not let her come and go at will.
          save lives...spay/neuter/geld


          • #6
            That is quite a frightening experience! Poor Angel. So, let me see if I understand-you brought her home and even though you could tell she was terrified, she was loose in the house with all your dogs? Then the doors were open and she escaped? Is your property fenced in? That seems to be a lot for a fragile dog like Angel to handle all at once. Glad to hear she is at least staying close by and checking in on you. Actually, she seems to be adapting more like a cat than a dog in that matter. Good luck!


            • #7
              In Viney's defense, she didn't just allow Angel to get loose. Knowing Angel as well as I do, she really does do better if she is allowed to decide, without pressure.

              When she first mastered the dog door here, she would go out and stay out for hours and hours in the front yard, and I would have to go and get her for several weeks. Sometimes she would follow the other dogs back in, but not often. And this was after she had been confined to the house for several weeks. She would not come in when I called her in those days.

              Over time, she would come in, check to see that I was still here, and then go back out. She loves to be outside, and loved to lay on the front steps, where she could be outside, yet know where I was.

              It was only in the last two or three weeks that she would come running when I called her.

              So, I think Viney is doing the best that she can with a dog like Angel. I do confirm that Angel is not a confident dog, at least not when interacting with humans, and I think once she begins to play with Viney's other dogs (which I think she will), it will get easier.

              There is no saying that even if Viney had kept her confined to the house for several weeks that Angel would not take off at the first chance that she got, so maybe in a strange way, this is for the best. We will all just have to continue to give both Angel and Viney our long-distance support, and jingles and prayers for a good long happy life for them both.
              There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


              • #8
                I understood that the door was opened by the other dogs and I don't think Viney had time to close any door when Angel came in before she turned around and went out again.

                But if she did come in on her own, it is a good step in the right direction. I think I would also try to keep her in for a while, but she must be hungry/thirsty too. Poor girl! Nobody said it was going to be easy for anyone. However, I have a feeling Viney's dogs are a bit more relaxed than MM's.

                I am sure Viney will get through to Angel, even if once again, it takes a very long time! Come on Angel, nobody is going to hurt you.


                • #9
                  WOW ! Not exactly what I wanted to read. Jingles for Angel ~
                  Zu Zu Bailey " IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE ! "


                  • #10
                    I understand things happen, doors get open and dogs escape. I'm just surprised given Angel's emotional state and the stress of being in a new home that she was loose with other dogs and given so much room to roam so soon. It was different for you at the beginning, MM, Angel chose your place for whatever reason. She has now, as far as she is concerned, been dropped in the middle of nowhere, far from her home. That's why I was taken aback by the situation. Even with a puppy, I find a slow introduction to their environment and other animals is best. We've fostered rescue dogs before and did things differently. But everyone has their own way. Really hope it all works out.


                    • #11
                      It sounds like a difficult situation, but one that is being well handled. I'm glad Angel felt comfortable enough to come back into the house. In a few weeks, she should be settled in. I know how hard it is to get an anxious dog to relax. We rescued a retriever many years ago, and it was almost impossible to get him to stop worrying during his first few months with us.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by FalseImpression View Post
                        I understood that the door was opened by the other dogs and I don't think Viney had time to close any door when Angel came in before she turned around and went out again.

                        But if she did come in on her own, it is a good step in the right direction. I think I would also try to keep her in for a while, but she must be hungry/thirsty too. Poor girl! Nobody said it was going to be easy for anyone. However, I have a feeling Viney's dogs are a bit more relaxed than MM's.

                        I am sure Viney will get through to Angel, even if once again, it takes a very long time! Come on Angel, nobody is going to hurt you.
                        Damn, I had a whole good reply typed up, and lost it.

                        At any rate, I was attesting to the fact that Angel is quick when she wants to get out, and many times she would come in, look at me, I would call her, and she would scoot back out the door.

                        And honestly, if we had not trapped her using the neighbors puppy as bait, she would probably still be living in my pasture under the horse trailer untouched.

                        So, I am encouraged that she had the bravery to go back into Viney's house in less than 24 hours, and if she feels free to come and go as she pleases, that Angel will overcome her fear and learn to love Viney too.

                        She is not like any of the countless dogs that I have owned in the past 45 years, and that includes dogs that we rescued from the pound, and dogs we raised from puppyhood.
                        There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                        • #13
                          I'm glad Angel came back. She sure is trying, isn't she?

                          Viney, could you explain your plan for Angel? I'm most interested in knowing how you will deal with her interdog aggression, esp. as she needs to stay loose, without being crates alone. I'm really looking to learn something here, no rudeness intended.

                          (FWIW I don't mention it much but for the past 10 yrs have rehabbed aggressive dogs- usually the ones that come into the vet's to be PTS. I recently repo'd a pup we adopted out who is biting people....)


                          • #14
                            FP. I truly do not believe that Angel is an aggressive dog. I really do not think it is in her. Something made her click with C., but she never showed signs of aggression with the other dogs IIRC. It was just this instance with one dog. So, I would NOT keep putting the "aggressive" label on her. Nobody seems to be putting that same label on the other dog!

                            I had a black lab (the one who bit my daughter) who was passive aggressive with other dogs. If they did not come near him, he was fine and ignored him. If they came to sniff, watch out! He became that way when two dobermans came out of nowhere and were on top of him. They did not hurt him because their owner called them back on time and they listened. But the harm was done. To me an aggressive dog is one that is looking for a fight, all the time. Absolutely NOT Angel!


                            • #15
                              FP, I am 100% sure that Angel is not aggressive unless provoked, and I am 100% sure that Cubby started the fight at my house, and that Angel had had enough.

                              It may have also been that despite the fact that I have 1/2 acre fenced off for the dogs, that it still was not enough freedom for them to get away from each other when the excitment level of barking at the car in the driveway escallated to the point of turning on each other.

                              I'm sure Viney must be sleeping by now, since she spent the entire day looking for Angel, who is really good at hiding when she wants to. From what she told me about her current dogs, they are much less intense than Cubby is. I will admit that Cubby takes her "jobs" very seriously, and I'm sure that was part of it.
                              There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                              • #16
                                And yes, Angel can be very trying, she is a lesson in learning to use extreme patience (which was not my strong suit before she came into my life). Back on the original thread a good friend of mine suggested that the title of her life story should be "Tested by an Angel". And I think it will be.
                                There are friends and faces that may be forgotten, but there are horses that never will be. - Andy Adams


                                • Original Poster

                                  Since she is willing to use the dog door, which goes onto the front porch, I've moved the dog bed with MM's T shirt, her bowls, her food and her water out there. My dogs free feed inside, so they won't steal the food tonight.

                                  Thing is that I did not think confining her was the way to gain/keep her trust because she is so nearly feral and so timid. She needs to be free in her mind to accept what is here. She trusts me enough to want to stay around, which is where I thought we had gotten when we arrived here, and the fact that she chose to come in tonight to make sure that I was still here is very encouraging. I had hoped that by the end of the trip I would be her new Rock of Stability in the new place, and that seems to have worked out as I hoped. Now, my hope is that she will make friends outside and play with the hounds, who are very laid back and welcoming and they will persuade her to remember that she really is a house dog; although if she wants to be a yard dog, she is free to make that choice.

                                  It's all going to have to be up to her, or she won't blossom and feel safe in her new environment. I do have to say that in all my years of being a dog magnet, I've never met one quite like her.
                                  "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                                  Thread killer Extraordinaire


                                  • #18
                                    At this point we have to trust Viney's instincts, who after all is the one who stepped up to give Angel another chance.
                                    Kudos to both MM and Viney for their efforts.

                                    FYI - I have 2 'feral' barn cats, one who has recently decided, after 3+ years, that he enjoys pets and scritches. The female loves me at feeding time - but very, very cautious - after 3 years. Each comes at their own time, if they completely come at all.
                                    "Never do anything that you have to explain twice to the paramedics."
                                    Courtesy my cousin Tim


                                    • #19
                                      Viney, thank you for your patience and the updates.

                                      If she is loose, would it be possible to get a collar and ID tags with your Ph# and address, just in case she were to wander off? Just a thought. Although the chance of someone else catching her would be slim, AC might be able to if she were cornered, or heaven forbid, if she were hit by a car. Just as some insurance that if she were lost and someone found her, you'd get a call.

                                      Also, make sure the microchip, (if she has one) is updated with your info.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Angel is so far from interdog aggression that it isn't funny. As long as she has a way to escape, she's the kind of dog who will run from confrontation if she has a chance. Or at least that's how she seems to me.

                                        My dogs are used to having other dogs drop in and out through the dog door on a pretty regular basis. I often say that I'm running doggie day care because so many of the neighbors' dogs treat my house as their own. Mine don't really seem to care. I've even had the neighbors' dogs sleep over in my bed with me, sharing with mine.
                                        "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm okay."
                                        Thread killer Extraordinaire