The Story of Effie: Encouragement Already

October 30, 2013 | By Mellie Test

Today is Thursday, the 6th day we've known our sweet Effie. I've been following Abby's advice, and it seems to be helping.

[caption id="attachment_718" align="alignright" width="150"] Effie loves the rope toy[/caption]

I can tell that when I walk Effie downstairs, shooing and gently nudging my dogs out of the way, she's grateful to be left alone. I can tell she's relieved that she doesn't have to make her own judgment calls or be on guard. Instead, she trustingly skips alongside me, glancing upward to meet my eyes.

At this point, we've solidified a routine for both going out and coming in from the back yard. I hold Effie's leash and go first, firmly shooing Stucky and Ronan out of our path. Effie waits, watching me. When the path is clear, I call to Effie, and we quickly trot to the kitchen door (or back inside, heading directly for the staircase and zooming upstairs). I loosely keep a hold on her leash as a precaution, should anyone decide to lunge.

Here are three incredibly heartening things to mention:

  1. [caption id="attachment_719" align="alignright" width="150"] Giggling as they touch noses[/caption]

    My son absolutely adores Effie. We've been sleeping on the floor with her at night in my son's room (for the last few weeks, my son and I have been camping on the floor amidst blankets and pillows, anyway, although downstairs in the living room). She's comfortable enough to sleep on her back, legs stretched long and lean belly exposed. To a toddler! My son sweetly calls to her when he sees her using pet names like "Effsies" and "Little Ef." He giggles as she snuffles his neck and plants generous kisses on his face. In contrast, Ronan has always been a bit overwhelming to my son. Doggie kisses aren't nearly as thrilling when you're nearly bowled over each time (While Ronan is a gentle and well-meaning giant, I watch him closely and redirect his attention away from my son when it's become too much).

  2. This morning, after I'd walked Ronan and Stucky, I let Ronan into the back yard. I brought Effie downstairs, allowing her to brush by Stucky. Effie looked at him as we passed, seeming interested. That response piqued my curiosity, in turn.

    [caption id="attachment_721" align="alignright" width="150"] Effie and Stucky, gently curious[/caption]

    We slowed down to reverse direction, and Stucky followed us, tail wagging uncertainly while he sniffed. We stopped walking, and I allowed Effie to turn towards Stucky, meeting his nose with hers. Both tails began to furiously wave. Effie energetically play-bowed and quick darted forward and backward (to the limits of the leash I continued to hold). Stucky returned her play-bow and made a quick dash himself. Dueling banjos, anyone?

  3. Although it could have been a rush in the process (Abby cautioned me to keep things slow and methodical, especially when I'm so eager to have a happy household), I allowed Stucky and Effie to chase each other for around five seconds. At that point (they were just beginning!), I created space between them to calm them down.

While I've mentioned before that I generally trust Stucky (and thus you may wonder why I hesitate), I am continually reminding myself that Effie's still under a lot of stress, whether to not she seems calmer and more carefree. It's an internal, physical, hormonal fact.

I am anticipating this weekend when I plan to allow Effie and Stucky to spend incrementally more time together. I can already tell that once they trust each other, they're going to be amazing playmates. She's the perfect goofball to have added to my crazy clan!



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