Time is the best healer. But for now: fake it till you make it. Closely watched by Lily, I pretend everything is fine. And it will be. I’m not going to regret wasting my time on dwelling on the past.  Lily’s confused and went back to being timid and quiet. I am going to socialise her more (we have a park where all dog walkers from my area go, I know when it’s busier and we’ll teach Lily it’s fun to play with more dogs). She depended on Ardbeg quite a lot, she was really brave with him around so I can’t afford to waste the good job he’d done. I’m teaching her more tricks to stimulate her brain, we’re leaving her for some time on her own to avoid separation anxiety. She has toys to keep her occupied (Kong, if anyone knows something better, please let me know, I’m not promoting one brand on purpose). We use dognition.com for some games (and research). It’s not free, but if you do coursera Dog Emotion and Cognition Duke University course (which is free unless you want to pay for the certificate) you’ll find that adding: /mooc enables you to have free access to 2 sections.IMG_1037

Lily is a smart girl (I’m sure all dogs are) and she’s learning a new trick in about 30 to 60 seconds. Yes, I time us. I only ever use positive conditioning. Which means, if either of us gets bored or frustrated we end the exercise. A session is never longer than 5 minutes. I don’t care if she learns a trick or not, it’s more a bonding exercise, designed to give her attention and make her happy. The fact she learns so quickly is an added bonus.

We used our time wisely, me and Ardbeg, so there’s no ‘should have’-we spent every minute given to us being happy together, playing, learning, exploring. I’m going to carry on doing it with every single dog I will ever have. Because we all die. And it will be too late then.


20 thoughts on “Time

  1. Good ideas, dogs definitely grieve, my mum’s GSD was bereft when she lost her other dog, she spent loads of quality time with her, new toys and tricks, but she still suffers from separation anxiety – I’ll get her a kong for her birthday…the dog not my mother…

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    1. Sometimes (because we grieve, too) we crave for the other dog’s company, all the cuddles and keeping the dog close all the time might contribute to separation anxiety. It’s better to ‘entertain’ than ‘comfort’ (even if it’s not easy). Toys that keep the dog occupied are good because they make him/her less dependent on our constant presence. Animals have emotions, you’re absolutely right, there’s lots of research into it (albeit it’s a relatively new concept). I hope both the dog and your mother will cope well and will have lots of wonderful adventures together. Hugs for all of you 🙂

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    1. Lily is quite dependent on us, she’s one of the dogs that’s sensitive to emotions-she wasn’t socialised as a puppy, well she wasn’t out for the first 3 years of her life, so if I break down I’ll damage all of Ardbeg’s hard work . She deserves to be a normal, happy dog. All dogs deserve that. Displaying my grief wouldn’t be fair (thus all the posts here, I can’t bottle it up all the time, I’m only a human…) xxx

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      1. Hugs to you. Find a place every once in a while where you can be away from Lily and have a few minutes to break down and cry your heart out. It will help you, and Lily, in the long run.

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  2. marvellous work with Lily and the most important thing is to keep her happy. hopefully she will soon come out of her shell and find more friends. praying for her and all other hurt and damaged dogs who need help and care

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    1. Thank you 🙂 Lily’s doing very well, she amazes me all the time, fortunately dogs don’t dwell in the past, so I don’t believe any dog is ‘damaged for life’ as I’ve often heard people say. It might be more difficult to work with dogs like her, but it’s also more rewarding – well, at least I find it so.


      1. I too don’t believe in them being damaged, I meant those ‘damaged’ people who rammed into her space! they need a lot of help actually. rewarding it must certainly be to work with dogs in pain and grief. something mysterious emerges from those encounters as if they put their secret grace inside our lives


      2. oh, no, I didn’t mean you think that! The thing is, I work with many dogs looking for homes and when there’s one like Ardbeg or Lily, who spend months or years in the shelter and have very little chances to find a home I take them. People often think they are ‘broken’ but, of course, they are not!


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