by Vicky Z
Baloo Cookie Weekend Helper
Baloo thoroughly enjoyed his first Christmas with his new family. Knowing he may have already been alone out in the cold at this time last year made it extra special for us.
He participated in our annual cookie baking weekend and was quite diligent in making sure all the messy floors were promptly cleaned, especially when peanut butter was involved! Thanks to Auntie Juli for introducing him to peanut butter balls ;) But he has amazing manners and left all cookies where they were unless they were offered or fell on the floor (which is his by default!).
Christmas morning found the four of us humans, the two cats and Baloo by the tree...well Baloo was partly under the tree and Minou the cat was completely under it behind all the gifts. And there Baloo stayed for the entire gift opening ceremony. He was so content to be with his family, well that and his baked gourmet dog treats helped too! The bit of turkey gravy on his kibble that night ended the perfect first Christmas for this wonderful boy!
He is doing so well on his walks...he is still driven by his sense of smell but responds quickly when corrected with the leash. Our youngest who is 7 can now comfortably take him on walks. And boy does he love them! Anytime he sees another dog coming or sees one in the distance, he whines and whines while trying to "hop" around from excitement. Once he gets close enough, he smells them and is ready to continue on his way.
We have been going to our local dog park with his “cousin” Pyrs, Lacy and Mishka (Bailey the wanna be Pyr too) and he loves it. The park is 3.2 acres in a conservation area. The first thing he does each time after doing his "business" is to walk the perimeter. During this time, I am none existent in his world as his sense of smell and tracking kicks in. There is no recall, no acknowledgement that I am his human... or that other humans exist for that matter - LOL!
Once he is done his perimeter check (as I call it, it may take him 2-3 laps by the way) he is off looking for friends to play with. He seems to really like the mid size runners like the English Spaniels at the park. Should any dogs start rough housing, Baloo makes it his business to “chest” his way in and send them to their neutral corners. Both he and Lacy are known as the “United Nations Leaders” of the dog park.
In the past when it was time to go home, I would have to chase him down and hook the leash to go, but these past weeks we have turned a corner, all I have to do is yell out "Baloo time to go home!" and he comes running to the gate with me.
When given larger treats and bones, he paces and paces until he can find a safe place to bury them. If someone lets him out with it, it has been in the garden… if not, there is always a pile of stuffed animals somewhere he can hide them or he pulls back the sheets on my bed, sticks the treat there, then noses the sheets back up. It is always a pleasure to go to bed and turn ones face into a denta bone or greenie…yum! But again, we just turned a corner where he went out into the yard and dug up one of his treats and proceeded to eat it. His comfort level is growing by the day!
The cats have really come around. After hiding for 10 months from our previous dog, treat time will find all three together in the kitchen within 3 square feet of each other. Candy the youngest cat rubs against Baloo every morning. Minou on the other hand, still whacks at Baloo as he goes by, just ‘cause he can. But even these two have been nose to nose a lot more these past days. Progress! Minou is certainly grabbing back the reins as alpha animal now that he realizes that Baloo is such a marshmallow dog!
Baloo does not go up on the furniture and the children have to really coax him up on the one couch he is allowed on for snuggles. That being said, we got him a dog bed and most days when I have to see clients, that is where he retreats to until I come home.
He had a long hard winter on his own last year, and it is truly beautiful watching him realize that it is okay to be happy, warm and relaxed with us.
Thank you again for bringing us together with this beautiful boy, my life would certainly have a huge gap without him! I have to go now…just got THE PAW into my back to remind me that it is time for his walk!
The Zanatta Family