Since then, they have settled in well. About a week and a half after their arrival, the volunteers who were mainly responsible for them in MT came for a visit. Bruce and Joni are warm and caring folks who obviously won the hearts of these dogs! I was on the phone with Joni- and they must have heard her. All of them came running out of the dog houses and focused on me with intensity! When I told Joni this, it was obvious she did not believe me. However, when they arrived the dogs all greeted them with such enthusiastic joy that she had no choice but to believe me then! It was a giant step forward for both the dogs and myself. I was able to see how much progress they had made with these wonderful people and the dogs were able to see that Bruce and Joni had trust in me.
Last weekend, Zorro, the most social of them, allowed me to leash her and lead her around. She had allowed this when in MT too, but has been so shy with me here that I had not pushed her much. That day, the weather was finally warm and calm. After quite some time, she relaxed and I felt it was time to make a move, so out came the leash. Later in the week, I took her in the car to the classes I teach, during a time when I knew there would be few dogs to overwhelm her. She was afraid, but she handled things well. She watched with interest as another dog and her handler practiced the agility course. It was major headway!
Today, a young volunteer came with me to work with them. She sat in a chair and I picked Zorro up and placed her carefully in the arms of this young woman. Zorro was initially uncomfortable with having to sit in the lap of a stranger, but eventually she relaxed and allowed Sonya to pet her and even cuddled a bit! Meanwhile, I was attempting to get the last collar off. I had been trying to get the collar off of Ethel, it was too tight and was concerning me. She resisted allowing me to touch her near her head. The past few weeks I have been petting her, but only after many treats and she would often stiffen and shrink away. Today, I was not giving in! Crawling halfway into her dog house, I placed my hand on her and waited for her to relax. When she did, I softly spoke to her, I began stroking her tummy, inching my way up to her neck. After around 30 minutes of this, finally she would allow me to fiddle with the collar without flinching away or fighting me, Zorro was in there too, and I think her presence helped calm Ethel. After several more minutes I was able to loosen the collar enough to remove it! SUCCESS!