It has been one year since my fearful foster dog Raven (formerly Adele) was adopted. I have kept in touch with her adopters and am thrilled to report that she is making good progress. Here is an update from her family.
We absolutely love Raven. As you may know, she was presented as a formerly abused dog, which we have had experience with in the past. However, after meeting her and shortly after adopting her, it became obvious to us and our vet that she was probably a feral dog who had suffered some sort of trauma while on the run.
Raven has really come a long way in the past year. She is so sweet and is very happy. She always wags her tail and is never far from us. She now trusts all immediate family members and even likes and looks for affection from us (funny how something that comes so natural to our other dogs is such a monumental accomplishment for her). Raven is still scared of visitors, but will at least stay in the same room rather than run and hide as she did during the first six – eight months. She seems to like kids and teens and does not seem as afraid of them as adults. Raven loves her four dog brothers and sisters, as well as the cat. She really loved the litter of puppies we had this past winter. We kept one of the pups and she plays with her all the time.
Raven loves to be petted and have her ears scratched, but it still has to be on her terms. If we try to pet her when she did not come to us, her immediate reaction is to jump back. But if we call her, she runs right over to get some love. She loves treats (this was huge, as it took us about a month for her to take any food from our hands), and is right at our feet when we are eating – hoping for a little snack. Raven does not love to go on walks (she is very jumpy and scared), but likes riding in the car. She is absolutely terrified of flashlights and hides whenever we need to use one.
We love seeing Raven make a little more progress every day. She recently started sleeping on her dog bed, and as silly as it sounds, my husband and I were very excited for her. She slept in our room with the other dogs from the beginning, but would not come in the room until we were in bed with the TV and lights out. Now she comes in with us and goes right to her dog bed (she used to just lay next to the dog bed).
Again, it is funny that each accomplishment Raven makes towards becoming a “normal” dog is cause for celebration. Our adult son, who does not live with us, recently stayed at the house to dog sit and had to call while we were on vacation to tell us Raven took a treat from his hand for the first time. He was very excited! Raven has recently become a bit of a watch dog, so we know she now thinks of our house as home.
She just went to the vet and is very healthy and weighs a perfect 80 pounds. We still have her on the anti-anxiety medication, as we have tried to stop it but she seems to get a little more jumpy. Our vet said it is very safe to keep her on the medication and it really does improve her quality of life.
We really love Raven and feel so happy we were able to give this sweet girl a home where she feels safe. We are not sure if she will ever come full circle and become a full trusting, happy-go-lucky lab. But it does not matter to us. We are proud of the progress she has made and continue to celebrate all of the little daily achievements. I could go on and on about the accomplishments that still give us hope she will eventually forget the trauma she suffered.