When we drove away from the Sunshine Coast branch, we were all pretty nervous. Emma was leaving the shelter, her home of several months, with two strangers who she had met only an hour ago. We were worried that Emma would continue her running away behaviour, something that she had done many times from her last two homes.
Emma's caretakers at the shelter, had done a great job of vetting us first and then giving us a thorough briefing about Emma, her many strengths and this one ongoing flaw. She was hopeful that because we were two retired people with lots of time, the placement would go well.
Well it has, amazingly well, right from the beginning. Emma weathered the ten-hour trip back to Victoria without complaint. She slept through the night beside our bed as if she belonged there. She was enthusiastic about our large extended family with babies and children and dogs. We were particularly impressed with her ability to walk on the leash without much tugging and to get on with a wide range of characters at the dog park nearby. But most of all we were happy to find that she came immediately when we called her, even if she was having a fine romp with another pooch. We thought she was ready for our country home on Saltspring with its miles of woods and trails.
From our first walk in the hills behind our home with Emma off leash we knew we had no fear of her running away. She careened through the woods before scampering back to see where we were. And she comes immediately when we call her, even if she is engaged in another favourite pursuit, sniffing around.
Our vet, Deryk, told us about adopting a dog with the very same running away problem. The first time he left the dog alone, she panicked, found an open window and ended up on the roof, a peculiar sight to behold when Deryk drove up several hours later. Deryk figured out that his dog was anxious about being by herself, missing her owners rather than running away from them. Leaving the dog alone for short times without making a fuss remedied the problem in time.
We will take this advice but for now we have decided to keep close to Emma. And apparently she has come to the same decision, trotting after us, room to room and only going outside if we are with her. Gradually she is showing signs of feeling more at home, eating more (although still not much), beginning to play some simple games and finding her way onto the black leather chair (briefly before slinking off quickly when we spied her).
Recently, we lost our beloved border collie cross, Skye, after 15 and a half years. We knew we wanted another dog, the same cross breed if possible and surprisingly we found Emma on Pet on the Net, looking something like Skye and even from the same area of the province (a "Sechelt border collie"). Still we wondered how any other could fill the place that Skye occupied for so many years. Wisely Emma didn't try but instead found another vacant spot in our heart. Hopefully she doesn't plan to run away from it anytime soon.
Marilyn, Brian and Emma