This is Miss Abigail.
On Saturday morning, Miss Abigail was happy – but hopeful – at Rezq Dogs in Dodson, Montana. By Saturday evening, she was miserable and terrified, on a five-hour-long drive from Dodson back to Bozeman – at high speed, in heavy rain and winds, and with a bald guy sitting beside her, attempting to reassure her that she was going to be okay. It wasn’t working very well – she seemed to be in Cheyne-Stokes breathing for the entire trip home. I couldn’t believe that a creature could maintain those stress levels – that respiration rate, for one thing – for that long. But we had to get her home.
Abby is between 12 and 18 months old; she was born in a kennel on the Fort Belknap reservation, with an owner who raises sled dogs for the mush market; for some reason, nobody was interested in Abby, and she almost went feral; no human interaction, and I’m not sure who was feeding her or if she was foraging.
She came to RezQ Dogs after having been found with a bullet in her right shoulder; after surgery and physical therapy, she lived with RezQ from October until yesterday. (I cannot for the life of me imagine why she wasn’t bought from the breeder; she’s purebred Siberian Husky, and absolutely gorgeous. But I can now understand why she wasn’t adopted for four months, and there are two components here; there is a very small adoption pool in Dodson, as there aren’t any sizable communities closer than Great Falls, and RezQ was being very picky about where they placed her; several applications were rejected. We were lucky! 🙂
I decided to drive up to Dodson via the six-hour route, and home via the five-hour; I did not want to get my hopes up on Abby being our dog, so I hedged my investment; I figured that we’d make the drive to “see as much of Montana as possible” and, just maybe, pick up a puppy. But from the moment she came around the corner at the kennel, my heart was captive.
We finally got her home Saturday night, and then had much to do with trying to get her settled in. I realized on Sunday morning that I’d never spent an entire day so singly devoted to a single purpose; when any of my children were born, there were many other things to do on those days that were associated with having new little blessings, but many events happened normally. I’ve done marathons and a half Ironman, but on those days we went out to eat or spent time with friends.
But Saturday, from morning prayers to nighttime review, was all about Abby.
And it’s been all about Abby since then, with the rare diversion. We are tethered by a 30 inch lead; she’s having to learn that I am her person, even though she’d much rather have Ethel be her person – Kim’s softer voice and hand and manner really appeal to her more than my whiskey-and-cigarette vocal chords and man-motions (I am not feeling any jealousy about this at all. I’m way too spiritually advanced for that). Also, Miss Abby hasn’t actually pooped since she became a Puckett, so I’m keeping her close for that eventuality. A three-day Huskypoop would not be a casual event.
She sleeps in a crate on my side of the bedroom, and currently she’s on the Learn to Earn program – we’re not actually feeding her in a bowl, but she is living on treats when she does the right thing.
Last night, we watched Sergeant York (“When you comin’ home, Alvin?”) and at the start of the movie, she was excited by watching the screen; then she became agitated. We thought it might because of the gunshots in the opening scene (although, to be fair, how much like an actual gunshot would the sound effects of a 1940’s movie be, anyway:) – but then she calmed back down and by the final battle scenes, she was asleep. She’s learning to sleep through pretty much anything – this morning, I had her in the training room with me while I was doing a 90 minute bike ride; at the start, she was excited by all of the new stuff to sniff, then seemed to be agitated by the trainer noise and motion – after a half hour, she was laying down between my bike and the wall.
She seems to be pretty adaptable and resilient – more so than I would be, in her situation. She’s going to be fine, I’m sure.
Although she seems to want to be Ethel’s dog (although, again, I’m not the least bit jealous. This doesn’t bother me at all. I won’t bring it up again. No, really! : )