The Bodhi Chronicles: Trust

“How long have you had Bodhi?” a dog trainer friend of mine asked today. I was surprised to realize Bodhi’s been with us probably ten months or thereabouts. Seems like yesterday and forever at the same time. From the time I saw a Facebook post about him – a blind dog that needed a new home – to visiting him in foster care to here, today, has been an amazing ride. “He’s a lucky dog,” my friend said. “We’re the lucky ones,” I told her.

When Bodhi first joined us he appeared to have had a life of what our vet surmises was “crushing boredom.” A young dog, born blind, with calluses on his legs, ones you’d expect to see on a senior dog who slept most of the time. I started trying to train Bodhi but what he needed at that time was to just have a life for a change. He was a well-behaved dog anyway…training could wait.

He’s still a well-behaved dog, but I wanted to be able to walk him just a little bit easier, and Marley and I want to be able to take him to the patios of coffee shops, and walks in new places, and let him enjoy his world. A trainer out in Sacramento who has worked with blind dogs recommended bells, and Bodhi gets the bells. But I’m not entirely sure what I’m doing with them, so asked a dog trainer friend of mine to spend some time with us, tell me what she saw, make suggestions. We had a wonderful session with her today, and came away affirmed in the steps we’ve taken and full of great additional ideas for building on our basics. Bodhi had a blast and came home tired and happy, utterly trashed actually, and is sleeping it off.

But I realized something I hadn’t noticed before. Bodhi trusts us. When he first came to us, when he walked he extended his front legs a good distance in front of his body, checking for anything that might trip him up. As I walked him today I realized he doesn’t do that anymore. He seems to trust that we – at the other end of the leash – will keep him from slamming into trees and falling off curbs, and mostly we do. (You cannot zone out while walking a blind dog!)

Bodhi also trusts us enough to run when we help him. He never runs in open spaces. He seems to know that holes in the lawn, or branches in his path and any number of other obstacles could equal a broken leg in no time. But when we take him to a safe field near our house, one he’s come to know, he will run if we ring the bells and call him. Seeing him run, full throttle, is such a joy. You can see the utter happiness on his face. He trusts that we wouldn’t call him across terrain that is dangerous for him.

The progress Bodhi has made in just ten months…the amount we have learned about giving a blind dog a good life…amazes me. When I saw that first Facebook post about a blind dog who had been surrendered to a vet I felt sorry for him, and wanted to help. In the long run, Bodhi never needed any pity, just a good place to call home and the chance to have a real, active, fun life. In exchange he loves the daylights out of us, and apparently trusts us too. It is hard to imagine that you could ask much more from a dog, and why would you want to anyway?

Bodhi in the Snow, cont.

I had to do a little playing with one of Bodhi’s snow shots. Seemed like there was more to do with it, and there’s probably even more if I knew more about Photoshop, but I’m learning. (I erased his leash, how’s that?!) For those of you who don’t know, Bodhi is blind, which is why his eyes look odd here. His eyes are just a blank slate, so they look a little unusual in photographs. Weird eyes aside, you can still tell the boy was having fun!

First version and then my new one below it.

Trapping 2017: Beck Update

 

Beck says to thank you all for your good thoughts on his behalf. He’s doing very well these days. He got to spend a couple days at the vet’s last week, but is back hanging with me for a bit until he heads to a really fabulous foster situation where he will get loads of attention. If there’s one thing Beck loves, it’s loads of attention and he’s not afraid to demand it.

We trapped Beck on Sunday 3/5, and because he was matted beyond belief, and had wounds behind his ears, he went right to surgery the next day, getting neutered along with everything else. By Wednesday he had only eaten a few teaspoons of food, and only grudgingly at that, so back to the vet we went. He was constipated big time, and wasn’t eating because there was no room at the inn for food. He had a mild fever as well, and was pretty lethargic. (We didn’t really know he was lethargic then…but we do now!) After some kitty enemas and appetite stimulants for a couple days, he was back with me.

He is a totally different cat than the one we trapped. He is full of energy, as befits a three year old cat, and eating like a pig and pooping daily. (It doesn’t take much to make me happy, does it?!) He is very sweet, but also quite demanding when it comes to attention. Getting anything done in the office while he’s out of his crate is pretty much out of the question. He will, however, let me work for a little while if he can sit on the chair with me. I get the front half of the chair, and he gets the back half.  And then he stands up and puts his paws on the back of my shoulders to see what I’m doing on the computer, and work becomes impossible. He loves behind held – like a baby, or propped up on my shoulder – all good to him.

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His ear wounds are healing up, and he’s getting a little peach fuzz to start that Persian fur coat going again. He loves nothing more than head bumps and pets around the face and chin, and he adores the cat dancer. We had no idea how closed down he was when we trapped him, and it is lovely to see a sweet and happy cat emerge from the one who was lost or dumped, or whatever it was that happened to him. He probably wouldn’t have made it if he hadn’t been lucky enough to be trapped.

He heads off to a perfect foster situation on Monday where he will be appropriately adored and enjoyed (and did I mention adored…he likes being adored), and from there to a rescue and a real home. Someone is going to be very lucky to have this guy as part of their household. Happy life, sweet Beck!

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