Thursday, January 28, 2016

Shy Shiloh: Setbacks are heartbreaking

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Life with Shiloh is tougher than expected.

When progress is measured in inches and setbacks seem to be measured in miles, it's hard to remain optimistic.

We never know what might trigger her fear or how long it will take her to recover. All we can do is give her space, but encourage her to try again.

While she is still overly cautious indoors, she was making wonderful progress outside! Instead of hugging the fence, tail tucked between her legs, and hunched over in fear whenever she went outside, she actually started prancing! And yes, pretty sure she was smiling as she bounced back and forth, inviting me to play with her!

Then an unseen dog barked.

Or a car drove by playing loud music.

Or a neighbor came out of their house two doors down.

Or our resident dog Waffles will see her prancing around and come running over to play.

All of these will send Shiloh scurrying back to the patio door, wanting to go back inside to hide in her crate.

This sends her back to Square One and we have to start coaxing her to go outside instead of her happily following us out.

Big setback two days ago when a neighbor stopped by to say hello. Hearing a stranger's voice sent Shiloh from the bedroom to her crate, crouched low to the ground like she was about to be pounced on. Even though we kept our distance, some kind of switch went off in Shiloh's head and we lost all the previous progress we had made.

She spent most of the next two days in her crate. I actually had to carry her outside twice to go to the bathroom since she refused to go out on her own.

Shiloh in her safe place

If nothing else, at least she's gaining weight and is no longer skin and bones. On the downside, she's getting too heavy for me to carry.

Shiloh walked outside on her own again this morning, but who knows how long that will last?

Encouraging signs are that she's started exploring the rest of the house, will follow me into my office to see what I'm doing, and I actually had to take one of Waffles' blankets away from her that Shiloh had pulled off Waffles' bed to chew on. Shiloh has her own blanket and bed, but she seems to want Waffles things.

While that's encouraging, it also feels like I'm grasping at straws.

Shiloh may need more than we're able to give her. Breaks my heart because she's such a sweet, beautiful girl, but I can no longer deny that she might be too much for us.