My boyfriend lost his beloved shepherd mix. “Lulu” in December of 2012. He half-heartedly looked at other dogs throughout 2013, but Mike always had an opinion about our selections- too similar to Lulu, not similar enough to Lulu, it was a prime number on Tuesday in a leap year, you name it. One day, I sent Mike a link to this picture and said “I know I said I wouldn’t send any more pictures but here’s ‘Cherry’."
|Heidi at the shelter|
I don’t even know why I sent him this picture. Anyone who is remotely fluent in dog language will tell you that this puppy is terrified by her first 10 weeks of earthly experiences. But boys will be boys and I was greeted with a text of “Can I borrow your crate? Do you want to meet a puppy?” So, we ended up at the shelter 10 minutes before closing and we couldn't find her in the kennel. The shelter staff assured me that she’s there but in a 3x5 run, where can you hide? Turns out the answer is under the cot in the back corner.
“Cherry” was renamed “Heidi” by Mike’s niece because she hid under and/or behind any available surface. Then Mike had to go out of town and he was going to board her in a traditional facility. Knowing Heidi and how soft she was, I knew that experience would scar her in ways that even the most diligent owner could not help a puppy recover from. Instead I called Kari and asked if she would help us with a shy puppy.
To say Kari 'helped' Heidi sounds so trite and hollow. Kari did an intense 10-day 'stay & train' at her home, which was so much less stressful than a boarding kennel. Heidi became fast friends with Kari's Lab, Paisley, and having another dog around really helped Heidi learn to play and not be scared of other dogs. With Kari's patience and guidance, Heidi developed coping skills so that she was confident to handle the world around her. Kari desensitized her to scary things, helped her feel safe while she was training, and gave her so much love she didn't want to come home.
In fact, after the time with Kari, she jumped in
a raft and went on a white water rafting trip with Mike. Heidi
spent 10 days with Kari when she was 16 weeks old and it ultmately and profoundly changed the trajectory
of her life. Kari’s not a 'miracle worker' or a 'dog whisperer'. But she used dog-friendly, positive, confidence building techniques to lay the majority of the foundation for Heidi to become trusting, confident, and happy. After that, it was up to us to do the work to build that bond and trust with
Heidi. If you do that, the results will blow your mind and your puppy will thank you for the rest of her life! Katy and Mike
|Paisley and Heidi|