This weekend we celebrated Loki's third anniversary with us and his 4th birthday. I'm one of those lame people that combines celebrations. Hey, when everyday is a celebration, who needs to add more, right?
The three years have been a tremendous learning curve for all of us. Loki has taught me more than any other dog.
I've made more mistakes with him than any dog and our relationship has gone through ups and downs. He holds grudges and it takes him a long time to shrug things off. For a dog with his anxiety and his sensitivity to change, I should not have been able to change homes with him, let alone countries. But he's managed to find his groove. I'll never forget the first time he saw cows and horses in a pasture far, far away. He yipped and jumped and cowered and lunged and we weren't even closer than 1000 feet. Today he can walk past a pasture of most farm animals, unleashed, somewhat confidently, but more importantly, without hystrionics or attempts to engage other than a few gazes. He's made me proud.
For a dog afraid of 1-inch waves in a lake, it blew my mind to see him immediately take to the snow. He's intense and playful, brave and fearful, silly and serious. And anxious. Oh the anxiety. It's his achillies heel. If only he had 1/10th less anxiety, life would be so much easier on us all, including himself. The flip side of the coin is his anxiety only teaches me to be calm in the storm, which is exactly what a dog without much confidence needs.
The two men in my life. I suspect Loki likes Mr. Wild Dingo much better than he likes me. I'm so not even lying, nor am I hurt by it. Trust me, I have proof! Even so, he prefers me on the end of his leash, over anyone else, even Mr. Wild Dingo. It's evident when he yips or throws a fit when anyone else takes his leash. It has much more to do with expectations and a clear communication than it does preference of person. After three years, I've finally learned to read him and he's finally found a way to tell me when he's nervous so he can get a job to do and be rewarded rather than act in a way that results in correction. And that alone has made our relationship stronger.
Thankfully, he's highly intelligent and enjoys working which makes it easier to help him overcome his fears. He had a rough start in life. But he's on his own path and on his own pace. With each day and each challenge he builds confidence. And we share his challenges too, as they challenge us in patience.
And since we spent the weekend drinking bottles of wine and eating the most delicious bird doused in Calvados liquer along with bowel from Normandy--that's not a typo, it's a Normand delicacy-- at our French professor's home, we made it up to Loki with a nice helping of ice cream and pie for his celebratory dessert.
Happy Anniversary Loki. You light up our life!