writer, warrior, whack-a-doodle

He's Come A Long Way, Babies

He's Come A Long Way, Babies

May 31, 2011
Posted in: Dogs | Reading Time: 3 minutes

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!

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16 comments on “He's Come A Long Way, Babies”

  1. Happy Birthday and Happy Gotcha Day, Loki! You've come sooo far since you've been with your family. Even since you've been living in Europe! Your willingness to keep trying and not give up are inspiring. And your sense of humor isn't bad either! Have a fun day!

    -Gizmo, Bart and Ruby

  2. Happy birthday and anniversary, Loki! BTW, your Mom forgot to mention how stunning you look in a hat. And to paraphrase The Big Sleep, you are worth a stare, you are trouble! 😉

    -Dr. Liz (who will refrain, for at least a few minutes, from harassing your Mom)

  3. Happy Birthday, Loki - when your humans "gotcha", that was truly the start of the most wonderful new life for you. You and Mrs. WD have done so very well together - we applaud both of you. We hope you have many more wonderful years with your wonderful family.

    Woos ~ Phantom, Thunder, and Ciara

  4. Damn, Loki, you are looking pretty darn handsome and full of yourself. The WD humans are all mushy over your whacky self. Happy Birthday, buddy.


  5. The pictures show what a beloved pet he is! I really believe that Loki could only have made it through life with the two of you. In some ways, he sounds so much like Morgan, and I always love hearing about what he's been up to! Happy Birthday, Loki!

  6. Happy Birthday/Gotcha Day, Loki! Sounds like you had a terrific celebratory weekend - well, except for that bowel stuff which sounds gross even to us. You gonna tell us about it? With illustrations? Too bad there's no olfactory capability on the internets. And where's the picture of you cake? Did your mom make it?

    You and your mom have worked hard and done very well. Mazel tov! And we don't think you're anxious so much as hyper vigilant - just what is wanted in a Formosan Shepherd Dog 🙂

    Jed & Abby

  7. Aww.... I've been following your blog for more than a year. Love your story of Loki and Juno. Loki is so lucky to have you as mom.

    I had a formosan dog (the smaller size type) when I was little in taiwan. They are really intelligent dogs. Wonder if I could find one in US.

    Btw, love the picture of Loki running in snow. Such a handsome pic.

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