The first days of having Misty home have gone wonderfully… too good to be true as a matter of fact. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will continue to be everything I had hoped it would be plus a bag of chips for C<3 and Misty, as opposed to a short lived honeymoon phase. 😉 We shall see for ourselves in due time.
C<3 has been in K9 heaven with her new companion. She’s rose to the occasion with pride so far in handling Misty and caring for her. Beginning with last night, which was Misty’s very first night with us, things went smoothly. Upon arrival home with Misty, we spent a lot of time getting to know her. The children accompanied Misty around while she sniffed out the house and met our pets. Misty shyly introduced herself to all three cats and Oliver, our wire-haired Chihuahua mix. They all meticulously sniffed one another and the current fur members each appeared to have given Misty clearance for family membership, LOL.
Once the introductions were made and the children settled down from the excitement, Carys began caring for Misty. She thoughtfully prepared Misty’s dinner, bundled up to take her to go potty outside in the cold rain, and then returned inside. Once inside, Carys took it upon herself to grab a towel from the kitchen to dry Misty’s paws and the floor by the door! After this, they made her their way to the bathroom to brush teeth and get ready for bed cooperatively at my suggestion. All of this was quite an amazing improvement from our typical evening routine, as C>3 usually struggles significantly with the transition to bedtime. Just having Misty by her side, along with the distractions of caring for her and having a “partner”, seemed to alleviate every bit of the usual transition overwhelm for C<3, which more often than not leads to intense meltdowns.
After the bathroom visit, off they went to bed with one another, virtually unassisted. I briefly appeared to tuck the two of them in and that was all she wrote! I waited and waited for the usual “MOOOOMMMMY”. It never came. I waited and waited for C<3 to appear by my bedside to complain about her worries of the night… the fear of zombies, stitches, what happens to our bodies when we die, when is the next dentist appointment and will there be shots, being scared because there’s blood in our bodies… She never appeared. I waited to hear the crying because she “can’t drink her milk with the lights on”, and Livi keeps her nightlight on. She never cried. I wondered if there would be any nightmares overnight. There weren’t. As it turned out, there was never a peep. All through the house not a creature stirred, not even a mouse. I felt like pinching myself to see if the silent calm was real.
Things continued on just as smoothly today. C<3 appeared in my room between 7-7:30am in the morning to let me know that Misty was perfect all night long and that she was going to take her to go potty outside. Off they went, back they came…. And independently put themselves back to bed! OMG. Surely I was dreaming!!!… Nope… Totally real.
About 40min later they awoke for the day. I got up to make coffee and let Oliver outside. Once in the kitchen, C<3 and Misty followed behind. C<3 took it upon herself to feed Misty breakfast. About an hour later, I reminded C<3 that pups need to go potty shortly after eating. Off they went again! Success. Once back inside and warmed up, I began to show C<3 and M how to train Misty using the clicker and treats. C<3 was into training with the treats, but wasn’t into using the clicker. Fortunately M was super excited to use the clicker, so they worked together for what was Misty’s first “official” training session. In just about a half of an hour, Misty was a “Sit, Lay, and Come” champion. No joke. So on went the day, full of sit, lay and down fun. And speaking of M, C<3 and Misty are so lucky to have M as a big sister. M is my 12 year old daughter and is truly an amazing soul. She unconditionally loves and accepts C<3 day in and day out, works cooperatively with C<3 to show her how to accomplish things in a magical way when noone else can seem to get through, rarely gets annoyed by C<3’s little-sister nuances, and serves daily as a true and inspirational mentor for C<3 to emulate.
After lunch, rest time approached and C<3 was excited to “nap” with Misty. Once again and much to my surprise, C<3 independently put herself down for a rest with Misty, where together they spent about 45 mins of quiet time. After resting, Misty took a break to explore more around the house while C<3 took some time on her own to watch a show on the tablet. Success was STILL. GOING. STRONG.
In the late afternoon, we ventured off to the neighbor’s house for a playdate. Hesitantly, I decided to bring Misty along as she’d been doing so amazingly well. I was slightly nervous however as this would be our first outing together. I was unsure of how Misty, (or us as a unit), would do when outside the security of the home environment… I seriously had flashbacks of taking the babies out and about for the first time after having brought them home from the hospital as newborns. Hahaha… It was certainly not exactly comparable, but for whatever reason, in my mind the association was made. Fortunately, the playdate turned out to be a wonderful success. C<3 was attentive to her friends, cooperative, polite and took good care of Misty throughout. Because things went so smoothly in fact, that I was able to concentrate on working with Misty to “lay by C<3” while C<3 worked at a table for quite some time making cookies with her friends. (Typically, C<3 requires a great deal of my attention, if not all of it, to help her regulate emotions, keep focused on tasks, play appropriately with friends, and stay tuned in to the experience.)
Much to my surprise, C<3 stayed seated for the entire cookie making activity! Additionally, little seven month old Misty stayed right by C<3’s side the entire time as well! C<3 was actually able to complete the cookie making instead of abandoning the activity out of boredom or loss of interest. Her sense of focus seemed higher than normal and she stayed tuned in to the experience. I was extremely shocked.
The end of the playdate was lots of fun, and proved to be the last hurrah. All four girls took Misty upstairs, decked her out in tons of hair pretties, and waltzed her downstairs for a “poodle parade”. It was incredibly sweet. We capped off the playdate with cleaning up with our friends, (a blanket policy of mine when we go to playdates). C<3 participated in the process without too much of an issue. With Misty nearby, C<3 managed to keep it together enough to avoid an overwhelm meltdown, which was far more than I could have asked for on our first outing together with Misty. So, long story long… The first, successful outing with a dog is in the books for C<3, and the first, successful day of work is in the books for Misty. My heart could literally explode.
Once we got home from the playdate, C<3 again fed Misty dinner and took her out to go potty. The bedtime transition was again smooth sailing. We’re now two for two on a successful, self-directed transition to bedtime and we have gone a full 24 hours without a single overwhelm meltdown. What wonderful victories!
We are one day closer to green pastures.