When I first met Bebe, I had low expectations for her improvement at the shelter. After all, she had been living as a stray near the Berkeley Marina for some time and was so fearful of people that it took a week for animal control officers to catch her!
Frightened and confused, Bebe barked defensively at anyone that tried to approach her. I wanted to bond with her, but how could I when she wouldn't even let me near her? With a few short visits every day (with either some natural balance treats or a small bowl of wet food), Bebe eventually "granted me permission" to enter her kennel. I rested her kuranda bed against the wall and spread a blanket out on the floor, for I was preparing to be there for a while.
She avoided me at first - staying on the outside of the kennel, practically clinging to the kennel door for dear life. 5 minutes went by and there she remained. 10 minutes went by until she felt relaxed enough to lie down. Another 5 minutes and she had slowly inched towards the center of the kennel. With each additional minute, Bebe crawled on her belly toward me until she finally reached the promise land: a lap to lay her head upon.
Bebe looked up at me with her expressive face, heaved a sigh, and took a nap.
For the following week we had a routine: getting reacquainted in the kennel, walking into the laundry room and becoming familiarized with all of the noises and smells, walking up into the bath tub (but only for a few moments!), and finally walking outside to sit in front of the shelter in the sun. By the end of that week - I gave Bebe her first bath and she felt brave enough to go for her first real walk.
Of course, a few days of real walks and we find out she's in heat! Back into the kennel she went where she was forced to endure boring kennel visits and no sunshine. :(
But with each day Bebe became less frightened, less shy, and more relaxed and confident. More volunteers began to visit with her, too (thanks you guys!), and now Bebe is a "yellow dot" volunteer favorite, I think. So easy to walk and such a pleasure to spend time with.
It has been a few weeks since I last walked Bebe (I was away for a couple of weeks!), but today I finally had the chance before someone else got to her. :) It felt so nice to have Bebe back in my arms, for I did miss her.
I hope this fabulous dog finds a family that will cherish her for the wonderful gem of a dog she is.