This past weekend was Easter Sunday.. the weather was perfect. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and we had warmer temps without the muggy humidity! After spending the first half of my morning with family, I dedicated the rest of the day to the pups.
If there is one thing Millie has learned from being a part of our family is that life is fun and it's not so scary to explore the unknown... as I can remember the days when she would be scared to leave the room.
We visited Millie and Lola's local dog park before taking our play time back to the house. This is where Millie really lets loose and lets her personality shine. I think only a few chosen people actually have seen her at her most vulnerable, goofy state.. and if you are one of those few, consider yourself part of her 'pack'..
She is still extremely shy around strangers and always keeps her distance.. and that is okay! I have grown to love that about her. She is loyal to those she knows and trusts and does not seek out attention from strangers as Lola does.
I know, by far.. one of her favorite past-times is being outside. It doesn't matter if she is doing nothing but laying on the back deck. She just loves hearing the birds, feeling the warm sun on her back as she guards over her 'territory'.
There have been times I will look out the window to check on her and she will be laying by the steps on the deck, looking over the yard.. her head up alert as if she is protecting her home.
I know she loves her home here, her affections and actions remind me daily... and I must say, I know Millie's presence has given our home a warmth that would not have if she was not a part of it.
She reminds us to relax and have fun with the ones you love and trust the most...
It is literally 4 months to the day since Millie has joined into her forever home with us. As many of you are already familiar with what a hot mess she was and untrusting of everyone earlier on. We have since then set a lot of goals over the past couple months.. where as with the majority of 'normal' dogs, these goals may seem like a walk in the park.. but to Millie, these goals are huge milestones.
Not only is she preparing for her first 5k in April for the annual Mutt Strut ( where as she use to not be able to complete one mile )but she is also working on her social skills at the Homewood Library.. as before she would pee out of fear and collapse when approached by strangers.
Millie met so many sweet, caring children who would come up to read their favorite books to her. She didn't quite know what to think of these little humans who she's never encountered before. She stood quietly as they practiced reading. Her head was held low and her tail was tucked beneath her.
I sensed she was a little scared but was still trusting of these children as she stood on. I was proud of her! I realize that there are still going to be new situations that will make her feel uncomfortable and unsure of her surroundings but the most important thing is SHE DID IT!
You can't grow without being a little uncomfortable from time to time, so I still feel that it doesn't matter how much time goes by, I am still wanting to continue to seek out new challenges for her.
I don't think she has ever in her life experienced so much love and attention at one time. She didn't know what to do with herself..
The GBHS hopes to have these weekly reading sessions after school every Monday at the Homewood Public Library. I do hope that Millie can continue going to meet with the children and let this be a learning experience for her as well.
I don't know which one to use.. 217 days since Millie's arrival into our home or three months since her adoption into her forever home with us.. Regardless, time sure has flown by and we have enjoyed her company soo much..
She has been a busy little lady and it seems that she doesn't have a care in the world now days. If you were to pass us on the street you would have never known that she was once emaciated, abused and neglected. She is almost as normal as they come now!
We had a videographer come to our home to shoot a short film about her story for the GBHS'S Jazz Cat Ball and they also did a write up about her in their holiday newsletter. She has not only touched my life but so it seems, the lives of many others.
Millie has become extremely playful and active that if she isn't walked daily, she becomes anxious and loves to chew.. so I have put her on an exercise regime with daily walks which have now gradually turned into a slow jog/trot.. and there isn't many places that she won't follow my lead.
I can say it's safe to say that she trust me with all of her heart which just melts mine! We are like two peas in a pod and where I go, she usually isn't too far behind.
Run, play..and run some more! This past weekend my husband and I decided to spend some down time at the family lake house. This was Millie's first time to visit the place and we weren't sure what she would think or how she would act. Needless to say, she fit right in!
I do believe she was full speed ahead the whole time and I feel it made the trip more fun for Lola as well. She had someone to accompany her with all the play time any dog could ask for.
The water levels were way down as they are most winters.. so this allowed us to explore the shoreline. It made a great play ground for the pups, who ran tirelessly around in circles, played tug and ran up and down the shore, finding sticks to chew on.
I didn't see any fear in Millie's eyes. It is as though she ran full speed ahead, not needing to check behind her or stop at the sight of something unknown that lay in front of her.
She seemed more concerned with keeping up with our Lolacoaster.
Morning times were my favorite time to take them walking. We would walk to the top of the hill, around the circle and eventually end up down on the shoreline.. Where they would run and chase one another.
The sounds of summer were long gone.. on occasion, I could hear the wine of a fisherman's engine passing by as it echoed off the shore walls. The lake was vast and empty. It was lifeless compared to that of just a quick 4 months ago.
In the afternoon, Gary and I would play board games, watch Christmas movies, we went to town one afternoon and grabbed dinner. We also decided to go see all the Christmas lights on display at the Sportsman Lake downtown. It was a great quick trip out of town that was very much needed by all!
Our little get-away was a very nice welcome. There was no hustle and bustle of things needing to be done. Time didn't exist for the past four days. Having Millie join in on the fun added a whole new dynamic to our lake-cation..
As 2017 comes to a close, I find myself thinking how so much can happen within a year for many people. Millie in particular has seemed to experience so much.. From close to death to now traveling to all kinds of places and socializing with all walks of life. She's enjoyed the beach, hiking, several state parks, music festivals, Cocktails For Critters, the dog park, her first snow play day and last but not least.. the lake house where hopefully she will spend many years enjoying!
What a fun surprise for us to wake up to! I wasn't sure if my eyes were playing tricks on me.. Snowing?? In early December?? In Alabama?? I can't ever remember it snowing like this during all my life this early on in the year.
I couldn't wait to see how Millie would react to the white fluffy stuff and took it upon myself to get outside ASAP!
Lola had seen snow before, had played in it a handful of times and wasn't as eager to get out in it as Millie.. but after Lola saw how much fun Millie was having, she was convinced and joined in like she was a puppy all over again.
I could only imagine how Millie would have acted towards the unfamiliar terrain just a few short months ago. She probably would have not wanted to go near it, let alone jump and run circles full speed ahead.
That is just what she did. She ventured without hesitation onto the cold, wet ground and played like there was no tomorrow.
It warmed my heart to see her running around, coaxing Lola to play and chase her as though her only care in the world was making sure she was having fun.. and having fun is what she knows how to do a lot of these days.
It has now been 17 days since Millie's official adoption... We have put our Christmas tree up and are preparing to celebrate together as one big fam this year! She seemed unsure about the tree and it's festivities at first.. but it didn't take long for her to adjust after I caught her chewing on one of the teddy bear ornaments.
I gently took it away, told her no and have not seen any evidence of 'disappearing' ornaments since that day.
She is so routine that she helps me keep a routine. Millie loves her bed time.. anything later than 10pm and she dismisses herself to our bedroom. I have also started noticing she wags her tail in her sleep during her dreams and acts as though she is running wild and free somewhere.
I can remember when we first got her she would tremble and growl in her sleep as though she was fearful. So, I like to think she has happy thoughts and sweet dreams now.
Her mile speed has increased from 30 minutes a mile to a 15 minute mile time during our daily walk. She has finally found a consistent pace and is no longer in the back of the hiking line as she use to stay.
Millie is full speed ahead. She is now boldly stepping into unknown territory with more confidence. The fallen tree logs that I use to have to pick her up and carry her over on our hikes are now being jumped over at high speeds. She no longer lets this obstacle stop her.
Just earlier today, we took a hike and I put my phone in her backpack to hold.. I unknowingly forgot it automatically detects any movement and exercise.. so when I went to retrieve my phone after our hike it read that I 'ran' 4.5 miles in 45 minutes, not even knowing I had been running.. and then it dawned on me that the phone had been on Millie the whole time.
She is a completely new dog. She looks different, acts different and is different. She has transformed into a happy, confident, loving and loyal companion.
I want to make sure that her first Christmas experience with us as her new family will be one to remember as a time of renewal and rebirth.
It hasn't even been a week since Millie was officially adopted into our family and my husband and I both can see an amazing transformation. It is almost as if she knows!
Millie is confident with exploring new areas, she is showing more of a sense of curiosity than she is fear. She walks up to people to smell them and see what they are about... and I have seen her ask strangers to be petted... and of course, they reach down to do so!
I have finally heard her speak! Her voice is an amazingly, fierce and powerful bark that sounds like a low rumble. This past week she heard a strange noise coming from the back porch. It concerned her, so she ran to the door and gave it one loud bark. I went to check and it appears that the wind had blown over some boxes. I nodded in approval for Millie's diligence and observance.. she seemed to puff up in a proud manner..
Prior to adoption, I had hoped she would grow to love the outdoors, hiking, adventure, people and being around social situations. I think it is safe to say, she LOVES being on the go. I can't even put my shoes on or grab her leash without her jumping up and down from excitement.
She has learned how to do about almost everything except jump in a car. I find it comical to be seen lifting this big ol' 60lb of muscle into a little car.. but I will do what I have to do until she feels comfortable doing this on her own time.
Millie does insist that she is a lap dog and I often endure my leg falling asleep from her weight in the evening time when we all watch television.. She is one of the most affectionate dogs I have known.. maybe she is making up for lost time?
This week is a great week to remind myself how thankful I am.. I am thankful for taking a chance.. (I can remember hesitating on calling about Millie as she was not available for adoption at the time.) I am also thankful for the staff at the GBHS that work day in and day out caring for animals such as Millie, in hopes they too will one day find a home. I am thankful for my husband and family for being supportive of my decision to take on another dog and responsibility. With their support, it made me caring for her needs all the more easier. I am thankful for that woman who found her and surrendered her that day to the Humane Society, in hopes she would have a better life.
It wouldn't and couldn't have worked if all of these things did not come into play as it isn't just one person who makes a difference.. but rather all of us!
Millie is just about ready to be adopted to Gary and me! We feel that she's been ours all along but just to make things official.. We must make note that she has been in our foster care for the past several months and NOW, we can make the steps to officially call her our own!
We wouldn't have wanted it any other way. To be a part of her journey, her growth and her challenges have made this all the more rewarding. We went through all this together, as a fam.. and because of all the trials we had to endure with her insecurities, hang ups and weird ticks, it has allowed us to feel even more invested with the adoption progress.
She has most definitely taught me more about compassion and patience, endurance, hope, faith.. all things good come from nurture.. and I am a firm believer that Millie is a perfect example of what a little bit.. well.. A LOT of love in her case.. can conquer most anything.
Every year Gary and I have our annual Pumpkin Carving Party where friends come dressed up. We watch scary movies on our back porch, eat chili and carve pumpkins.. in preparation for the week before Halloween.
Since it is Millie's first Halloween to spend with us, we wanted her to feel included and prepared for our get-together. I wasn't sure if she would wear a costume at first due to her uncertainty about new things.. but the past few weeks.. she has become quite the adventurer.
I have noticed her approaching people she does not know and is less timid around new places. She hasn't cowered down in a few weeks and seems to carry herself with more confidence. She no longer tries to run away when Gary and I walk past her in a closed in area.. She used to run away when we needed to walk past her but now she has become a toe stubber as she won't get out of our way.
With all this progress, I decided to purchase her a 'WONDER WOMAN' costume this past weekend. It just seemed so fitting due to her situation. She has fought so hard to be where she is. She has proven to be resilient to her horrible past and she believes and hopes in good things. She definitely has my vote on being the REAL Wonder Woman.
The outfit looks perfect on her! It looks like it was made for her! So I am excited about included her with all our holiday festivities this year. She knows she is part of our family now, as I can see how her layers have peeled back month after month.. She shines like a new pearl.
To the one that quit Millie,
I often wonder what you were like and have a hundred questions I wish I could ask. If we are to ever meet I must admit, I will have prejudged you by the state you left Millie in.
Did you buy her as a puppy? Was she a gift? Did you find her on the street? Did you decide one day that 'this dog was just a 'dog' and it didn't matter how she felt. It is after all, your 'happiness' right.. that counts?
Let me guess.. she is after all just a 'dog'.. She probably wanted to play too much or she could of peed because you didn't let her out enough.
I'd like to know why she was starved soo? Did it not cross your mind to feed her? Was this some sort of punishment or was it because you left and were always on the go?
She wouldn't look me in the eye or even lift her head. Everything scared her, even a soft voice and touch. It didn't matter what I said. She didn't trust me, but I don't blame her much.
It doesn't seem she was shown much compassion...I wondered why? I wanted to show her that not all people are bad.
Now it has been two months and Millie understands. It's not all people that are bad.. just some don't need a furry friend because they are always thinking of themselves instead.
She shows her appreciation every day when she greets me with a wagging tail. Sometimes she can't contain her excitement when she sees me come home, so she jumps up and down.
Millie has so much to offer, I'm glad I get to see this. Not all dogs are given this chance to show their worth. So for you that gave her up, you will never know what you could have had as you probably were solely stuck on yourself.. which is really sad.
Since the day you left her.. Millie doesn't seem to look back. It is me that is often wondering about you and on the attack.
She is too busy wanting to play fetch. She loves when I take her places she's never been.. She's learned how to play and be a dog again. She looks forward to the weekend when I take her hiking. She has really grown fond of socializing.
Everyone tells her how beautiful she is. I think she's starting to believe them.. Her walk is confident, her head is held high, she even has a new sparkle in her eyes.
To the one that quit Millie.. I pity you. It isn't the dog we save .. but the dog that saves you.
Helping shelter animals one click at a time!