Hi Everyone, it’s me, Grizz! I’m back for something Mom calls a ‘blog update’. If you missed the first one, Mom said you can go here to check it out. So, it’s officially been 4 months since I’ve been living with my new family. Mom asked me to be a guest writer so that you could hear my take on how things have been going since my adoption last October. Of course I said yes because I love to talk about me, me, me. Not as much as I love chasing rabbits, eating peanut butter, or shredding toys, but close.
As you may remember, when I first met Mom and Dad I had some major issues. I was super skittish, anxious, and afraid of everything. Mom and Dad took me from Colorado to Missouri so that I could spend time getting to know them on the farm.
I loved the farm but hated the long-eared-monster-demon-beasts (aka Donkeys). There were lots of things that scared me about the farm, but I got to experience so many new things while I was there. I ran and ran and ran around the pond so many times I got dizzy, I learned to stay away from the big moo-moos (especially the large uttered Mommas), I paddleboarded with mom, and I met a cat who tried to hug me by rubbing gently against my fur. OMG, I was so scared that I just stood there trembling like a weenie-dog. Well, maybe Mom just laughed and said I was a weenie. Either way, it was so not fun at the time. I’m a little better with cats now as long as they are at least 1,000 feet away. Donkeys—I will NEVER be okay with Donkeys.
After a month, we left the farm and Missouri via the big white box we call home. I didn’t mind the ride because Mom and Dad stopped a lot to let me potty & play. I haven’t had any accidents so far and I want to keep it that way. I’m very particular about my poos.
I’ve come to learn over the last few months that we’re never in any one place for very long. I get to smell lots of new places and see many things, but all the changes can be overwhelming at times. It seems that just as soon as I get comfortable with a new area, we leave. At least I have the van. It’s definitely my safe place. In fact, it must be Mom and Dad’s safe place too because we’re always trying to be in the same place at the same time!
Mom says that you can paint a story anyway you like with photos and dialogue and that’s why there is a lot of fake news in the world today. So she took a short video after we hit the road to show what I was really like most of the time: scared, nervous, anxious, skittish, and the list goes on. Mom said that sometimes I acted like a complete “tweeker” (whatever that is).
All I remember is that (at first) I didn’t want to leave the van even when it was super quiet. I was freaked out by everything—falling leaves, birds in the sky, well, you get the point. There were just so many new smells and sounds that I wasn’t used to. Mom and Dad were patient (most of the time) and encouraging (always). They usually just left the door open and let me come out when I was ready. Some days I didn’t want to come out at all, other days, when I needed to release my energy stores, I would reluctantly venture out to check out the world around me then run back into the van when it all became just to much to bear.
Sigh…It was really rough at first.
One day, I overheard Mom and Dad talking about returning me to Colorado. They said they were worried about me and didn’t think I was adjusting well. I knew then that I had to try harder to be brave because deep down I wanted to live in the big white box so that I could go new places and sniff new things with my new family. So, little by little I started to come out of my shell so that Mom and Dad could see the real me. Maybe it was the special white capsule that started appearing in my food or maybe it was my fear of leaving. Irregardless, I started doing what any “normal” dog would do…
I rolled around in the grass and looked up at them trying to be all cute and stuff (a trick I learned from a Shih tzu named Sally that I did a tour with at the Animal Shelter back in 2020)…
…immersed myself in their hobbies…
…gave them snuggle, snuggle, snuggles….
I even laughed at all their silly jokes!
Little by little we were bonding and becoming more and more of a family.
By the middle of our 3rd month together, I was no longer hiding in the van all of the time. Mom and Dad gave me more and more freedom until eventually I didn’t even have to be on the leash anymore. At first, I got in trouble a lot because sometimes I wanted to go places that Mom and Dad didn’t. What can I say? The trees on the other side of the forest always smell better! Plus, there are so many critters to chase! But, when I take off and don’t come back for longer periods of time (even when I can hear my parents calling for me), I get stuck in time-out which is pure torture! It didn’t take long to understand that if I hang out nearby I get to be free, but if I roam I get put back on-leash.
Even though I understand, sometimes I forget and my puppy-brain gets the better of me! Luckily, I’m super smart and know how to turn on the oh-so-sad face. It melts Mom’s heart in a matter of seconds and I know I won’t have to be in time out for very long. Yeah, I’ve got her number.
After 4+ months with my new family, things were starting to go really well. Most days me and Mom were taking long hikes and spending hours exploring all the new places we visited. She seems so happy when we do these walks together and I’m happy too! Exploring is the best! I didn’t realize there were so many different smells in the world! Wow. It’s incredible! I’ve seen forests and deserts and mountains and well, I’ve seen so much! The mountains are my favorite, especially hikes with big rocks that I can jump on and sniff under.
Two of my favorite hikes so far have been
#1 The Rim Trail, Mt. Nebo State Park in Arkansas
#2 The Pine Tree Trail, Organ Mountains in New Mexico
Things were going beautifully, but then, Mom and Dad really switched things up on me! We went to this place called Utah and my world changed. When we first got here, it looked amazing. I mean, there were a lot of rocks and wide open spaces but for some reason we didn’t stop. I was super confused.
Mom explained that she and Dad needed to help Grandma with her new house. When we first arrived, I fell in love with my new Grandma, so that was good. I liked her instantly. She smelled nice and gave me yummy treats!
The second day we were there, Mom took me for a 7 mile hike. At first, I wasn’t sure I was going to like it because we had to walk along a busy road. I need to learn to trust Mom more because after 10 minutes, everything got super quiet and we had so much fun. Except for a few dogs and several noises that triggered my fear response, we had a pretty good walk.
The next day, I made friends with the neighbor dog Cooper. He was so cool and really fast for a little dog!
we wrestled and chewed….
and when we got hot, we drooled!
Unfortunately, Grandma lives in a really busy area and the noises coming from outside started to play a toll on me. There was traffic, yard maintenance crews, loud trucks, loud neighbors and whenever I went outside to do my business the world became scarier and scarier.
Dad calls it “Trigger Stacking”. Mom looked it up. She said that according to Google, Trigger Stacking happens when a dog (that’s me!) is exposed to many triggers which builds up stress in my system. All those triggers makes me highly reactive to everything. I’m not sure about all those fancy terms or long definitions but what I do know is that for some reason I changed. I went from being pretty happy most of the time to scared all of the time—I even went back into hiding. Being at Grandmas was just too much!
Mom was really sad. I heard her tell Dad that she just didn’t know if I was going to make it living this lifestyle. Mom said that there is constant change in her and Dad’s life and that maybe it wasn’t fair to me. She said that I had “special needs”. Perhaps way more needs that she and Dad ever imagined. She also said that maybe I needed consistency and a family that had a calm dog to help me better learn about the world. She said I had a lot more problems than just leash aggression. I thought I was going back to Colorado this time for sure!
Mom tried to cheer me up but nothing really worked. Between the noise and negative energy, I just wanted to be alone.
Mom apologized the next day. She told me that she loved me more than anything and then she set out to find me somewhere to run and play away from all the noises and people. Later that day, Mom and Grandma took me out for the most bestest walk I’d had in 8 days!
When we pulled up, Mom had barely been able get the leash on me because I was so excited! Once my paws hit the sand, I was off! I ran and ran and ran and ran. Thank you Mom!
I could tell Mom and Grandma were happy to be out there too. Mom told Grandma she felt thankful to find a trail that was quiet in the midst of a bustling city. I was thankful too! I needed to de-stress for a while.
The best part was the dry, sand-filled riverbed where Mom let me run off-leash for a long time! It was so quiet and there was not a single person around for miles!
I ran so much that I had to find some shade to rest and cool off.
Unfortunately, after a few hours we had to go home. Releasing some of my stress seemed to help because when got back to Grandma’s house I did feel a lot better.
While inside, I chewed through a lot of bones and toys and Mom taught me a new game that I love called “Find the Treat”. Basically, I sit on my spot while Mom hides several treats around the house. I patiently watch her hide them and try to remember where they all are. Once she is done, I sit there until she gives me the special word and then I get go around and find them. When I can’t remember exactly where they all are, I use my nose to sniff them out. Mom says I’m super good at it! I like it because I get to use my brain AND my tummy!
Overall, I still had some bad moments at Grandma’s house and I wasn’t at my happiest, but I survived the rest of our two week stay without too many more issues. I even got more comfortable walking and playing outside during the day as long as mom only took me out for short periods of time.
At night, when all the scary stimuli was gone, I would come alive. I’m lucky I have a Mom and Dad that love me so much that they would go outside in 30 degree weather in the middle of the winter to let me run, play fetch, and burn my energy before bed. Hmm, come to think about it, maybe they just wanted me to be able to sleep through the night! Either way, I love them.
Sometimes, I think Mom has a hard time with my…what did she call it…”Special Needs”. Even though I know it’s hard on Mom and Dad, I know that they love me dearly and are trying very hard to make me feel more comfortable so that I can thrive. I know sometimes I’d rather have a yard and a doggie brother or sister to make me feel more relaxed and safe, but I also love adventuring with my new family as long as we are in quiet areas with no other humans or animals. So as long as they can give me the solitude that I desire, life is good.
I’m not sure where we’re going next but Mom says for sure that it’s NOT Colorado. <3
Thanks for joining me and I hope you enjoyed the blog. I’m not sure when Mom will be writing again because we’re about to hit the road but I’m sure it will be soon. I also want to send you lots of hugs. Thank you for rooting for me, sending lots of love our way, and for your prayers/positive vibes. I really appreciate it. This is Grizz signing off…it’s time for my nap!
Until next time friends! xoxo