Wednesday, July 30, 2008

5 - part 2

Continued from previous.

It took a while, what with all the squealing and gnashing of its miniature teeth, but I finally managed to pick up the baby raccoon without scaring it to death. It was the size of a grapefruit as it lay curled up rigid in my hands. I didn't want it getting a heart attack from too much handling, if raccoons even get heart attacks, so I was going to just quickly place it over the fence where its siblings were hanging on the tree branch but as I was bringing it over, it started to move. It uncurled. It looked at me. It sniffed. And then it relaxed. I stopped and we stared at each other for a few seconds before I reached out with it in my hand and tried to put it down on the tree limb where its siblings were waiting for it. It didn't want to go onto the limb. Instead it tried to climb down my arm. I picked it up with my other hand and had to place it down on the branch, had to make sure it had a good grip on the branch before I quickly let it go and withdrew my hand.

After my first encounter with the Border Collie pups, I go back into the room where they are kept and try to feed them some dried liver snacks. I have it on good authority (from my two discerning canines at home) that most dogs looove liver snacks. I try to woo the tan and white one first. It sniffs the snack, looks at me, sniffs the snack. It licks its lips, yawns, looks at me, sniffs the snack. The licking and yawning are classic signals of anxiety in a dog. It wants the snack but my presence is making it too anxious to eat. Maybe it thinks I will get angry if I see it eating the snack. Maybe it's performance anxiety. I don't know. But I do know it's not shying away like it did earlier. It's not moving to the back of its kennel as far away from me as possible.

I try out the other pup that seemed to hold some promise. I push in a snack and this black and white pup exhibits the same behaviour as his brother. A lot of interest in the food accompanied by anxiety signals and no actual eating. But there's something different about this one. It's actually interested in my presence. It's staying near the front of the cage, leaning against the door, looking at me. There's maybe even a slight wagging of the tail.

I open the door slowly, not wanting to startle it. It backs up, but not all the way. Then its head peaks out from around the corner. Then it takes a step forward. Then another step. Then it comes to me and puts its muzzle into my hands.

I go tell James about this, that maybe they're not all hopeless and he tells me that he's already phoned a few rescue people who are going to drop by to have a look at them.

Kylie and Karie show up to meet the tan and white one. It starts out as a struggle for the young dog but his fear gives way to curiosity then the beginnings of trust. They take the dog home with them.

Luan from Border Collie rescue also shows up and she ends up taking two of the Collies with her. The worst one and the best one, she says. She is cautiously optimistic about them. She's had experience with extremely shy dogs before and has managed to bring them around.

The fourth one is also spoken for by a foster but will have to wait a couple of days before it gets picked up. That's not such an ordeal for this guy because it's not doing too badly in his kennel. At least it's eating.

The fifth one, is a different story. It hasn't touched its food in several days. It just tries to keep still, hoping whatever scary thing lurking around the corner might pass it by. It seems to be always up on its claws, like it's afraid of the hard, shiny floor. James was originally going to drive it up to Anne and Pete's Foster Home for Dogs the following day, as they'd agreed to take it, but now he's thinking it would be better to get the dog out sooner.

Three hours later, I'm driving up the 400 and the last Border Collie puppy to be fostered is pissing in the back of my car.

Continued here.

No comments: