,,Following our little doggy's journey on the online happy bus app was like watching the Santa app at Christmas and counting the days until our listen treasure arrived safely. It was also worrying knowing she and all her furry buddies would be frightened and confused, with no concept of time or understanding of what was happening. Once the van reached the UK we began to see all the photos of the exhausted animals in the arms of their new owners. Our Mira was the last drop off in Scotland.
She was startled looking, a bit wiffy and exhausted. After a quick tour of the garden, still on the lead, she had a pee, a sniff around, wagged her tail happily, scoffed a bowl of chicken and rice then curled up in her new cozy bed. She refused to sleep for hours, keeping her eye on our every move. We kept the house very quiet for the next few days and let her sleep, and sleep, and sleep. She happily explored the house like the silent, gentle wee ninja that she is. She quickly took to curling up next to us and soon began to play a little. But she was spooked very easily and would run to her bed. We had puppy pads but she was quite well house trained and usually missed them anyway Mira gets shakey when she's anxious so we learned early on to wrap a blanket over her and keep physical contact until she calmed. It still happens periodically but we don't stress anymore. We just hug her, tuck her blanket around her and move on. She's laying that she's safe with us.
We repeatedly took her to the grass in the garden to play with a stick (she has no interest in a ball) and let her enjoy sniff time and adapt to the noises in the neighbourhood. She rarely barks but in the first few months once she started barking at noises in the garden. Probably other dogs that only she could hear, with those large, floppy, super sensor ears she has. Her happy ears as we call them because they lift and flop about whe she's in happy bouncy mode.
Once we were past the quarantine stage we took her a regular walk around the park with no issues at all. She was happy, curious, and very sociable with all passers-by, children and dogs. She is scared of big bouncy dogs that run straight to her and hides behind us. More recently, now that she is off the lead walking more often, she gives a big boy bark and shows her warning face to scare of pests. She's a very sensitive little girl so it's not been plain sailing by any means. We had 6 months of shaking and refusing to get in the car, followed by drooling and vomiting. We invested in various car beds, and tried covering her with a blanket to stop her looking out the window. It never helped. Then I ordered the hammock for the back seat and put a thick blanket in. I had to teach her to lie down so that she'd feel more secure. That took a lot of patience and treats! 8 months on she realised it was no big deal jumping into the car by herself and there'd be a treat waiting for her. She now knows a car trip ends in a big walk or seeing friends now so when I ask her if she wants to go a walk she is at my feet and jumping in the car.
Her recall is still far from great. She's very scent and prey driven as well as easily spooked, which I expect will never change. Its so important to remember these animals have endured a lot and have ferrol instinct. They are all unique so we must be guided by them, not by how we imagine it to be or hope it to be. We have found Mira's neediness and stubbornness to be stressful at times. She still wakes me at night hoping to get in beside me, or outside to pee. We need to toughen up! So hard when she's so determined.
We knew she was an escape artist when we got her as we'd been told by MISI's. She has ran off twice and scared the life out of us. Once was when off the lead in a big park next to the golf course. We were training her. A heavy downpour of rain spooked her and she bolted. She stopped at a bunker, thankfully. Another time she decided to leave the beach, totally ignoring my commands and headed for the main road. When I finally caught up she was sitting at the kerb waiting! We have never crossed a road with her until she sits and waits for a treat. So that training paid off! That time at least. We have a long way to go with her only one year on. The best advice I can give, no matter how confident the dog, is to take miniature baby steps each day and hold your patience. Its a huge commitment! We are still learning about Mira, and she about us. Her English is definitely improving though."
by Gillian Beech, Scotland