Dawn, a feral dog we’re trying to socialize, never wags her tail when I’m in the same room. She doesn’t like me. She eats my shoes.
She adores Mason and acknowledges him in the morning with a shy, swaying behind.
But whenever she greets one of the seven other dogs living at the Farnival – or even a cat – she wags her tail like it’s a championship flag. From the start, she seemed to inherently trust our animals, letting them get a lot closer, a lot quicker than any human.
Interestingly, the more time she spends around our dogs, the more “normal” her behavior becomes; she’s stopped flinching at every strange noise, sight, or smell.
Now, she sleeps on the couch, ignores the vacuum, wrestles, and occasionally uses the doggie door. One day, through my office window, I even caught her throwing down in the mosh pit with the big dogs.
It’d be nice to claim that Mason and I are some kind of genius dog trainers, but honestly, we’ve had little if anything to do with her transformation.
My pack is doing all the work; they are the ones domesticating her. Simply put, Dawn imitates them in both mood and action.
It’s fascinating and hilarious to watch her offspring, Tony and Adriana, teach her about the water bowl, dog treats, warm laundry, and howling at the UPS man.
The biggest news this week: yesterday, Dawn walked two miles through the woods on a leash. At first, she was completely unsure, but by the third lap, she trotted like a pro, following her new pack with a “this-shit-ain’t-bad” expression.