I can’t believe it’s already been four weeks since we brought Sierra home from the Humane Society.
While a month really isn’t that much time, it feels like she’s been with us a lot longer. It’s kind of like dating someone you really connect with — you feel like they’ve been in your life forever.
Frankly, it’s hard to remember what life was like without Sierra. She has brought so much happiness to our home, both because she gives Mike and I to jointly fret and connect over, and because she is just a big ol’ ball of love!
We’ve definitely settled into a routine. Walks in the morning, walks at night. It’s been great for my fitbit ranking!
In truth, we’ve been lucky. Adopting a shelter dog can be a personality and temperament gamble. You never really know what your new dog will be like until they relax and unwind in their new home. And with Sierra, I think we hit the jackpot.
She is calm, relaxed and doesn’t mind being left alone all day while we are at work. No accidents (knock on wood) and no barking or crying. She walks great on a leash and just seems to want all the love we’ll give her. She’s also taken to snuggling up with us on the couch and sneaking onto our bed for naps and before-bed cuddles.
Plus, she has absolutely bonded to us. No matter where we go, she is always focus on us, (except when there are bunnies near by). When we visit my parent’s house, she won’t leave my side, even for tasty Cheerio treats. (She LOVES Cheerios. Like, so much.)
I mean, what’s not to love about a dog like that?
But while it’s been fairly easy thus far, these past few weeks have come with some pretty interesting challenges as well.
She really hates dry food
She just won’t touch it. We’ve tried using different food or adding chicken broth, vegetables and boiled chicken breast, but she either ignores the dish or eats around the kibble. So far, the only thing that 100% gets her to finish the bowl is to mix in some tasty (and expensive) wet food. Luckily, one can gets us about 4-5 meals, but still! Such a picky eater. And I’m worried the more we indulge this in the beginning, the harder it will be to ever ween her off.
She struggles to play
This was another unexpected challenge. When we first got Sierra, she simply did not know how to play. We bought her plenty of toys, which she promptly ignored. And other dogs were more terrifying then anything else.
But just recently, upon discovering that toys could be ripped open and their fluffy white insides strewn across the floor, playing have become much more of a thing.
Now, she’ll grab a toy and chew on it (trying to get to those tasty, fluffy insides). She’ll even tug-a-war with you, briefly.
Still, the biggest improvement has been her transformation in playing with other dogs. Before, when another dog approached her to play, her go-to move was to yelp, roll over to show her belly and stress poop. Lucky for us, she was never too aggressive with other dogs, but she would nip and growled if they got too intense.
But just this past week, Sierra turned a corner. We encountered an older dog at the park in our apartment complex and instead of being terrified, Sierra made a friend! She ran around, egging on the other dog on, encouraging her to chase her around. Tails u and wagging – no nips, yips or growls! It seems like such a small thing, but for a shy, nervous dog like Sierra, this was a huge moment.
She gets carsick
This has been our greatest struggle. Sierra keeps getting sick — like, really sick — every time we drive somewhere. Even just the 10-minute drive to my parents’ house is enough to give her a queasy stomach and release a spew of dog vomit all over my back seat. So that’s been fun to clean up…
But where it really gets challenging is that we go up to the mountains fairly frequently. And she needs to be okay being in the car for longer trips. Not just that, she needs to be able handle steep, windy switchbacks all the way up mountain passes. Right now, that is just not possible. Let’s just say that our first mountain adventure resulted in a having to hose out the back of the car and a lot of laundry.
We’re planning to talk to the vet soon about our options, whether is just where she sits in the car, some general conditioning or maybe a little doggy Dramamine to get her over the hump. Fingers crossed that she grows out of it, but only time will tell.
As Winter Begins…
It still blows my mind that it’s only been a month, but I feel like we’re finally starting to see the real Sierra.
And as the weather keeps getting colder (it’s calling for snow later this week – ugh), that’s when the real test begins. More time spent inside, colder mornings where she still needs to be walked, and hopefully lots of mountains adventures. I think this will be just as much a test for us as it is for Sierra! I can only hope she’ll be understanding as we adjust.