I know that Bella was born 10/10/14. She is spayed. From the vet records, it looks like she was rescued from the puppy mill at the end of February 2019. Since the progress is so slow, I'm writing the narrative to reassure myself that it is, indeed, happening. Bella spends her time on my bedroom floor, which is cement, next to the Tempur Pedic doggie bed I made her. When I call her to come to the door to go out, she will take short walks with me. I think this is her favorite activity. However, we take many short walks because her legs tremble after our walks and I think she doesn't have good muscle development yet. She never makes a sound. Never barks. Everything is eye contact with her. She follows me with her eyes, something she began about a week in to our time together.
This is a recap of her progress.
On 4/7 Bella first made brief eye contact with me and got up by herself from the corner of my bedroom. Previously I had to approach her and gently lift her under her front legs to get her standing to come outside to go to the bathroom. She has become calmer and slower going through the house. Ears perk for the first time.
4/8 Prior to working with the Bernese Mountain Dog Rescue, I established contact with the Cayuga Dog Rescue. My plan was to foster for them, but if this happens, it won't be until June when the director returns from the south. Nevertheless, they have been helpful with wisdom and even support. I got some lovely dog treats and a toy courtesy of Cayuga Dog Rescue. It took several days before Bella showed interest, but eventually she learns to enjoy the treats. I now give her one whenever we come in from a walk. The toy I bought her means nothing to her.
On 4/9 Bella rests her head on her bed for the first time.
On 4/11 she came to the front door to go out by herself when I called "Bella". This has mostly continued unless someone else is here. She now has perky ears when she looks at me. Seeing her resting her head on her bed (never her body) I was so moved that I think I will adopt her.
On 4/13 she reached her nose to me for the first time. This is when I reach my hand to her, sitting on her bed. She sniffed my fingers. A volunteer from Cayuga Dog Rescue, Megan, kindly helped me bathe Bella. She was scared, but didn't really object strongly. She cooperates, but it might be like a prisoner cooperates. I was able to get the wash water lukewarm, but the rinse water was right from the hose and was cold so she hated that. So sorry, Bella, but you need to smell better! I am stuffy at night!.
By 4/14 she eats when I put her food down if I leave the room. Prior to that she might ignore her food for hours or not eat all of it. Very tiny spit up.
4/16 still no tail wags. I think i got a couple of teeny tail tip movements during the past week, but no bonafide tail wags. She now finishes her food and eats shortly after I feed her if I leave the room. Soft stools.
4/17 I took Bella to the Arboretum with Valerie. It was probably too soon. She was very frightened in the car and panted like crazy while pushing against me. I suppose previous car rides have taken her to new places, maybe terrible places. She liked walking for a short bit, but then seemed to want to turn around or pull back to someplace. For the next few days she made a wide berth around the car as if the car was the enemy. I think the other cars passing by scared her a lot and she didn't know where she was at the park.
On 4/20 she ate a treat in front of me for the first time.
4/21 I sat in the car holding Bella, standing next to the car on her leash for 5 minutes. She then doesn't eat her treat in front of me after we go inside-tiny set back. I notice that she is distinctly more nervous if someone else is around, even when that person is gentle.
I was able to sit in the room while she ate, just out of sight.