>> Tuesday, April 28, 2009
All I know about Annabelle's past is that her previous owner went to prison for twenty-five years (for a child related offense). I called my rescue friend who had placed Annabelle with us and said, "Find out when he's due to get out on parole, because he's never getting this dog back."
Her response was chilling, "He hung himself," she said.
Annabelle is blond. He hair is curly and wiry...much like a terrier. Her body is long and her lets are short...much like a dachshund. Annabelle resembles the dog in the story of the Grinch.
At any rate, I let our other two dogs (Maddie and Kelly) take care of Annabelle when she first arrived. She put herself in the middle of the pack and that's how they roamed the house and the yard. After a week or so, she would let me touch her slowly and gently, but I was the only one.
My advice to my husband and sons was: "Don't look at her. Don't touch her and don't talk to her." With the exception of my middle son, the advice worked and after several months Annabelle warmed up them.
My middle son was another story. He must have somehow reminded Annabelle of her past. When Jeff came over (all my sons are grown and married) Annabelle would charge him. Kelly (who knew and loved everyone) would join her. They would pin Jeff to the back of the basement door and bark ferociously.
Needless to say, this didn't go over well. Thankfully, instead of being furious at the situation, Jeff tried to figure out how to gain Annabelle's trust. First of all, I felt that I knew Annabelle well enough to say, "Quit allowing her to back you in a corner. Hold your head high and walk by her as though she isn't there."
I know it was intimidating to Jeff, but he did just that. Then one day, just as Jeff and my daughter-in-law Eileen were getting ready to leave, Jeff took off his T shirt.
"What are you doing?" I asked as everyone else looked and wondered.
"I'm going to put my shirt on the couch for Annabelle to smell all week," Jeff answered.
Annabelle did indeed smell Jeff's shirt. His scent became familiar to Annabelle. Eventually, she even slept on top of the cotton-soft shirt.
I'm not sure if Jeff's act of kindness was because he really wanted Annabelle to trust him or if it was because he was bound and determined not to be defeted by a dog, but in any case, the left-behind T-shirt worked.
Annabelle quit barking at Jeff. She even began to let him pet her. A year after the fact, Annabelle greets Jeff with a wagging tail. She's still cautious of men, but Annabelle trusts us enough to let her know she's safe.
She's a good girl.