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At the shelter

Bonnie is a little Australian Shepard mix that showed up at the Animal Shelter as a stray.  She was called a feral dog because she is so afraid of people, but from the beginning it was clear there is something special about this little dog.  With help from others at the shelter I worked with her for over 3 weeks trying to get her to come around, but the
shelter is just to scary a place.  I tried many things: dog treats, canned food, hot dogs, but the thing she responded to was cheese.  By using cheese as a bribe I was able to approach her, pet her, and finally even cuddle her a bit.  It was the one and only thing that seemed to give her some happiness.

I tried to take her home on Thursday, November 1st.  She reacted badly and very, very scared.  Apparently she had a number of people trying to work with her that day and it was just to much.  On Friday she was back to where she had been on Wednesday, but still very scared.  She just cowered in the back of the cage and withdrew whenever anyone came near.  We decided to give her a couple of more days before trying again.  On Monday she seemed a little better, but she was hiding in her dog house.

On Tuesday, November 6th I got the call that today had to be the day.  I went to get her late in the day with leashes, a harness, a muzzle, treats and Hope to give the final approval.  We brought Hope into the cage to see how they would do together.  Hope checked her out and approved, with Bonnie showing she likes other dogs, she's just afraid of people  I gave Bonnie the treats, held her while she was given her shots, put her in a dog crate, and we were off.

Day 1 - the new arrival (sorry the pictures are so very dark - I didn't want bright lights or a flash to upset the little girl.)  November 6, 2001
mvc-194f.jpg (77915 bytes) Jake introduces himself   mvc-196f.jpg (75252 bytes) Cody and Angel introduce themselves
mvc-198f.jpg (73650 bytes) Charm introduces herself   mvc-203f.jpg (69923 bytes) Look at this cubby hole.  And look - the first time anyone has seen me smile!!!
mvc-201f.jpg (71747 bytes) Charm hangs out waiting for the new girl to come out and play
We arrived to an excited reception.  The cats immediately came up to the crate to see who was new to their house.  Bonnie showed no aggression at all with the cats, a good sign.  Because she was so afraid, the introductions were handled a bit differently.  I placed the crate in the living room to see how
everyone would react.  When all seemed OK I opened the crate.  Each dog came up and introduced his/her self.  Then the cats did the same.  Everyone approved.  Eventually Bonnie came out of the crate and quickly slinked around the room looking for a new place to hide.  She found a cubby hole on an empty shelf in the entertainment unit and curled up.  Suddenly we had a smile, the first I had ever seen from her.  She changed cubby holes a couple of times, but we eventually put her to bed in a large crate, with a small one inside for hiding.
Day 2 - The first full day. November 7, 2001
mvc-205f.jpg (67306 bytes) My first morning in a new place.  June Bug hangs out for a while to keep me company.   mvc-206f.jpg (91100 bytes) I enjoyed myself all day.  I had lots of time to play in the yard with my new family.
mvc-214f.jpg (78921 bytes) Late the first full day and it's been a full one.  Resting on the big dog bed with Cody.   mvc-208f.jpg (102087 bytes) Another shot in the yard.  See how happy I am.
In the morning Bonnie was at the front of the cage when she saw the other dogs, but ran back into the small box to hide when she saw me.  When I opened the cage June Bug went into the pen to visit, and walked right into the small crate and cuddled up with Bonnie. 

After a while Bonnie was closed up in the small crate and taken out into the yard.  She immediately found a spot to do her business (is she house trained?  Still not sure but a good sign.)  She had a full day outside.  She did her best to get the other dogs to play with her, and they did at times, and just hung out in the yard at others.  We even let Bonnie out into the garden area with the other dogs as a treat.  Bonnie's confidence grew as the day went along.  She progressed from terrified of people to coming close, always with a smile on her face, and even with a wagging tail at times.

We had to put her in a crate to take her back inside, but she seems to be getting the idea and went right into the crate without a struggle.  She ran around the living room for a while, then was put in her pen while we were out for a bit.  I let her out again when we returned.  Tonight she even came up to me on two separate occasions when I called her.  She allowed me to scratch her chin a bit before she slipped away, still uncomfortable being that close to a person.  At one point she played with June Bug, and another time played with Hope and Angel.  She is clearly so much happier.  She still has a good ways to go, but the progress so far is very promising.

Day 3 - The second day - November 8, 2001
Today was even better, though it had a bit of a rough start.  She didn't go out last night, and we didn't want to push her, but she apparently couldn't hold it all night.  She had a pretty large (and stinky!) accident in her pen in the early morning hours.  I got up and cleaned the pen and let her stay out for the rest of the night.  While the other dogs stayed in the bedroom, Shannon and I slept on the big dog bed in the living room, with Bonnie running loose in the room.  The little girl came up to sniff my feet several times, and even lay near my feet briefly.

In the morning she still wouldn't go out on her own.  She seemed afraid to pass through the door.  At one point she almost went out, but backed out at the last minute.  She couldn't wait any longer and had to tinkle right then and there.  Finally, with the back door standing wide open and us standing on the other side of the room, well away from her, Bonnie went outside on her own.

Once outside it was clear how much progress she has made.  She consistently stayed much closer to us then yesterday, and came up for treats on a small number of occasions.  As she played today her tail was erect and wagging, and she is clearly a happy girl.  She rarely hid, and frequently lay in the open rather than finding a secluded spot.  When it was time to come in we were able to coax her in on her own power by leaving the back door open, standing well clear of the door, and calling in the other dogs.  She was cautious and slow, but did eventually come in.  After this we were able to let her out and have her come back in a couple of times in the evening.

She is clearly a much happier girl, and her confidence is growing quickly.  She seems to want to be with us, but is still afraid.  It was a bit of a struggle to get her into her pen when we went out, but she sat in the front and waited, rather than hiding in the back.   When we got home and let her out she was quite happy, and ran around the room with joy.  Then it was outside for a potty run, and finally coaxed back in for the night.  She takes treats quite well from our hand now, and that was what finally brought her in the door.

Earlier today she did the cutest thing.  She collected all the rope toys from around the room and lined them up in a straight line.  She picked up one of the toys, ran around the room, and carefully placed it back in it's original spot.  It was quite amazing to watch.  She is a fascinating little girl.

Update: November 12, 2001
Well the last few days have been mixed.  The little girl seemed to be making great progress, then seemed to regress.  As I mentioned, the first two nights she slept in a pen in the living room.  She seemed to be getting more and more comfortable around people, but still not trusting enough to come close and get attention.  I let her sleep in our bedroom (with the other dogs) the next two nights.  She got a pig ear at bedtime with all the rest, and seemed quite happy.  She even slept under the bed near Jake.  She happily ran out with the others in the morning..  It became harder and harder to coax her back into the house, but we didn't want to capture her and create more trauma.  On the fifth night I could not get her to come in to stay, and finally had to give up and let her sleep outside.  She's now slept outside three nights in a row.  I purchased a small dog house and we put a fleece bed inside to keep her warm.  We continue to work to try to coak her into the house.  She will come to the back door, put her head and front feet inside, but will not come all the way in.  She will still take a treat from my hand as long as the other dogs are around, but not if they're not there for reassurance.  It's clear how much she loves having the other dogs to play with, and she will run around the yard with us and the dogs, and she even seems to want to come up to the people on her own.  She doesn't seem to have made much progress in the last two days, so it's very discouraging.  I still am confident she will come around, hopefully sooner rather than later.  I really do not like leaving her outside at night or when we are not there, so the sooner she will come inside the better.
Update: November 24, 2001
A lot of progress has been made since the last update.  It finally came to the point where I felt a more aggressive approach was appropriate.  I bought a large fishing net to catch her and bring her in.  The first night I chased her around the yard for a good bit until I finally cornered her on the deck right beside the back door.  I netted her there, opened the door, then scruffed her and pulled her in the door.  Right away I gave her a treat.  Her immediate reaction was "Oh, this isn't so bad." and  made herself right at home.  The next morning she ran out with the other dogs without much trouble at all.  She spent the day outside all day.  In the evening I went out to catch her and bring her in again.  This time I cornered her by the back door again, opened the door, and she ran right in.  The next day she ran in the back door right from the yard (after some chasing.)  On the fourth night she wouldn't head for the back door.  This time I actually had to net her on the run, not my favorite way to get her in.  Again, once inside she was fine.  That was the last time the net was necessary.  She has gone from running into the door when I went into the yard to going in and out on her own with the rest of the dogs.  She seems to like being inside just like the rest of the pack.  One night she even stood up next to the bed with that "maybe it wouldn't be so bad up there with the people" look.  She decided to go back to sleeping under the bed with Jake, but it was a very promising sign.  Today she has even learned to sit to get a treat.  She still needs the other dogs around to come close enough to get that treat, but it seems the breakthrough has been achieved.  She is a beautiful and sweet girl.  Now we are waiting for the next step when she will come up to us on her own without another dog around for comfort.
Update: December 6, 2001
Bonnie continues to improve.  A sad note though, Fanny, who we believe is Bonnie's sister, didn't make it.  She had a terrible upper respiratory problem.  A vet student from NC State was working with her to try and get her to come around (she was just like Bonnie.)  Even though she was on antibiotics Fanny's condition continued to decline.  She started bleeding excessively from her nose and mouth and it was determined nothing more could be done for her.  The vet school was performing an autopsy to try and determine the cause of her downfall.  Candles were lit in her memory on Monday, 12/3/2001.  Our hearts go out to her and all of those that tried to save her.

Now for Bonnie's update.  The little girl continues to slowly improve.  Now she runs in the house when called, even if there are no other dogs around.  She still has a bit of an issue going out without another dog for confidence, but has improved greatly.  She takes treats with confidence.  At night each dog gets a pig ear and heads for the bedroom to sleep.  At first Bonnie had

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Bonnie plays with the big dogs
(in the living room)

to be herded into the bedroom.  She would hide under the bed and I would slip her the pig ear.  Now she waits her turn, takes her pig ear with confidence, then runs into the bedroom on her own.  Her personal spot is still under the bed, but after
she's done with this treat she will come out and sleep in different spots, usually next to Hope or Jake.

Bonnie also loves to play.  We have a little game, I run and she chases, then I chase and she runs.  She clearly enjoys this game and barks at me to play whenever we're outside.  In the house I get on the floor to play with the dogs, and Bonnie will come up to me and sniff, but still runs if I try to touch her.  Recently she has even come up to me as if to say "please pet me", then she realizes how close she is, gets a shocked look on her face, and runs away.

Progress has been good.  We're still waiting for that big breakthrough when she'll allow herself to be touched and petted, but I know that it will come soon.

Update: January 16, 2002
 It's been over a month since there's been an update.  Bonnie is doing well.  Bonnie goes in and out on her own, but prefers to be around the other dogs (she's very social.)  Bonnie will take treats even if the other dogs aren't around as long as I'm behind a barrier like a baby gate or if a squat down.  If I'm standing she'll only take the treat if there's another dog around.  She's much more comfortable with people, but still keeps her distance.

A couple of weeks ago Bonnie actually jumped in the bed with me at night (Jake and Hope were in the bed at the time.)  She allowed me to pet her for several minutes while she lay next to Jake.  On two occasions she has allowed me to pet her while sitting on the floor, but these were rare moments.  Each time I had hoped it represented a breakthrough, and I guess in a sense it was, but these seem to have been only unique and special moments.  She does allow me to touch her on the chin when I come home on a regular basis, but always with the gate between us and the other dogs around.  We still play our game in the yard.  

She has become very insistent when she wants something and will bark very impatiently.  This can be annoying, but she is still a darling.  She is definitely one of the gang.  Two weeks ago we had a foot of snow.  Bonnie had lots of fun playing.  With her little short legs she had to bounce and bound through the snow.  She was a real cute little darling.

Update: February 25, 2002
Once again, over a month since an update.  In the past two weeks Bonnie has started coming up next to the bed in the morning to get petted.  She even came up and gave me a kiss on the face two days ago.  In the past three days she has even allowed me to pet her on some other occasions, though always with some security around her such as another dog.

Bonnie went into heat recently.  Jake and Cody showed her lots of attention, even though they're both neutered.  I was hoping this would hold off for a while since I was afraid the trauma of going to get spayed would set her back.  Unfortunately, we couldn't wait any longer.  She was spayed last Wednesday.  I tried to get her into a crate but she managed to dash away whenever I got close.  When I tried to corner her she seemed to panic, so I backed away.  I set up a large pen and tried to get her in there, but she ran from that too.  Even with Jake in the pen she kept away (she is very attached to Jake, so I was hoping that would work.)  I finally had to catch her with a slip lead and force her into the pen.  I know it was pretty frightening for her, but it seemed the least traumatic way to catch her.  Bonnie had to be poled and sedated in the pen so she could have her surgery.  Dr. Bartfield from the SNAP program performed the surgery.

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The little girl came through the procedure just fine.   We put her back in the pen to recover and go home.  I was going to finally put on her collar, but even though she was sedated she reacted to it, so I just let her rest.  Once home all the other animals came to check on her.  Each dog and cat came into the pen to be sure she was OK.  After they checked on her I closed the pen again and let her rest.  That night she was clearly feeling sore, though it didn't appear to be bad pain.  She was obviously happy to be home.  By the next morning she was feeling better, though not totally herself.  She has quickly recovered and is back to her old self again.  She doesn't seem to have had any setback, and continues to come up to me for attention in the morning and show affection in her own way all the time.

Update: May 6, 2002
It's now been over two months since the last update.  Bonnie's recovery from her spay was unremarkable, she never had any problems at all (a good thing!)  She comes up to the bed for attention nearly every night and every morning.  She even lays on her back and allows me to rub her belly at times.  At those times I'm also able to check her feet, skin, fur, teeth, eyes, ears, etc.

She can be very insistent when she wants something.  She barks when she wants out and sits at the back door and barks to come in.  She only wants out when another dog will go with her (usually Shannon - they're quite a pair when they dash out together.)  Like the other dogs, she only stays out for brief periods unless I'm outside with her.  Outside she can also be very insistent about playing our little game:  She barks and wants me to chase her, when I do she runs with great joy in big circles around me.  She's also much better about taking treats.  She'll even come up on her own to get one, though she's much more comfortable if another dog is with her.

We did have an incident a few weeks ago where Hope seemed to be going after Bonnie though not with the same fury she has shown at times against Shannon, and Bonnie was not fighting back.  The little girl is normally submissive to the other females, so I'm not sure what set this incident off.  They were quickly separated.  Bonnie had a small injury to her shoulder, but it wasn't bad enough to need treatment.  It has healed cleanly on it's own and we have kept a close eye on Hope (including not allowing her with the other girls when we're not home.)  Bonnie enjoys playing with the other dogs, including big girl Hope, and I haven't seen any indication of problems since that time.

This little girl's confidence is growing and she is clearly very happy.

Update: June 10, 2002
Our little girl's social skills continue to improve.  This past week she came up for petting and attention while I was setting on the deck outside.  She even let me brush her a bit one evening at bed time.  The times she seeks affection are longer and more frequent and she wants to be close even when no one is petting her.  She knows to sit to get a treat (though she does have to be reminded at times.)  She takes the treats in her turn and knows to be gentle when taking them (again, sometimes a reminder is necessary - which means not giving her the treat until she acts properly.)

We did have one very intense moment a week ago.  Jake has figured out how to open the gate to the main fence (chain link) in the back yard.  That morning the group went out as usual.  Normally they'll be ready to come in in 15 minutes or so, but this morning they seemed to be out a long time.  It was a particularly nice morning so I didn't think anything of it.  After 30 minutes or so I heard Bonnie barking, and it seemed awfully distant.  I went out to find the back gate open.  This gate leads to the garden area which is enclosed by a light weight welded wire fence.  While the dogs have been in this area to play on many occasions it is never unsupervised.  Jake has forced his way through the light gate at the back of the garden area in the past, but none of the other dogs are strong enough to go with him.  On this particular morning I called the dogs and Hope, Shannon and Cody came running back from the garden area.  Jake was running outside the fence, and I did not see Bonnie.  Jake came right in when called, but I found Bonnie OUTSIDE the garden fence.  I was in a bit of a panic and wasn't quite sure how to get her back.  She wouldn't come to the gate but at least she wasn't running off (we have a large wooded area behind our house, but we're not to far from a busy main road.)  I tried calling and coaxing but she ran back and forth and wouldn't come in the fence.  After quite a while of trying to coax her in I ran inside to get some treats.  When I came out she was at the back main fence, inside the garden fence, barking to come in.  I opened the gate and she ran in as if nothing had happened.  It was quite a relief.  She ran around just as happy as she could be to be back in her own yard.  I did find where Jake had pushed his way under the garden fence and bent it up.  Bonnie would follow Jake pretty much anywhere, so she must have just gone that way too.  We now keep a snap hook in all the gate latches so Jake can't open them.

  Update: July 23, 2002  
  Not much progress since the last update.  She has let me pet her some more, including the first pet outside and the first petting without another dog around.  She does come closer when we play and seems to stay nearer at other times, but that may be just wishful thinking on my part.  She also barks quite a bit so we have started trying to address this issue.  This one is a bit complex since we need to be very sensitive of her confidence level.  She does have a small knot of hair behind each ear.  So far I haven't been able to comb or cut them out without having her panic, so it may be a while before they're removed.

She has learned the canned food pattern of the house.  As a continued part of their training they occasionally get canned food, each gets their own bowl with me standing in the middle of the group.  They all have to stay with their own bowls and I handle each bowl while they are eating (not taking them away, just moving them some.)  This helps ensure we don't develop a food aggression problem.  When each dog is done I pick up the bowl and they're not allowed to go to any other bowl.  I don't touch Bonnie's bowl since she'll run away if I do, but she has learned she gets to have all that's in her bowl without any other dog (or person) driving her away.  She will let me touch the bones and other treats she's eating so I occasionally take them and give them right back.  This way she understands she'll get it back, but it's OK if I touch or take it, and she shows no signs of being upset about it.  This has paid off a couple of times when she has gotten into something she shouldn't have and I was able to immediately take it away.  In those instances I gave her an acceptable treat as a replacement.

I thought she was about to hop into the bed last night.  It is the closest she has come since her one time in January.  I keep hoping for the next big breakthrough.  It's been a while with little progress so I keep expecting one any day now.  I think the next thing will be to try to get her collar on her, and then try for a short walk along with another dog.

  Update: September 14, 2002  
  Still not much change.  Bonnie still has the knots behind each ear.  A couple of nights ago I thought she was about to let me cut them out, but she bolted.  Every time I think we're on the verge of a big breakthrough she backs off.  Some days it's a bit frustrating, but she's my little darling and I will never give up on this girl.  I'm still hoping for that breakthrough before she's due for her annual vaccines in November.  I still don't have a collar on her.  The one we have with her ID and rabies tag is a Greyhound type which slips over the head.  I may have to switch to one with a snap closure, but whichever I end up using I do want to make sure not to traumatize her to much when it's put on.  
  Update: October 6, 2002  
  Things are pretty much the same.  The knots behind her ears are still there, but don't seem to be getting any worse.  She does like attention and can be very insistent (and vocal) when she doesn't get it.  Even though she loves attention it is not necessarily the contact type.  She will allow physical contact under certain circumstances, but generally prefers the type of play that doesn't include it, such as chasing and running.  She is clearly a happy girl, but also seems quite interested in the whole concept of a "walk".  She sees the enthusiasm of the other dogs when a walk is involved, but still runs from the collar.  I'm hoping this may be the motivation that helps her to progress the to next level.  
  Update: October 22, 2002  
  Bonnie's annual exam and vaccinations are due next month.  She is clearly not where I'd hope she'd be by this time, so it may be a bit of a challenge.  I've been trying to force some extra contact, and keep it very positive, over the last few days.  In the evenings when she crawls under the bed to her regular spot to eat her evening treat (a pig ear) I crawl under with her and rub and scratch her back belly and talk to her while she eats. It seems to be helping, but it's a bit early to tell. 

Dr. Bartfield from SNAP has offered to administer her vaccines if needed.  She is the vet who spayed her and is used to handling "problem" dogs.  I'm hoping to minimize the stress on Bonnie as much as possible, but she does need to have a checkup and keep current on her vaccines.

  Update: November 1, 2002  
  Bonnie's big trip to the vet.  We started with a dose of ace promazine.  This was to help reduce her stress a bit and make it easier on her.  I still had to catch her with the slip lead and get her into the crate.  She was definitely upset, but settled quietly into the back of the crate and we were off.

At the vet we went right into an exam room and waited.  While Bonnie was in the crate I slipped a muzzle on her just in case.  She was very subdued and hid in the back of the crate.  Dr. Nichols came in with a vet tech to help with the little girl.  When we let Bonnie out she scurried from corner to corner but we got her into one corner and she crouched down and held still for her exam and shots.  It was clear she was scared, but she let them examine her including looking in her ears and eyes and didn't even flinch at the shots.  When I set the open crate in front of her she ran right in and settled in the back.  I put her new rabies tag on her collar and was able to finally get it on her and took off the muzzle.  While she was out we had weighed the crate to get a baseline and now weighed her in it.  The fat little girl weighs 50 lbs!!  (She's heavier than Shannon even though she's smaller.)  We headed home.  When I opened the crate she ran out, but seemed none the worse for her experience, and now she has on her collar and tags.  She got several treats for being a good girl.

  Update: November 4, 2002  
  Well, the collar only stayed on three days.  When I came home today it was lying on the floor in the living room, apparently pulled off when the dogs were playing.  Bonnie ran when I held it and I was not able to get it on her again.  I guess it will just have to wait.  
  Update: December 25, 2002  
  Merry Christmas!  Bonnie's second in her home.  Last year she was still a foster dog, so this is her first with this as her permanent home.  Each dog got a giant bone, a big special dinner with turkey and gravy, and lots of treats.  Our baby has continued to make slow progress.  She'll stand right next to me and even lean up against me as long as I don't lean down.  She has recently started to, on occasion, let me actually pet her in the middle of the room though usually she still runs away.  We continue to do our standard visit at bed time and in the morning.

Three weeks ago we had a big ice storm and lost power for several days.  Fortunately we have a fireplace (with plenty of wood) and a generator to run the critical items (refrigerator, freezer, a few lights, etc.)  The dogs were a bit confused since we slept in the living room.  I lay down on the big dog bed and fell asleep a couple of times (it's a big futon mattress).  When I woke up Bonnie was snuggled up right next to me with the other dogs.  She didn't budge even when she knew I was awake.  I've now set a chair next to the bed to make it easy for her to get up if she wants.  She hasn't hopped up yet, but I'm hoping it will be soon.

  Update: February 9, 2003  
  Progress is still slow.  Bonnie climbs up almost into the bed, but won't make that last little step.  She'll get within 6 inches or so of my face when I pet her, but if I try to ease closer she pulls away.  She still usually runs if I try to pet her when I'm standing.  I used to be able to comb her a bit at night just before bed.  She would lay under the edge of the bed and I could comb through her feathers and back a few times to keep the mats away, but I must have caught a knot one time and now she doesn't like the comb (actually either a brush or an undercoat rake.)  I can still use my fingers, but no hardware.  She's developed some mats along her back feathers which I'll need to either cut out with either a mat cutter or scissors, but that's not happening now.  In an effort to take a jump forward I spoke with Dr. Nichols at our vets office and we've started her on an anti-anxiety medication to try to reach the next step in her progress.

When we're outside we still play the "chase me" game, I run she chases, I chase she runs in a big circle (clearly happy as can be the whole time.)  She'll now come close and let me tough her nose anc scratch her chin a bit when we're outside if the other dogs are around.  It's a small step, but a step forward none the less.

  Update: June 23, 2003  
  Everything is still about the same.  Bonnie still has some small mats behind her ears and some along her back legs.  I've managed to clip some of the matting out, but only very little.  She runs at the sight of a brush or comb.  She demonstrates a desire to jump into the bed, but still has only progressed as far a propping her front legs up for attention.  All the dogs had to go on low calorie diets, with Bonnie needing the diet as much as any.   
  Update: September 14, 2003  
  The mats in her fur behind her ears and in the feathers of her back legs continued to grow.  I tried for some time to get them out, but with little progress since she would run from the brush or scissors.  I finally decided to take her to the vet to have her cleaned up.  I put the crate on the floor in the living room and was ready for a challenge getting her in, but she quickly ran in on her own.  At the vet she sat in the corner where I held her and her matted areas were clipped.  She was such a good girl and it was quite a relief to me to get her cleaned up this way.  We also got a weight on her, the fat little girl is now 55 lbs.  We'll have to keep a close eye on her to make sure she doesn't gain any more (and losing some would be good.)

Bonnie is making progress on other fronts too.  She's much more open to attention, even when she's not in a "protected" position.  On many occasions I've been able to just reach down and pet her, and she clearly enjoys the attention. 

  Update: October 19, 2003  
  She is doing well, though not much progress since the last report.  We went away for a long weekend and had a new house/pet sitter.  Bonnie did well and had no problems.  We also had our annual vet exam recently.  Bonnie went into the crate with very little resistance, and sat quietly while she had her exam.  I have always put a muzzle on her for exams as a safety measure, but we were able to remove it and examine her teeth this time (they're in great shape!)  Our little girl is still a bit heavy, but otherwise is doing well.  
  Update: November 28, 2003  
  Bonnie continues to slowly move forward.  In the evenings she is very patient with short brushings when she's under the edge of the bed.  While in the living room she will now even come up to strangers if they greet her through the gate between that room and the rest of the house.  There are more occasions when I can pet her and she is much less likely to dash away in a panic if I reach for her while standing.  The one problem is she seems to continue to slowly gain weight.  She's a fat little girl and really needs to lose some of that belly, but otherwise she's quite healthy.   She also tends to bark more than she should, which can get a bit annoying at times, but she's still our little baby.  If she barks excessively when we're outside I've started making her go in by herself.  She seems to understand and, when I let her back out a bit later, she's much more quite.  
  Update: March 9, 2004  
  A while back I built a set of steps leading up to the bed to make it easy for Bonnie to climb up (our bed is one of the four poster types that is high off the ground.)  It took a while and I was ready to move it out since I kept bumping my leg on it, then I woke up one morning with Bonnie standing next to me waiting for attention.  Now it's a regular routine.  She has slept on the foot of the bed a few times, but mostly she comes for a few minutes of attention at night, then sleeps under the bed, and waits until morning then walks up for attention at wake-up time.  She clearly adores attention, but after well over two years is still selective about situations where she feels comfortable with contact. 

Our neighbor has watched the animals a few times when we needed to be gone overnight, and Bonnie follows them around and will sniff hands and accept some contact.

Bonnie has some new knots in her fur: one on the right side of her neck, small ones behind her ears, and the beginnings of some in her back feathers.  Hopefully I can work these out without another vet visit, but that may be necessary at some point.  Right now the knots aren't bad enough to be a problem, so I'll keep trying to take care of this at home.

  Update: January 21, 2005  
  Bonnie went in for her annual checkup in October.  She did quite well.  She was given acepromazine again to help with the anxiety and I'm sure it helped.  Our little fat girl was up to 60 lbs, so a diet was in order.  We did trim out quite a few knots at the time and it appears a six month cycle is in order for these trims.  On the next one I hope she'll be able to handle a more extensive trim, maybe even a full body clip, but we'll see how she does and not push her more than is appropriate.

She seems to have lost weight since then, but still has more to go.  Of course, that may be wishful thinking since I don't actually have a weight on her.  I did notice this morning she still has quite a belly.  She still comes up to visit in the mornings and has been somewhat more receptive of attention at other times.  Progress is slow but it does seem to gradually continue.  I was hopeful of taking her out on a leash recently, but it's still not to be (I did buy her a bigger and nicer crate for the vet trips.)

There was a moment recently when the ring on her collar caught on something under the bed.  She didn't panic, but couldn't get free on her own.  She was just fine with me holding onto her collar while I got her loose.  It also seems easier to get her flea prevention put on her, though that may be another thing that's just worked into the routine so it could be I'm just being optimistic.

  Update: May 2, 2005  
  Bonnie continues to climb up and visit in the mornings.  Now she even lays down and has occasionally slept for short periods.  Looks like the weight loss was only wishful thinking, she's still as pudgy as ever.  She also continues to appear to be interested in walks when the other dogs go out, but still shies away when I try to approach her with a leash.

One thing is very clear, Bonnie is a happy little girl and that's the most important thing of all.

  Update: November 3, 2005  
  Our little girl continues to do well.  She went to the vet recently for her annual checkup.  She's up to 63 pounds!  (Not good, we'll need to work on a diet and exercise program for our pudgy little girl.  She also had a stye on her lower lid of her left eye.  It's been there for a while but hasn't bothered her so we've waited to get it removed.  She also had some signs of early gum irritation so we decided to go ahead and get everything addressed at once.  She went in on Oct. 27 and all went well.  Her teeth were cleaned and there's no sign of other dental problems.  The stye turned out to be bigger than expected and there was also a small one on the inside of the upper lid.  They were both cleaned out with no problems. 

The vet told me she did well and even walked on a leash for them inside the hospital.  She came home the same day and was right back to her old happy self.

  Update: January 24, 2013  
  A long time since the last update.  Bonnie is a happy girl.  She walks on a leash with the rest of the dogs.  She's not thrilled at first, but once we're out on the walk she's quite happy.  She likes attention and will come when called, particularly if there's food involved.  Since the last update we lost her friends Hope, Shannon and Jake.  She was particularly attached to Jake and noticeably missed him, but at least her other close buddy, Cody, is still with us.  She's starting to show signs of getting older.  She's definitely slower.  She also had a leg injury a while back (apparently twisted her knee playing with the other dogs).  While she seems fully healed, she has not played with quite the same energy since.  Of course, the others have aged too, so that may be part of it.  She smiles a lot, which lights up the room she is in.  We are so very happy she become part of our family those many years ago.  
  Update: August 25, 2014  
  Cody passed away recently.  He was the last of Bonnie's canine family who welcomed her when she arrived.  She was particularly attacked to Jake and Cody.  She clearly morned for Jake when we lost him and has been looking for Cody and doesn't seem to understand he's gone.  
  Update: June 9, 2016  
  We lost Bonnie at about 9 this evening.  We will forever miss our "Little Boo".
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Revised: Jun 28 2016