I guess I should explain a few things leading into this post.
For some odd reason, small children and animals have some kind of kinship with me. I'm not sure what it is, but it's there. I've had children in supermarkets attempt to get out of shopping carts for me to hold them or when pushing around friend's infants in stores etc. I've had them just rolling with laughter when I ask what they're smiling at....my halo or my horns. These are children too young for words, yet they find the joke hilarious.
I have yet to figure out why these little treasures have such an affinity for me, and it's MOST, not ALL of course. I can't say I mind it all too much since I like them too.
Recently, at an event my sister organizes every year called the annual Doggie Dive, there was a little toy poodle that had been lost/abandoned or otherwise in the pool area for several days. No one could catch her until the day of the doggie dive when she dove into the pool and I believe it was my sister who fished her out again.
I got there and found her holding this little bundle wrapped in a towel and asked, "wait, what's this.......did you get a new baby?" My sister told me no, then proceeded to tell me how she'd finally been caught. I approached the little lady and told her you poor baby, are you lost? And she decided she liked me and licked me, then of course I had to hold her either in my arms or on my lap all that day. We found a leash from one of the booths there, and some food, which I had to hand feed her while she was on my lap since she didn't yet feel confident enough to be far from me.
As the day wore on, and there were fewer dogs, I let her down to go and drink water, which she did as long as I was in her view, and then she'd run back and hop on my leg to be picked up. She allowed my sister to hold her as well, but every time she heard my voice she would cry to come back to me. That day I let go of the leash and she would never stray far from me, I wanted to test her reaction to having some freedom in relative safety.
Her photo was posted on several sites including the one for the doggie dive asking her rightful owners to come and claim her. The day passed and no one came. The various shelters that were there could not take her as it was the weekend, and she had bonded with me, so I took her home. I don't need a dog, I didn't want a dog, and yet I have one. It's not a breed I would have chosen for myself, but she's apparently decided I'm a breed she would choose for herself.
We have a lot of healing to do, she throws a fit if I must leave, and even cries when I'm in the tub because we're separated by a barrier. I'm also trying to kennel train her so that she knows "gone from sight" does not mean "gone forever". We have made some progress, she doesn't like the kennel, but she will tolerate it as long as a shirt I've worn is placed in there with her.
I don't know how long she was lost, or what trials she faced while she was gone, but for whatever reason, I am having a hard time getting her to use the bathroom. She will cry to go out, but if something distracts her, she will not go. It took me half the day from the time we woke up until a little while ago to get her to go pee today. For some reason she's got the idea that going pee/poop isn't a good idea or allowed, and so when she does I give her a lot of praise. I can not imagine how uncomfortable it must be for such a little dog to hold that for days at a time. Since she won't go for long periods of times, and she's trying so hard to hold it, she might drop little "pooplets" when she gets excited, but since it's not on purpose and is stemming from the trauma she's not corrected for it. It's a side effect of her feeling like she has to hold it, and we're trying to work through that too. If anyone knows about these things, feel free to share.
We have discovered that I can leave the room without too much fuss if she's interested in chasing the laser light that the kitties love so much. She will chase that thing all over and nothing else exists for her in that perfect moment of play. She carries around treats and food, but she's getting braver, and jumping down on her own sometimes to get some and bringing it back to eat near me, instead of me having to take her and feeding her by hand.
She had no collar and so I don't know her "old" name, and so since she looks like fall colors I'm calling her Autumn.....whenever she's not being called good girl or pretty girl. I've also added a post to craig's list since I'm not sure where her owners might think to look, but no matter what, no one can have her if that bond is not there, or if she shows any kind of hesitance or fear. I will not risk having this little lady go through any more trauma at the hands of another human.