Rosa has been with her new people Sally and Lee for about 8 months after they took her in from a rescue that she had been handed to by her hunter in Spain. They are keen to help Rosa overcome her anxiety and help her build her confidence. She is such a loving dog, but was finding things like making eye contact really difficult, and loud noises to be a trigger of her worries. One of her ways of coping is to withdraw, so making the initial connection with Rosa was really interesting.
The first time I connected with Rosa, she felt panicked and her response was 'I can't, I can't'. Straight away I realised part of her wanted to connect, but she was worried. I let her be and explained that was enough, she had done brilliantly and that we would connect again sometime if she was happy about it. Even though I had a huge list of questions for Rosa I got the sense it was really important that there was no pressure, or I would loose her trust before we'd even begun.
I connected with her again on another day, and explained I was there to help her and listen if she wanted, and that Sally and Lee are wanting to help her. This time she felt more relaxed, and I just sat there, in a connection with her without asking anything. Just being together.
Then one afternoon, I connected with Rosa and felt she was trusting me and ready to start communicating a bit more. She started off by showing me images of herself licking a tin of fish, and that she was enjoying it a lot! This time I was able to start asking her some questions about her past and she showed me images of various places and continued answering questions that helped piece together what had happened with her and what might help her. This felt really exciting, like the door had opened and I'd been welcomed in.
The next stage was to go and meet Rosa in person, and during this session I asked if she would like to go to 'Friday Club' which is the doggie day care that her friend Finn goes to. She so clearly almost shouted out 'Yes!' which was great as Sally and Lee had wanted to start taking her, but weren't sure if she was ready for it or not. Rosa had a wonderful time on her first day. After this communication session she is making eye contact more confidently and the positive interactions with all the other dogs is helping build her confidence too. She is starting to come out of her shell and play and be happy, which is wonderful to hear!
As Rosa's journey continues I'll update the blog so you can follow along.