Adventures of Ali – part two
Yesterday we braved the rain to go to Marymoor for a Formosan Mountain Dog meet up. There were about fifteen dogs of many different colors and coats but all around the same size and shape. We had our big moment when I let Ali off leash for the first time outside our yard. She exceeded my expectations by not only coming back when she was called but also keeping an eye on either Adam or me. It was more like she was watching us to make sure we didn’t run away then that we were watching her. She seemed to be saying, “now that I have people who feed me and love me I am not losing track of them!” It was so much fun to see her running free and getting to play with other dogs.
The people there were great and we got to hear so many stories about these brave, loving and intelligent dogs. They were excited to offer us advice on cats, training and being able to let go of a loved foster. Many of the dogs there had much rougher lives than Ali, being hit by cars, having broken body parts, and having rubber bands put around their necks which slowly dig into the flesh and is a way dogs are sometimes killed in Taiwan. In spite of all this I saw an amazing group of dogs just enjoying themselves.
A few days ago Ali started stealing our socks and putting them in her bed so she could suck on them. She had had no interest in toys up until that point. We decided to take her up to the Mud Bay to buy her some things since we preferred she have her own instead of the socks, even though she was gentle with them. We bought her an earth stuffed toy full of little earths. When we got home she was super excited, shaking the big earth and throwing the little earths into the air and running after them and pouncing on them. It was so fun to see this former street dog having fun!
Her favorite new toys are a little duck and chicken that make bird sounds given to her by my friend and local shaman Rose De Dan. You should have seen Ali’s eyes light up when Rose made the chicken make the chicken sound and then handed it to her. Ali walked around with it in her mout,h so proud, and then lay it at the front door so she would not forget to take it with her when she left. These toys were favorites of Rose’s dog Puma who recently passed away and I think that makes them even more special. Ali now sleeps with the chicken between her paws at night.
Yesterday after the park we met up with Rose and a friend of hers at the PCC. Ali’s hips were a little sore after the park and they gave her some reiki work, which she really enjoyed. Rose’s friend had recently been diagnosed with cancer and Ali seemed to sense that she needed some comfort. She lay down against her in the parking lot of the PCC offering love, energy and support. It seems I have a little healer dog in my hands. I have found when I am upset or if Adam and me get in an argument she is quick to offer her comfort to him or me in a gentle but firm way.
So on to the cats. Despite what I thought Ali has decided that she might be able to live with cats. We had a trainer out yesterday morning who pointed out that she could have easily already killed a cat if she wanted to. As I write she is laying in the middle of our living room with a cat sitting behind her and next to me on the couch grooming himself. One of our other cats just announced herself, jumped over the baby gate and walked in front of Ali. Ali lifted her head to watch but that was all. So the jury is still out on that one but it looked like with enough work it might be possible. It helps that the cats are also learning not to run in front of her.
Meanwhile Ali has decided that she needs to guard the house for us. Unfortunately she sees the paperboy as a threat and since he comes at 4:45am wakes us up. The easiest solution seems to be to cancel the paper and get a good night sleep instead.
I could write so much about this special little girl but I’ll leave it at that. I do want to leave you with a video of the shelter most of these Taiwanese dogs come from. The numbers alone are amazing and the work the volunteers do with these dogs are heartwarming.