I know that he doesn’t have bloomers or climb up sheds, and is a member of the Tripawd nation only through his membership in the Big Yellow Rescued Dog Club, but figured it was a time to update on Mr. Gator. We spent almost three weeks together over the holidays, which I think really helped him feel more settled. Once, I called him “Ally Gator” just for fun, and he loved it. You can tell that someone, somewhere has called him that before and it has a positive connotation for him. And about a month ago, I started finding yellow fur on one of Otis’ Big Barker beds. It has now become his daytime hangout. Makes me think he is starting to feel permanent, and not a guest waiting for the other dogs to come back and kick him out.
And of course, the gator toy still comes to bed for play every night.
We had a true heart bonding moment about two weeks ago. It was an unusually foggy and warm (40 degrees in Chicago in January!) and at 2:00 a.m., I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep. Walked downstairs and let Gator out, then did my own ‘business.’ When I go to let him in, I can’t find him in the yard. Anywhere. I put my shoes and coat on and go out front, at this point wondering if I am going to find him at House 5. I think I see him at the hospital (which is right after House 5), but by the time I get there, I can’t find him anywhere. At this point, I am not sure where to look – the hospital lot is huge, and there are coyotes and critters all over. Or, did he go on his normal walking route? Or did he decide to explore and go another direction entirely? And do we have enough of a bond that he will even come if I call him? Thinking all these thoughts, but for some reason, not feeling the anxiety that I should have been feeling in this situation. I decided to try his walk route. Got all the way to the park and didn’t see him (remember, very foggy), and think I should go back to the hospital as the last place I did see him. As I am walking back, I hear jingles. (Remember how much he loves his jingles!) I called him, and he peeks out from behind a bush in a neighbor’s yard and COMES RIGHT TO ME when I call! By the way, the two tags jingling together are his Village license and his Tripawds protection charm. Not sure why, but there was something very special about that night. A fence guy comes tomorrow to give me an estimate to build a new fence that cannot be jumped quite so easily.
It is also becoming obvious that Gator does not like being alone – he is a bit timid in that way. I am not sure that he would be happy without the cats – he clearly views them as pack mates and not critters. And high winds terrify him more than fireworks. Spent one very long night with a scared dog in my bed during a wind storm.
I took him back to daycare yesterday for the first time after the holidays – when I picked him up, he came straight to me and then pulled me straight to the door. When we got in the car, he leaned up and sniffed my hair furiously for a minute or two, then sat back and relaxed in the back seat. A big step forward, considering he didn’t seem to recognize me the first time he went.
Gator takes critter patrol very seriously – almost as if he feels it is his job, and a very serious responsibility, as dog of the house. Most of the squirrels, chipmunks, rabbits and etc. seemed to have moved on. But every now and then you get a idiot who thinks it is a good idea to tease a dog who can easily jump and reach 9 feet plus. The picture was taken from inside on my phone – look up toward the top window of the yellow house to see the squirrel on the tree. One wrong step and that squirrel is toast. And Gator will sit there forever, waiting for that one wrong step . . .