Wednesday, September 7, 2011
The Journey Home
On September 6, 2011 I took Alvin from the home he had been in for the past 18 months and put him in my car to come to my house three-and-a-half hours away. The idea was that Alvin had been in a home with many other dogs and there was simply no way to provide one-on-one attention to him. Alvin traveled in the front seat with his back pressed against the passenger side door and he continually stared at me for the entire trip home. After arriving home and introducing him to Timmie, Stevie, and the cat, Maddie I left him to do what he does when stressed out and that was to trot in circles around the living room and the back yard. Alvin has considerable stamina and apparently a very good sense of balance because he was able to trot in circles for hours without seeming tired or dizzy. I didn't attempt to touch him too much and there did not appear to be anything that I could do to comfort him other than to leave him alone. We finally went to bed very late and I was awake most of the night listening to him repeatedly making a noise, which I can only compare to the noise a puppy makes when rooting around for a nipple from its momma. It was clearly a sound of distress but I was struck at how young and primitive it sounded. He made this noise all night while looping in his circles. It nearly broke my heart and I came to realize that I had never encountered a dog as vulnerable as Alvin. There is something about this boy that needs more protecting and more respect for his individual emotional healing process than anything other dog I will probably ever know. The challenge and heartbreak is that an essential part of helping him heal is to leave him alone and not crowd him with what I want to do, i.e. pet him, hold him. I had to watch him go through his own mourning and adjustment and all I could do was to try to speak reassuringly and to randomly belt out songs because he seems to respond to singing. Alvin has now heard nearly ever song from the two-hour musical, Les Miserables sung horribly by a desperate woman that knew no other way to "comfort" him. Alvin needs to "get better" fast because there is also every song from Wicked and Annie on deck if he requires more "comforting".