Alvin sticks out his tongue when he is nervous

Thursday, November 3, 2011

I'm floored

If you have followed along you know that most of Alvin's progress has occurred with me on the ground with him.  For the past week or two I haven't been on the floor with him very much for no other reason than it's not very comfortable down there.  I also noticed because Alvin is such a creature of habit that he was identifying my bedroom as the petting room and was far more skittish in the other rooms.  I have sat on the floor in the living room a few times and he has done pretty well but as we enter normalcy I have been on the floor less and less.  Last night I was reflecting that there haven't been many breakthroughs lately and I got a bit discouraged because he has so far to go.  I started to wonder if this was close to the most he was going to be able to accept human touch.  I decided to go back to what was working best and I laid down on the floor.  It was as uncomfortable as I remembered but within minutes it was very well worth it.  Alvin started doing his circling but it was the normal dog circling that dogs do when they are getting ready to lay down.  His circling got closer and closer to me and I found myself nearly holding my breath, hoping for what would have been unthinkable a few weeks ago.  Alvin very purposefully laid down with his body pressing against my legs and put his little chin on my leg.  I was so excited but I knew if I moved a muscle that he would be up on full alert.  It is during those times that I think I imagine my legs itching and feel all kinds of involuntary twitches.  Poor Alvin was just trying to sleep but I kept accidentally moving and disrupting him.  We went through this exercise seven times and five out of the seven he chose to lay with his whole body pressing against me.  I cheated on the two times he chose to lay a ways a way from me and did something that made him jump up so that he would have to lay down again.  I finally decided to call it a day when he laid against my stomach and fell asleep with his head on my chest.  Someone who isn't an animal lover could not possible understand how amazing that moment felt and I dare say that many animal lovers wouldn't get it either, but for me this was our biggest day!  It is becoming increasingly clear that Alvin really wants human contact but his fear is often too great and it deprives him of the comfort of touch.  Watching him sleeping on my chest last night made me know that he is going to get there.  Up until now I have been very happy with his progress but I didn't know if we would ever get to where he would choose human contact and would be able to trust enough to fall asleep.  So, I'll be back on the floor tonight.  I have also come to the realization that we need to find Alvin an adopter that has a futon or just really loves to sleep on the floor. 

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