A weekend with Pyrrha at my parents’ place

This past weekend, Pyrrha and I took our first road trip together, to visit my parents, see my siblings, and help my sister with her wedding plans. It was a five-hour drive and Pyrrha handled it like a champ. She slept for the majority of the trip in the back of our little hatchback (which is now coated in wall-to-wall fur). I was very proud, and knowing she was peacefully dozing made me a lot less anxious.

Here are a few recaps of what Pyrrha did over the weekend:

Meeting the family

Pyrrha got to meet lots of family members this weekend, and she did great with everyone. In total, she met my sisters, my sister’s fiance, my grandparents, my aunt, uncle, cousin, the neighbors and the neighbor’s two young girls. Whew!

With TT in the kitchen
With my mom in the kitchen.
Kisses for Grace!
Kisses for Grace, my youngest sister.
Meeting Ma-Maw
Meeting my grandmother.
Kisses for Ma-Maw!
Kisses for her great-grandmother!
Floor time with Juju
Floor time with my dad.
Morning meditation with Alex
Floor time with my sister’s fiance.

A few observations: She still warms up to women much faster than she does to men, but after she’d met everyone, she seemed to treat the family with an equal mix of tolerance and occasional anxiety. She became especially fond of my mom. My guess here is that my mom’s body and body language very closely mirrors mine, and I think this makes her feel safe and comfortable. Pyrrha’s other family favorites turned out to be my dad (who speaks dog fluently and loves dogs as much as I do), my mom, and my sister’s fiance, Alex (shown in the last photo). Alex is calm and quiet and has been around German shepherds before. I like to believe that Pyrrha sensed this.

Dublin, Pyrrha’s therapy dog

One of the most encouraging parts of our weekend away was Pyrrha’s interaction with Dublin, the neighbor’s chocolate lab mix, who acts as my father’s surrogate dog.

Romping with Dublin
Dublin, Pyrrha’s therapy dog.

I wasn’t sure if they would get along at all. Dublin reacts somewhat negatively to new dogs in her territory, especially new female dogs. Add that with Pyrrha’s anxiety about new dogs, and I suspected they wouldn’t be able to interact at all.

So, this is just one more example of Pyrrha proving me wrong and exceeding my expectations. We let them sniff each other through the fence for a bit, and then we let Pyrrha into Dublin’s yard, off leash. All of us humans stayed outside the fence.

Nice calming signals, girls.

Within a minute, after the preliminary sniffs and some tail-tucking from Pyrrha, the two were romping like old friends. It was so heartwarming.

Romping with Dublin
Play time!
Romping with Dublin
Going for the face!

Pyrrha just fell in LOVE with Dublin. (I also couldn’t help but wonder if it had something to do with the fact that Dublin very closely resembles Camden, in color and build.) They spent most of their weekend together and I think Dublin really helped build Pyrrha’s confidence. She was so happy and relaxed whenever Dublin was nearby.

Romping with Dublin
Pyrrha’s inciting posture. I love this photo. Look at that goofy face.
All tuckered out
All tuckered out.

The farmer’s market

On Saturday morning, we took Dublin and Pyrrha with us to the farmer’s market. It was a fairly busy and overwhelming crowd, but Pyrrha handled it like a champ. Again, I think it helped her so much that Dublin was right next to her and was taking it all in with such calmness and apparent lack of concern.

Pyrrha met lots of dogs that morning and didn’t show any signs of extreme fear. I was so proud! I think holding her leash very loosely has improved these interactions tremendously, not to mention that I’m so much calmer about dog-to-dog interactions now.

We were even ambushed by a stray dog on our way over there. It was a rangy-looking basenji-esque mix without any leash or collar. We attempted to throw a leash around his neck, but he growled at us when we approached. He was very friendly to Dublin and Pyrrha, though. Not sure what will happen to that little guy, but I hope he finds a safe place. He seemed very self-sufficient and confident about town, though.

At the lake with Dublin

On Saturday evening, we took the dogs on a brief hike around the lake. Dublin, true to her retriever heritage, LOVES the water and loves retrieving anything you throw into it. Pyrrha, as we’ve learned, is decently scared of water. But after she watched Dublin diving in, she even waded in herself. She freaked out when she went too far and could no longer stand, but she very eagerly waded. Which I take as progress.

Dad and I with Pyrrha and Dublin at the lake. Photo by Grace Farson.
Pyrrha watches Dublin go for the ball. Photo by Grace Farson.

My sister Grace took great photos from that outing, and I recommend her recap! (I also have a new profile picture for this blog, which Grace took. I think it’s a nice one of both of us.)

We’re headed back to my parent’s in a month, and I think Pyrrha will be eager to come again.

I think I like it here
I think I like it here.
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9 thoughts on “A weekend with Pyrrha at my parents’ place

  1. YAY Pyrrha! The trip seems like it was as relaxing as you could’ve hoped. 🙂

    Haha, Elli’s been at the wading-stage for almost 1.5 years. I’m afraid to throw her ball in any water to motivate her to finally swim because I will probably end up retrieving it. :/

  2. What a busy weekend! It’s so impressive how Pyrrha handled it all with style and even relaxed enough to have a good time. I love how Dublin encouraged her to take risks she normally wouldn’t have. I guess sometimes a dog just needs another dog to show them the way.

    We’ve never taken Shiva to another person’s house and to this day I am still not sure how it would go. But perhaps I need to step back and trust, like you did this weekend.

  3. What great progress! I wish we would’ve exposed Rufus to more people early on, as well as travelled home with him when we were closer. I took him to work with me, which helped, but after a couple of bad reactions in other public setting, I gave up. We are making up for it now, but it would’ve been an easier transition from the beginning.

  4. I love that your family looks so willing to engage with “floor time” with Pyrrha. Love the photo of dogs splashing in the lake as peeped through three branches!

  5. Pyrrha is just taking so many things with grace and poise! I especially like the bitey face picture. It looks like they were having so much fun!

  6. It sounds like a very successful weekend for Pyrrha! When Kuster was little and we started taking him out places, there was never any doubt that we’d take him along with Bunny. She’s very calm and self-possessed. She loves meeting people and does so calmly and without fear. Since that’s what we want from Kuster, it was an obvious choice. As much as I love Morgan, I don’t want Kuster to view the world like she does. And he’s confident enough now that he doesn’t need a role model anymore, but we are still working hard on the boy’s manners! He’ll wag his tail off when he meets someone, but he has also been known to turn around and steal a lady’s sandwich out of her purse in the next heart beat. lol The killer was that after we caught him and told him no, she wanted to feed it to him!

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