White Dog nudged YoYoMa and nodded toward our newest recruit. "I think she is already starting to get the routine," the leader of the White Dog Army said to him. Yo laughed, "This part is easy it took me, what? About thirty seconds to figure out that duck jerky was worth lining up for...and I am blind!" "Aw, but you have the best snooter in the house, bro," White Dog told him.
It was treat time and the White Dog Army fell into position around me. Not quite to the point of sitting in the line, Storm quickly figured out that she had to come to the periphery of the WDA and wait for her turn as I doled out strips of lean duck jerky. She was not yet ready to take the treat from my fingers but her siblings patiently respected my "leave it" until she could scurry over to where I laid the strip at the corner of my chair. Storm then took her time savoring the delectable favorite of White Dogs of every shade.
We began introducing the doggie door with Sachi and Zsofia's help. Steve helps the tiniest girl out through the dog door so she can follow Sachi across the deck and down the ramp. Steve meets them outside and walks the yard. Zso takes over the perimeter walk and patiently waits as business is conducted then she leads Storm back up to the door. The newbie doesn't yet understand that she must push and step inside the magic portal, but she sniffs and explores the door itself from booth sides. It won't be long until it is a natural action.
The WDA, Steve and I are finding Gentle Storm much less timid than we anticipated. She has a healthy natural curiosity and seems to want to make both sibling and human contact. She has been a bit like Goldilocks trying everypup's bed and nap spots; the Army has been gracious in letting her explore. At night she has chosen to rest in the bedroom socially with the majority of us instead of in the office where just WD (and sometimes Puff) spend the night. Right now we are all sensitive to giving her space while maintaining an invitation to connect.
We are already finding hope in addressing Storm's colitis issues. Seems the ramp up to the fish-based diet we feed the WDA, the addition of Kefir to her kibble, and probiotics which her foster started a few weeks ago is at the initial stages of paying off. She is no longer totally liquid and is developing some semi-solidity. Poor Miss Storm may also be lactose intolerant, an issue we will address with Dr. Julia when she sees our new recruit. The switch from yogurt to Kefir and the elimination of string cheese (the Little Lady's favorite treat) has helped digestion as well.
Some of my most treasured memories are those that are centered around the introduction of a new member of our family. I am always awestruck at the complex social understanding and acceptance that goes into those first few weeks. My White Dog Army every single time rises to the occasion to give space, integrate, set boundaries, allow exploration, and to accept the new recruit without judgment so that the new pup can find his/her footing and rest the baggage of a former life. And those are the moments being created now, with Storm, who has a beautiful smile.