White Dog gets wry amusement at Opal's treattime habits. "She is like a long legged version of Stormer," she points out. "and is a lot faster."
Opal, the newest member of the White Dog Army is still extremely timid. In quiet moments if I sit very still and hold my hand out she will come up and sniff it quickly before darting back to a safe distance. She responds to Steve's call, "Opal, bedtime, come in," but won't enter the dog door until he is not standing nearby.
She paces as far as the kitchen door as Steve prepares meals and runs ahead to her spot in the bedroom where her bowl gets placed. When Steve approaches, she backs up a bit, watching as he puts it down and steps back; only then does she charge forward to eat.
So too, does she know the sounds of the treat bag being opened. And like Storm, the little breeder girl who brightened our lives for only a short time, stands at the edge of the action as treats are dispersed. She won't come closer nor is there any possibility that she will take a cookie from your fingers. Like Storm, seemingly full of patience and faith, Opal sits at the end of the hallway and waits.
It is a game of quickness and cunning for Steve or I must be sure the rest of the White Dog Army is distracted enough that they do not notice the treat we have palmed anticipating the moment of opportunity. We have learned to check heads and see who looks down the hallway or who casually wanders over toward the doorway...those are indicators that some pup is on to our plan.
If we are patient and not too obvious a window opens...a nanosecond chance to toss the treat down the hall toward Opal. If she is paying attention and is quick enough she can usually scoop up the nom and run outside before being confronted.
Opal has become pretty good about watching from the corner of her eye, for all of the world appearing to have no interest in what is taking place in the living room. The slightest of eye contact warns her to be ready for the toss and she is moving before the cookie hits the ground. Yesterday, Pearl dashed UNDER Zsofia who had not quite pinpointed where the treat had landed to grab the prize.
The whole ritual makes White Dog and I laugh with memories of Storm and knowing how over time she moved the goal line closer. It is our hope that Opal, too, will slowly come toward the action and maybe someday be confident enough to sit with the pack to receive her treat. Time, patience and love...the mantra for all things worthwhile.