White Dog did a double take as she came out from behind her fortress of chairs. Opal was standing deeply in the living room, in front of me and my chair. She looked directly into my eyes and touched my hand. I moved only my thumb as I slid it to touch under her chin, only for an instant. She relaxed and appreciated the gesture for a heartbeat and then slowly walked away.
It was, as it turned out, a day of huge advances for our shyest girl. The former breeder mill girl with the tragic story, is in her own time, learning how to trust.
There was no particular reason for Opal's decision to interact more...at least not one she shared. But all day she trotted out from her safety zone to stand within touching distance and just watch me...to check in. We talked and made eye contact. It was calm and relaxed. I tried very hard to hide my joyful excitement in fear of spooking her; I moved slowly, if at all.
In the afternoon, she again stood on the edge of my blanket. I smiled and talked calmly about the day. Suddenly she reached down and grabbed the edge of the velour and tried to trot away with my blanket in her teeth.
"Hey, Silly Girl! Where do you think you are going with that?" She put the edge down and stood on it as she gave me a "what do think I am doing?" look. Then she picked up the cloth and tried again to go back to her spot. "Oh no, Opal, my dear. I need my blankie." I tossed a treat into the hall to distract her and tucked the warmth back around me.
Then I noticed the corner she grabbed contained a coffee spill...well, actually more like a cream spill (I like my coffee heavily diluted). I nodded at YoYoMa, "Looks like someday soon you are going to have a new member to your morning coffee club." Each morning Yo, Zso, Nilla, Benson, Pearl and sometimes Sachi line up for a few laps of my cream with coffee morning beverage...with each new member the momma share dwindles so that now, Steve makes a cup and a half so I can actually enjoy a cuppa.
Progress with Opal sometimes seems glacial but then days like this happen and it is easy to visualize the day when our Sparkling gem hangs with the Army and jumps on the couch and waits for her turn at treats. "Soon!" I want to shout, but Bella cautions me. "Slowly, momma, with steps forward and back. That is how it goes. Remember I am still a work in progress and think about how long it has been. Opal WILL find her way but remember, patience and love."