Brave Little Girl

The kids came over today with a beautiful present for me — a planter they had made and painted me for Mother’s Day. That was awesome but what was REALLY awesome was Michelle.

When she met the dogs in my house last week, she was terrified and panicked. It was bad. Bear went into major livestock guardian dog to try to comfort her which just made it worse since Bear’s way of comforting a scared little animal is to get on top of them. And Teddy was apeshit because of the chaos. Michelle loves them, but they terrify her.

Last week, Bear “wrote” Michelle a letter and explained about herself to the little girl. “Bear” also explained to Michelle that Teddy is still basically a puppy and very excited all the time about everything. Today Michelle wanted to come in and see the dogs again and try everything Bear told her in her letter.

Again, she was terrified. I sat down on the sofa with her and wrapped her in my arms. I was amazed that instantly she relaxed. Bear relaxed, too. Little by little, Michelle was ready to try again. She even stood up and got a toy for Teddy. She sat back on the sofa with me. That is when Bear saw that Michelle was scared of Teddy. Bear put herself between Michelle and Teddy and didn’t move. I told Michelle what Bear was doing and she understood that it would make it easier for her to interact with Teddy if Bear were between them. I told Michelle how great she was doing, told Bear what a good dog she was and told Teddy he was a good boy when he sat or went down on command. I told Michelle to tell them, too. She learned that Bear would rather have pats than cookies.

It was really, really cool. When she left she apologized for being afraid. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such a brave kid in my whole life.

The box is really beautiful and they were so proud of it. There are good paintings of Teddy, Bear, me and one of their kitties. There are GREAT color combinations. Rumor has it that the orange glows in the dark. I’ll check that tonight.

34 thoughts on “Brave Little Girl

  1. Martha–this is so sweet. I am nothing short of amazed by Bear protecting Michelle like that. I would have cried. She sounds like such a mature little girl. And Bear and Teddy–well, I don’t even know what to say about them. ‘Good dog’ is so trite, but you know what I mean.

  2. How sweet, Martha! Michelle is very brave — I don’t’ know that I would have had the courage to try again so soon, and perhaps it’s because I didn’t have a mentor like Miss Martha that I still am not fond of dogs, especially big ones! From what I have read about Bear, I think I would like her, but it would take some getting used to her — and she might have to protect me from Teddy!

    I had a boss for a while in the late 90’s who had a Chow dog. I was warned about the dog, but told that she never jumped up on people — as I walked into the house, the dog’s paws were on my shoulders! Very gentle, but a little disarming! Somehow, I imagine Bear to have the same gentleness πŸ™‚ !

    • Bear can be enthusiastic, but she doesn’t jump up on people. She sits on her haunches and wraps her “arms” around people’s legs and hugs them. Teddy is a force of nature. He’s starting to calm down, but only maturity will bring that about.

      That chow wanted your friendship. Chow dogs are also guardian dogs, more fierce as a breed than many, but with some of the same instincts. I like them very much, though they can be formidable. ❀

      • Yes, the chow was a very friendly dog — the jump was a surprise, but it was so gentle that it didn’t bother me as much as I would have expected! πŸ™‚

        • You must have a very calm presence, but maybe a little shy (from the chow’s perspective). He related to you in a very special way.

      • I think it took the proper preparation, and the chow’s friendly personality to make it work — I don’t remember for sure, but I believe that the dog went off to his favorite resting place after greeting me.

  3. what a gift to all of you. you handled it perfectly and turned things around for her. the planter and all the art are treasures

  4. Sends me back to when my own children were little. Rex was the most patient and affectionate nanny one could ever ask for. Even got along with the cats. When we got our first kitten he would let it climb all over him, even let it put its head in his mouth. Got into a fight with a rottweiler to protect it once. The rottie lost badly. He was a Bernese.

    Our older dog Spot was some kind of mutt. There was some Lab in his but there was some kind of hound as well. He loved to tree raccoons and would bay at them in the back yard. He was also an affectionate and lovey dog.

    When those dogs eventually passed on, we wept more than we had for any human death.

  5. Oddly enough, this reminds me of a similar thing that happened to me, but in that case, I was the “dog”. Or in this case, the bunny.

    About 25 years ago, I worked in a local mall as the Easter Bunny. I dressed in the suit, wore the giant head, and got my picture taken with loads of little kids all day. It was usually slower business during the school week, and that was when a woman would bring her daughter, Britney. Britney was probably about 4, and was absolutely terrified of me. Every day or so, over a span of about a week, her mom would bring her to my “garden” to see me. She started at the very edge of my area, and eventually came close enough to say “hi”, then shyly shake my hand. Eventually, she finally agreed to sit on my lap for a photo, and then came to visit me every day for the rest of the time we were in the mall. It was the highlight of my time there.

    I did the same job the following year, and Britney came back. She ran up to me and gave me a huge hug right away πŸ™‚

  6. Love this. That little girl will remember this interaction all of her life. She will grow up aware of how dogs perceive things differently than we do. What an incredible gift you have given her! And the box she made for you – priceless.

  7. My daughter was terrified of dogs. It was a big deal for her to sit on my shoulders and throw a ball for my sister’s dogs. She mostly stayed on my shoulders if dogs were around. When she was almost 8 we rented a house for a weekend. At the last minute the owner told us about his dog – a boxer/pit bull mix. He wanted the dog to have the run of the farm. On our second day I looked out the window to see my daughter lying in the yard using the dog for a pillow. She is now dog’s best friend.

  8. Perfect! You and Bear and Teddy even handled the situation with such skill that I’m certain that Michelle will develop a good relationship with the dogs and probably all future dogs she meets! And the planter is a work of art! What are you going to plant in it??

    • I think I’ll put small pots of herbs in the planter. I might just keep it in my “studio” (or whatever that room is). I just had Teddy out for a walk and the kids were waiting for us. Michelle tried to teach Teddy to shake by showing him with her own hands. “Now Teddy, here’s how you shake.” It was adorable. It would be great if she gets to the point where I can teach her how to communicate in “dog.” πŸ™‚

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