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Phoenix (left) lives with James and Judy Adams of Massachusetts.
Update:  Birdie’s (Laika's Flight of the Phoenix) sixth birthday!
It has been a long and interesting journey the last twelve months. Birdie is slowly overcoming his fears and is making slow but stead progress toward normalcy.
While he still is not fully trusting and comfortable when I’m in the room (he’s always expecting the other shoe to drop) he has accepted the fact that he can be in the same room and relax rather than making a wild sprint for the exit.
This past summer, around June we decided that it was time for Birdie to give up his game of treating me as the Devil Incarnate. Sally got him to come over to her and put a long lead (25’) on him and began to force him to close the safety gap between him and me. After several weeks of this I had been downgraded to a minor demon.
He continued to push his envelope by establishing a “safe place” in our living room between a sofa and a chest where there was limited access and he could see anyone approaching. He eventually began to migrate out during dinner to retrieve little tidbits from my hand. He continued to be more confident though still wary.
In the beginning of December we took steps to tighten up his safety perimeter by forcing him to have more exposure to me by putting him on a lead and keeping him with me while I did various things around the house, like checking e-mail after I came home from work. The latest push came when he was abandoned and tortured over the New Year’s weekend.
Sally went up to visit her daughter and grandchildren in Ithaca, NY for New Year’s Day. That left Birdie at home alone with me (and the other five dogs). To make matters even worse, I took Birdie with me to the lure coursing field trial on Thursday – so he was forced to spend the entire day alone with me in the car, at the field trial and for THE ENTIRE WEEKEND!!!! After some initial herding on Thursday night to get him back into the house after snacks, he understood that if I came out in the yard for him, it was his opportunity to outmaneuver me and get back into the house into his spot where he was safe. I rewarded him with lots of pats and warm thoughts.
While he is still a bit spooky it is plain to see that he is sorting things out and that there is plenty of positive change in process.
It will be fun looking forward to see where he is by next year.