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Erin is learning to accept the "new me."



Let me start off by saying that Erin is a dog.....an actual canine. He lives with my parents-in-law.


Erin is a Kerry Blue Terrier that they got through Kerry Blue Rescue about 4 years ago. Through a strange set of circumstances, Sam and I ended up dog-sitting him for a little over a month, about 2 weeks after Sam's parents got him.


He was skittish - to say the least - didn't trust males, knew absolutely NO commands of any type, was very undernurished, and since he had spent the first 14 months of his life confined to a crate, still weak and undermuscled. He used to cling to me when Sam was up and walking around.


Fast forward a month, Erin had gained 10 pounds, was able to go out to the dog park, had learned to play ball and ran like lightening. He was brave enough to sniff males, had made friends with my kids, and loved pigs ears. There is a funny story about that, but I'll tell it another time. By the time Sam's parents came home, Erin was even doing what we call "table checks." He wouldn't jump up on a table, but he would stand on his hind feet to see if there was anything good to eat on the table, then he would beg. He was turning into a "dog."


So, since that time, Erin gets very happy and excited when Sam and I go over to his parents' house. Over the years, Erin has even developed a habit "hugging" me when I come over. He stands up, puts his front lags over my shoulders and licks me to say "hello." The first time he jumped up on a human for a treat, he jumped on me. Erin and I are close friends.


Then I came home from the hospital. The first weekend home, we had a family dinner at Sam's parents' house. Erin ran out to meet us and stopped cold when he saw the walker. He wouldn't hug me, or even sit near me. He was not in his customary place of under my feet at the dinner table. He'd lick my hand, but that was it.


When I progressed from walker to cane, Erin seemed a little more relaxed around me, but still kept a distance. We could tell he did not like the cane. As we are over at Sam's parents at least once a week, sometimes more, we see Erin quite a bit. He has been standoff-ish towards me since the stroke - even when I sit down without the cane near me. He looks concerned and wants to sniff me, but he hasn't wanted to be as close to me as he used to be.


Well, last night Sam's dad called and invited us over for pizza. We accepted and drove over. When we got out of the car, we heard Erin whining at the gate of the front courtyard. Typically, he meets us just inside the front door. Sam's dad was with Erin and told us that when he heard our voices as we got out of the car, he got very very excited and insisted on coming out to greet us. I was surprised.


I was the one who got to the gate first. Sam was walking behind me to make sure I didn't trip over anything on the walk across the lawn. Erin didn't shy away from me! He didn't jump up and hug me, but he did hop and prance around in front of me, licked my hand and pranced some more. Then he ran in the front door, stopped, turned around and looked at me as if asking me whether I was coming in or not. He didn't even greet Sam until we were all inside the house. Erin usually greets Sam right away.


We sat down for pizza and Erin was back in his usual place, at my feet, in spite of the cane. He even did the begging thing under the table where he noses at my right hand, laying in my lap. I gave him some of the "pizza bones," the crust without any sauce or anything on it. Yes, Erin is spoiled. Sam's parents feed him from the table. I usually wait and let him have tidbits in the kitchen as we are washing dishes, but last night I gave in. I was so happy that my friend was behaving more like my friend.


After pizza, Sam's mom and I went into the family room to talk about "girl stuff," - bra shopping at Fredericks, which we plan to do on Friday. Sam and his dad stayed in the dining room to talk. Erin came with Mom and me.


Now, Kerry Blue Terriers are known for being "quiet" dogs. They typically do not bark. Erin only barks when someone comes to the front door. He vocalizes in other ways, but very seldom does he actually bark. Last night, as Mom and I were talking, Erin stood at the back door, facing me and barked! Then he hopped and barked again. I asked him what he wanted and he looked behind him at the back door. So I asked if he wanted to go outside and he hopped and barked again. So I opened the back door. He ran over to his toy basket and got a ball, then waited for me to go out onto the back porch before he came out. Erin wanted me to play ball with him.


It needs to be said that Kerries are independant, thinking dogs who are even capable of solving problems. Had he really wanted to, Erin could have opened the back door himself and gone out. He does it all the time. So playing ball is not the typical human throws ball, dog fetches and brings ball back to human. With Erin, the game is person throws ball, Erin fetches ball, prances around the yard throwing it up and catching it a few times, comes back to person but stops just out of arm's reach, drops ball and "laughs" at you. Have you ever seen a dog smile and kind of make a huffing sould that could be laughter? Erin does it! You have to walk over to Erin and pick up the ball. Half the time you get the ball, half the time Erin snatches it up and insitgates a game of chase.


Last night, I threw the ball, Erin ran after it, did the whole prancing thing, but brought the ball right back to me and nosed my hand so that I would take the ball from him. He didn't drop it on the ground for me to pick up. I knew Kerries were intellegent and could problem solve, but was Erin really adjusting our game of ball to meet my balance issues? We played for about 10-15 minutes, then Mom called Erin back in. He ran to the back door, ball in mouth, but stopped and waited for me at the door before going inside. Then he settled down at my feet again and rolled over for the customay tummy rub I give him with my foot while we talked for a while longer.


It felt so good to have my old friend back!


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I am so happy for you. you & your friend has found new way of playing with each other & your friend accepted you & learn how to play with new you. your story reminds me of my playing time with my then 7 year old son. after a year of adjusting to new me, we both created our own new games & it was so much fun, I never felt I missed his childhood due to my stroke. I feel after storm of storke, I feel if given chance life has its way to find its own even keel & happiness again. I now feel life is still great post stroke just little different.



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That sounds like the kind of dog that can sense when there is anything wrong with you medically. I've read many stories about those dogs saving people's lives! You got a jewel there for sure! She's a keeper! :Clap-Hands: :happybday: :big_grin:

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Yep, I believe it took Erin a while to figure it out but he now knows what is wrong and how to compensate and keep you as a friend.


I wish he could also go on Oprah and explain to all of our friends how to go through the process. What a smart dog!


Glad it all worked out for you. Sue.

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lydia i'm so happy that erin has figured it out.my dog likes to drop the ball just out of my reach but where i can roll it back to myself with the cane. bouncesmile.gifthey are so accepting of us and truly a friend in good times and bad.he sounds like a wonderful intelligent friend. blessings lynn

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