One month home: A Penny update!

How’s Penny doing these days?

So glad you asked! 😉

The front half of a white dog is in the frame. She has a brown freckle underneath a right eye that isn't fully formed. She's wearing a red banadan with pink and white hearts and the name Penny in pink and white bubble letters.

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Here’s a rundown of her progress, along with a few adorable photos:

The first week after she came home, Penny slept. We had to wake her up to eat and to go outside, and the couple times we tried to walk her that first week, she didn’t want to go past the driveway.

I took her into the vet for a full exam, and we talked about how much she was sleeping. The vet suggested we give her another week before we worried because Penny was feeling safe and secure–likely for the first time ever–and recovering.

Seems like that was the case because after about a week, she attempted her first little zoom around the yard, and now? Full-blown zoomie monster!

She does still sleep a lot, more than any dog we’ve ever had, but her days are far more balanced now instead of all sleep all the time.

Penny, the white dog with brown spots all over her hind quarters, is sound asleep with her head resting on the edge of a fluffy gray bolster bed. In front of Penny is a pink and red dog toy.

She seemed to have zero experience with dog toys and chew toys.

Since she can’t hear the squeak, she wasn’t easily enticed into playing. Now, one month in, she tends to chew on a toy on her bed or on my bed in the evenings. Her toy preference seems to be a crinkly texture.

She’s not into chasing or fetch right now–she still has a STRONG cower response when you raise an arm, even to throw a toy, so we’re avoiding that for now. If anyone has great tips for getting a pup to play, let me know. Otherwise, we just give her lots of time and patience.

Quick side story: The other day, Violet fell and startled Penny. I could hear Violet reassuring her over and over, “It’s okay, Penny. You’re safe. I would never hit you. You’ll never be hurt here.” And I almost drowned in my tears, you guys. I felt such a deep sadness for all Penny experienced to make her so sure she’s about to be hurt AND for Violet losing some of her childish naivete about the world and how people treat animals AND for the deep empathy Violet showed Penny in that moment.

Anyway, Penny seems to love chewing on these cool bone substitutes, again mostly in the evening in bed. Afterwards, she hides it (under John’s pillow). We bought a pack of three about two weeks ago, and she’s still working on the first one!

A white dog with brown spots across her hind quarters sits on a blue dog bed on a gray floor against a white wall. Penny the dog is wearing a blue harness and a red white and blue leash. Her one blue eye is turned toward the camera, and her ears are dropping like she's exhausted.

Penny and I started a foundational behaviors dog training class at a local training center. She had the first night last week and crushed it. Timid at first, she came out of her shell and worked really hard with me–until the last 5 minutes when she pointed her nose toward the door like, “OK! I’m finished here! Home, please!” And she got home and zonked out, even sleeping through the chaos of getting the girls out the door for school the next morning.

We’re working through our homework exercises this week, and something SHOCKING occurred to me…

I think Penny is a dog who can practice at places like Lowe’s.

If you’ve been around for any length of time, you already know this, but if you’re new or as a refresher: I worked with Lucas from his adoption in 2007 through his death and Cooper from his adoption in 2010 through his death last year, soooooo that’s something like 16 straight years of working with and managing reactive dogs. My nervous system does not know what to do with a dog who sat patiently in a room with four other dogs in various states of calm-to-reacting.

I really can’t wrap my mind around how to train a non-reactive dog–ha. I’ll get there, but it feels strange. In fact, when we got back from class last week, John said to me, “You’re not twitching! I don’t think I’ve seen you come home from a training class not twitching since back in the Emmett days!”

This picture shows a black cat and a tortoiseshell cat lounging on a floral blanket that is on top of a pair of human legs. To the bottom right corner, a white dog is curled up and sound asleep with her head tucked against the legs. She wears a purple and pink collar. Next to her is a bolster pillow with woodland animals printed on it. In the background, there are two dog toys and the edge of a wire dog crate. None of the animals are touching, but they're lounging close to one another.

As for the cats: The picture above I took over the weekend, and this is the closest they’ve all been ever.

Penny ignores them completely.

For the first couple weeks, they hissed at her like crazy but could not figure out how Penny was ignoring them!

Then Newt just sort of… gave up. She did the cat equivalent of shrugging her shoulders and moved on. Now, she basically ignores Penny, though they can walk right past each other without any trouble.

Ripley is still on the fence. Some days, she’s fine ignoring Penny. Other days, Penny looks at her, and Ripley’s back to hissing.

The fact that they all cuddled up the other night shows me they’re heading in a great direction, even if the cats weren’t entirely relaxed. Even Ripley, with her head down, has her ears perked in this pic, so she’s not fully settled into sleep, but we’re getting there!

BTW, that blanket is my weighted blanket that inspired this post.

Atop a large gray poof chair, a little girl in a pink t-shirt and wrapped in a pink glasses and wearing pink and blue glasses cuddles up next to a white dog with brown spots on her hind end. The dog is wearing a pink and purple collar. The little girl has the flu and her eyes are red-rimmed and her hair is messy. The dog is pushed up against her legs to comfort her.

What else?

She’s incredible with the girls. She loves to snuggle with them. When Violet had the flu, Penny cuddled her for two straight days. Yesterday, Violet and Astrid were playing in the backyard. Penny asked to be let out and she laid down near where they were playing and kept an eye on them. John and I watched from the window, amazed.

She’s finally walking all the way to the end of our block and back. This week I plan to push her a little further. However, she has yet to go to the bathroom at all on a walk. As soon as we’re home, she dashes out to the yard to relieve herself. Odd, I think, but she’ll get there.

Next up: I’m looking into DNA tests for her. I’ve been asking around because it’s been a while, but we used the Wisdom Panel before, though many people have recommended the Embark test. Any pros or cons to help me decide?

I think that’s it–at least, for now!

She’s an absolute gem. We are so in love with this little lady, and she fits right in with our family. I’m so grateful she came into our lives. It was meant to be!

I’m sharing more pics and videos of her on Instagram, so if we’re not connected there, please do reach out!

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