My partner and I love going up to his mother’s place in the country. It is a great escape from the city, quiet and peaceful, surrounded by conservation area and beautiful farmland. When we first adopted Ollie (formerly Odong), we were curious if this former ‘country’ boy would love this rural as much as we do.
Three weeks into his new life with us we decided to drive Ollie up for his first Thanksgiving to meet his extended family. The car ride was pretty rough at first, but I buckled him into the seat to be safe and sat in the back the whole way so he wouldn’t be afraid. We arrived late at night, with only a single streetlight on the long road to guide us. Once secured to his leashes, Ollie immediately jumped out of the car ready to explore. He looked up at me after a couple of minutes of sniffing the ½ acre lawn, as if to ask, “where the heck have you brought me?!”
Inside he met his extended family. Being such a shy boy, he followed me around to make sure I wasn’t going to abandon him, but quickly settled into his bed we brought along and even allowed his “aunties” to give him some gentle pets.
We let him explore the house at his own pace and introduced people slowly, and as the weekend went on he became more comfortable and confident in the new environment, even enjoying a nice nap by the fire outside!
During the long weekend Ollie got to explore a pumpkin patch, take a long walk through the quiet town to the lake and marina, and even got to visit a historic church yard to see the fall colours (although I’m not sure how much he appreciated the colours of the changing leaves). Even though we were introducing him into a lot of new experiences at once, we knew that his confidence would continue to grow as he faced his fears and was rewarded with learning new things and making new friends (including a couple of donkeys!).
While Ollie still has a lot of fear, we saw a peak into his personality when he started to let his guard down. We even got to see his first “tail wag” as he spent a quiet morning sniffing the animal smells around the farm. Knowing that each time we go up there he will relax and enjoy it as much as we do gave us confidence too that he would soon become a great part of our larger family group.
Written by Nicole Hoppe