She still fits under the couch — but barely now. 

The staples that were put in to keep Dionne’s lower eyelids from curling in (and thus stop the lashes from irritating her) are still in place, although when we picked Dionne up from CCI two weeks ago, the puppy training coordinator told us they should fall out after about two weeks. But it feels like so many other things about her have changed.

Already she understands a lot about our daily rhythms. Almost always, she sleeps until 6 or so, and then she trots briskly back to the lower yard to pee and poop.  Often we see her escorting herself out to deposit a little pile far, far from the house.

Days ago the in-house accident counts dropped. Now it’s once a day that she screws up  — or not at all — or twice if we get very lazy and ignore the signs we’ve come to recognize. Soon we’ll be counting the days that have passed without any accidents.

Likewise, we’ve already begun to relax our guard at times — to allow her moments when she’s not in the kennel or the pen or on the leash or directly under our gaze. Tonight Steve and I were dipping the Swedish Heirloom cookie dough balls into colored sugars in preparation for baking, and Dionne was right underfoot. A heartbeat later, she had disappeared. I eventually located her out on the patio scampering around in the herb bed (she seems particularly fond of sorrel.) But now I can glimpse how those uncaged moments will stretch out… and suddenly, miraculously, she’ll be a full-fledged house dog, more content to hang out around us (in anticipation of dropped crumbs of dough… or anything else) than interested in striking out into the dark on her own.

Already, she’s taking much of the place for granted. She no longer hurls herself into the pile of dried leaves under the fig tree every single time she’s in that part of the yard.  Been there, done that. Yet she’s not exactly blasé. She’ll be laying down looking calm and angelic, just taking the world in. And then she’ll be up to snatch a shoe and gnaw on it. Or drag a doormat around. Or conk out in someone’s arms, emitting loud snores.

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