Layla–The Beginning

We have chosen to believe that our 18 month old rescue dog, Layla, was named because she is a “black beauty,” or “dark beauty of the night.”

In three weeks we will celebrate her one year “adoption birthday.”  No one knows when she was born or exactly where.  What we do know is that she was taken to a “high kill shelter” when she was about a year old.  She was “rescued” from that shelter by someone with a kind heart and dedication to dogs.  As Layla is clearly a Corgi (herding dog) and probably a Border Collie or Australian Sheep Dog (both herding breeds), this kind-hearted rescuer in Idaho let the HeRD of Wyoming Rescue group know of Layla’s need to be RESCUED from the shelter.

Now we begin to have some history of Layla.  Brought to Wyoming, she was placed in foster care with a loving family who lived out-of-town, next to a family who had horses.  Layla may be a herding dog, but she is also a “chaser.”  The horses were not pleased, as she ran up and down the fence all day, chasing/herding/barking at the horses.  Layla was moved to another foster home.

We do not live in Wyoming.  Why did we go all the way to Wyoming to rescue Layla?  Because HeRD of Wyoming’s website gave such excellent information on their dogs.  They also were very concerned that each of their dogs be adopted by a match between owner and dog.

Here’s the link to perhaps your next dog:

The day we met Layla in the Laramie Animal Park, her foster Mom, Chloe, admitted that she had a hard time giving up this dog.  Chloe is a student and part-time foster parent for HeRD.  Layla couldn’t have been in better hands.  Thank you SO very much Chloe for your kindness and healing gifts.

In the almost year that Layla has lived with us, she has made vast improvements in every department, except for a loving heart, which she has always had.  She came without ever experiencing COMMANDS–we think.  At least none of the typical ones.  “Come” she understands, but prefers a sharp whistle.  “Heel” she refuses to acknowledge, but will do the same at the knee walk when we say, “Slow.”  She prefers hand signal for “Down.”  Instead of “Stay,” she likes to “Wait.”

As time goes on with this Dear Friends, I will write more about Layla.

But for today, I wanted to introduce you to her.  To know that we have no idea why she reacts or ignores in certain ways.  She had over a year of experiences that we know nothing about.  But we know that she has recorded some negative human behaviors . . . like today when I tried to gently brush some of her very long black locks.  Twice I gently applied brush to hair, and twice she growled.  She is trying to tell me that this action is fearful to her.  It means that we have to go slow and steady to try to repair an early “childhood” belief that continues to dominate her responses.

I believe that Layla “trusts” us to care for her, but she remains vigilant to providing herself with her own safety–not ready to approach sharing her need for primal survival.  Our relationship has grown so that we mutually miss each other, even when separated for only a couple of hours.  It is so good to have this short-legged dynamo running full blast across the yard, her whole body trying to wag and run at the same time, as she welcomes us home.

Dogs and people–react behaviorally to beliefs that are their truth.  It is difficult to change those beliefs without a counter-acting positive experience.

Yes, Layla will enter our conversation a lot in the months to come.  We continue to learn from each other every day.

By the way, did I mention that Layla is learning her “rights” and her “lefts?”  Months and months of daily walks with “rights” and ‘lefts.”  She usually gets it correct, at least 50% of the time.  Go Layla.

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