There are a few nice things about having a shy, introverted foster dog to bring to work events with me as a shelter ambassa-dog. For one, he is not jumping all over unsuspecting guests, trying to get their attention. He sits calmly by my side in the comfort of my shadow earning many, “Oh, he’s so well behaved!” comments. But also, he sets you up for many opportunities to be pleasantly surprised.
Otis started out at our tabling event nervous and withdrawn. He’d had somewhat of a stressful day at the office with me (thanks to a frisky kitten), and he didn’t seem to be in the mood for something new. Too bad for him he was stuck there. I figured I’d just assume the role of explaining to people that he’s a little shy and don’t take it personally if he doesn’t want to say hello. Sometimes, for the sake of your dog’s comfort, you just have to give them a free pass for the day and let them have their alone time. I’m totally fine with that.
About fifteen minutes into the event though, Otis visibly relaxed. It was outdoors and he was able to find a nice patch of shady grass to first sit, then sprawl out on. His nervous, shifty eyes turned into a happy squint that joined his big jowly smile. He did a few body rolls in the grass. He drank some water. He finally started accepting treats. He was greeting strangers with a wagging tail, not a tucked one. He even allowed extensive petting from two young girls without ducking and hiding behind me (which is what he usually does when he sees kids). He made friends.
He transformed from an anti-social, uncomfortable dog to just a shy, well-behaved one. I didn’t have to worry about him and his poor fearful little brain the whole time. I would get caught up chatting with someone, and turn around to find him sprawled out in the grass right where I left him. It was wonderful. He was just the kind of dog I like to bring to these community events.
Every dog has their days, and even though Otis started his day a little shaky, he ended as a superstar. Sure, he’s bound to have more off days, but maybe he’ll also start having more on ones. It doesn’t matter what kind of dog you have – outgoing, shy, fearful, excitable, whatever – it’s important to be in tune with how they are feeling, and to adjust accordingly. Thanks to Otis and how brave he was yesterday, we were both able to enjoy the afternoon. If he wasn’t feeling it, that would have been okay too. I’m here to look out for him and to set him up for success. It’s just such a pleasant surprise when I don’t have to do much!
For more information on adopting Honey Bunches of Otis, go to his Adopt Me page to learn more about him and how to get in touch.