Benji, the Walker!

April 3 – Benji’s first airplane flight! I flew from Utah to Kentucky today, and Benji went with me. I’ve been introducing him to the pet carrier for a week now, and Benji was still cautious at best. The taxi came to pick us up at 5:30 a.m. (yeah!) and I forced Benji into his carrier. I felt so guilty! It’s a small space. The vet approved the carrier, though – I kept reminding myself of that. He trembled so hard that the carrier was visibly shaking! I checked in at the airport, Benji trembling all the way. When we went through security, I had to take him out and walk him through the metal detector. That went fine. No problem at all.

In fact, he did great the entire time. The first flight was 3.5 hours, and though he trembled for half of the flight, he eventually calmed down. He preferred me to put my foot right beside the ‘window’ of his carrier. We had a layover in Atlanta, and I took him into the bathroom to let him out. I put down paper in one of the stalls and opened his carrier – but he wouldn’t come out! He came to the opening of the crate and drank a little water, but refused to come all the way out. The second flight was fine, and we arrived with no problem. We stopped at a rest area to go potty (which was successful – ON THE LEASH!!!), and then got home. Benji liked his Kentucky home, and slept soundly in his new crate.

April 4 – Benji has become accustomed to the back yard of our Kentucky home. Yay! We made it escape-proof with landscaping edging around the picket fence, so it’s a safe and fun place for him. This morning I took him out in the front yard to drag the leash around for a while. We’ve still not had a successful leash experience. He immediately tried to take off across the road, which is VERY unusual for him. Usually he stays right by my side. He wouldn’t come when I called, and I was worried he would run away and get hit by a car. But within a minute or two he did come to me, and came inside. Whew!

April 5 – Benji and I had our first successful walk around the block! He was still a bit timid on the leash, but he trotted after me like a good dog. He sniffed everywhere, but in a really timid, tail-firmly-tucked way. Several times he became aware of the leash and froze, but I just gave a gentle tug and said, “Benji, Walk,” and he did. I praised him BIG-TIME when we got home, and he actually ate a lot of breakfast! He also met Layla and Lyam today. I took a careful approach, and put him in his crate when they first arrived. Then after 15 minutes or so, I brought him out and introduced him. He was cautious, but eventually warmed up to them, especially Layla. By the end of the evening he was chasing her around the yard, grabbing her badmitten birdie and letting her chase him, obviously having a blast. He actually pranced! He loved chasing her and biting at her pink skirt as she ran. It was so funny watching him – he played like a real dog! What does it mean when they scuff their back feet, like a bull pawing? He’s started doing this every so often. I think it is when he’s anxious-and-yet-confident, as opposed to just anxious-and-trembling. But I can’t be sure.

April 6 – This morning I stripped wallpaper and Benji was not so happy. We had a very successful walk in the morning, but then I had to get to work. He wanted my attention. He was a well-behaved gentleman, though, and other than one potty mishap (which I caught in the act), he handled himself well. This afternoon I had a thing to do with my sister, so Benji went in his crate (which he is REALLY taking to quite well) while I was gone. I ended up being gone for close to 6 hours, and was feeling so guilty for leaving him crated all that time. I hurried home after the event, but when I opened the door… there was Benji, wagging his entire back end to welcome me. NOT IN THE CRATE! I have no idea how he got out, because I’m certain I fastened the door, but it was open and he had the run of the house. I did a thorough investigation of the house, and found no chewed cords (praise God!), and only one nasty puddle on the carpet. Of course any puddles are unsatisfactory, but it could have been so much worse. Tonight we’ve had a fun time together, and he is happy to spend time with me. And the feeling is mutual!