Lily's fearfulness is relatively specific. While she will happily trot over to greet an unfamiliar dog with a butt sniff and a play bow, Lily does not warm up to human strangers so easily. In fact, she often finds them quite scary, and it can require her meeting a new person for several extended visits before she begins to trust him or her.
Peter and I had some inkling of Lily's shyness from the beginning. The first time we met her, at her foster mom's house, Lily wouldn't let either of us touch her. We sat on the floor for around an hour, chatting with her foster mom and periodically offering her treats. But not only would Lily not approach us, she kept actively trying to escape, either down one stair to the basement or up the other stair to the second floor. However, Lily's foster mom's enthusiastic description of all Lily's good qualities convinced us that she was nevertheless the dog we wanted to adopt.
|frightened Lily on her first night with us|
|Lily after living with us for a few days|
Lily will probably always have an exaggerated sense of "stranger danger," but I am so proud of how far she's come in the approximately year and a half since she joined our family. Adopting a rescue dog with "issues" has not been without its frustrations, but the feeling I get seeing her overcome each hurdle is beyond worth it. On more than one occasion I have thought that she'd plateaued, that she'd gotten as brave as she was going to get, but she continues to surprise me and surpass my expectations. I don't know what happened in Lily's life before she came to us that made her think that many people can't be trusted, but I like to think that the longer she's with us, the more confident she'll get that she no longer needs to fear people because we would never let anyone hurt her. I can't wait to watch her continue to blossom over the coming years.
|happy Lily snuggled safely in my arms|