He would barely come out of his crate. He would barely eat. Every toileting excursion (with a leash because we had no enclosed yard at the time) was either harrowing or exhausting—usually both. He would spin around and try to escape his harness. He would fearfully listen to every noise as if it were an approaching lion or bomb squad. He always kept his tail tucked firmly between his legs and would shrink away if you tried to touch him.
This went on for a long, long time. When Freddy finally dared to emerge from his crate, he wouldn't walk more than a few feet. He was terrified of hard floors, so he stayed on the carpet. Carpet that he soiled more times than I can count.
After something like a week, we saw his tail start to go up. After about a month, he was bold enough to go into our kitchen. The first time we heard him bark, we were utterly shocked.
Slowly, slowly, over the months, he continued to improve. He learned to sniff around the kitchen floor to find all the bits of food that seem to fall there. He learned the joys of a belly rub. He began to tolerate walks. Eventually, I was able to pick him up.
In March of 2021, we moved to a house with a fenced-in backyard, and that made a tremendous difference. Freddy started to explore. He began playing with the squirrels who love to taunt him. He ate things he shouldn't. He rolled around in substances he thought smelled beautiful. He got baths.
Last month, he survived a night of boarding when we went out of town. He went to the vet and got immunizations without incident. And about a week ago, he got his final dose of Prozac, which he'd been on since the early days.
There remained just one more hurdle.
Both the condo we used to live in and the house we're in now have more than one story. But Freddy had never once made it up or down an entire flight of stairs.
Until this past Sunday, July 11, 2021, that is. On that day, my husband and I sat on the basement stairs together and encouraged Freddy to come down a few steps. Oh, but he wanted to. But he wouldn't. He couldn't. Until later that night, when I was in the basement doing laundry, and I noticed that I had surprise company: a little thirteen-pound terrier mutt who had conquered his final limitation.
Congratulations, Freddy! You were worth the wait.