I wrote an email to Anna, letting her know how things are going with Una after the first few days. I pasted it here without much editing, since it is so nice to read it again now, and feel my excitement during those first days again:
An update on Una’s new life. Today Una has been more cheerful than over the weekend! It has been wonderful to see her coming to life again after two days of misery and sorrow. It was so heartbraking to see her lying on her bed, depressed, and searching for Anna: sniffing parked cars, watching women walking in the park in the hope the person might be her.
I have sat with Una next to her bed a couple of hours each day. Reading a paper and stroking her at the same time. She loves that, and I believe that has been the main thing that has consoled her and made her feel safe again. And, of course, that has started to form a bond between Una and me. So, today, she has started to greet me excitedly and even jumped up on me to be petted 🙂
I have been out with her 3 times per day, maybe 45 minutes or a bit more each time. Walking slowly, stopping, walking a bit again. Una has been watching and listening to everything new around her. And her paws have given her trouble. We don’t have much asphalt here, more gravel. That has made Una’s walking painful: she literally walks, very carefully and slowly, doesn’t trot.
Today I bought her fleece socks to help her feel more comfortable on gravel. What a difference!!! The first time we went out she started trotting and running right away! She was so happy, I had to laugh out loud 😀 And when we got into the park and crossed a big lawn, she lost it, and started running and (almost) playing with her leash shortly a couple of times. Here is the video:
So adorable! I haven’t yet seen her really trot, flying like that, before! And when we got to our forest path, I had to walk very briskly to be able to follow her. When before, it has been quite slow going even there. I’m hoping her paws get used to uneven surfaces over time, and she will be able to enjoy our walks barefooted. She was not bothered by the socks at all, so I have no trouble keeping them on her as long as is needed. She looks quite cute with her grey legs and black paws!
On the video, you can hear me praise her for good behavior: she has barked at approaching people at the park a few times. She responds very well to praise, it seems to bring her confidence. Also, she understands me remarkably well. She must be very good at picking intonation in speech, and body gestures. Those are the same, even if the language is different.
Yesterday Una was alone for an hour, and today, two hours. Both times, I left her after a walk and a meal. I had installed a surveillance camera to see what Una is doing when alone; I can access it with my cell phone or laptop. Spying her with my it, I saw that she was sleeping the whole time, not even moving during the first hour! Everything is new to her, and it must be tiring. And it’s good to use those times for her alone-time practice, since she is content after exercise and eating. Then she will be conditioned to a very relaxed state of mind when she is alone in this new place. And the camera works great for ME: I can stay relaxed (yes, me, too) when I’m out.
Una has been eating okay over the weekend, and very well today. As a result, today I had to move my cat’s feeding place out of Una’s reach :o)
I have kept the gate at my bedroom door open after the first 24 hours. The shyer of my cats came and demanded for it to be opened on Saturday evening when I was sitting in my bedroom with Una. So, I let her in and she came right away! Climbed into my lap, looking like the queen she is, stating that this is HER place :o) After that, the cats have very quickly made the conclusion that Una is no threat to them. Both have, actually looked at Una at some point and meowed to her the same way they do to me when we get eye contact, looking for attention!
All in all, things are going great, and I am falling definitely in love with Una. She is unbelievably sweet, tender and affectionate. And makes me laugh when she gets excited and acts funny. My sister visited us shortly today, and she fell for her right away 🙂 Una was being herself, standing right next to my sister, enjoying the attention. And demanded more with a little push of her nose if she stopped petting her…