Several weeks passed. Finally the women gave up. They came and took away the cage. They announced that we were the proud parents of LeeRoy, the garden dog. Remember, at this time the garden was barren and still frozen. LeeRoy didn’t care. It suited him fine. He now owned our back yard. Family, guests, members of our Lifegroup and church, all knew LeeRoy and asked about him all the time. I gave reports on Sundays at Celebration. Marcy and I were bewildered. What do you do with a dog that won’t come? And actually runs away when you call his name? Of course, we all prayed too. Always in the back of my mind was Caesar Millano, “The Dog Whisperer.” What a challenge LeeRoy would be. I wondered if Caesar made house calls in New England. Or was he only on the West coast?
Each day got a little warmer. But, as everyone in NH knows, the rains were tropical, torrential all through the spring. LeeRoy didn’t seem to mind. We wanted him to come in and tried making friends through treats and food, but no luck. We filled his bowl twice a day and when were gone, he ate. If we stayed he remained in the garden or on the edge of the woods.
Marcy planted her garden and LeeRoy watched (from a safe distance of course). LeeRoy liked the garden he would lay first in one spot, then in another. If it got too warm he headed for the shade just off to the woods side of the garden. Or under his favorite pine (usually reserved for more serious weather, like thunderstorms or torrential rains). Sometimes we weren’t sure if he had made it safely through a severe storm with high winds, but when the sun came out, so did LeeRoy. He found high ground in the garden and planted himself again. Needless to say, this year we had no critters trouble our crops.
I developed a strategy that included. Just me feeding him, using treats before and after meals. If anyone else fed him (when we had to be away for a few days), I asked them not to give him treats. I wanted LeeRoy to identify treats with me alone. I wanted to develop a trust relationship with him. At first I wasn’t sure this strategy would succeed. But more and more, he would run to where his food was a stop about 10 feet away and wait to see what I would do. Then he would come to within 5 feet. I would toss the treat gently to him and he accepted them at this safe distance. Then I would leave without eye contact so that he could move toward the bowl. He would then eat, keeping a wary eye in all directions. The slightest sound or even a fly or bug coming near him would cause him to tuck his tail and move like a flash away two or three feet. Sometimes he would stretch his body toward the bowl and the clink of his collar against it would cause him to jump and run away until he realized that there was no one there. Very jumpy. Very frightened. All the time. What could we do?
GO TO Episode 4 of “The LeeRoy Sagas“