All our family knows about Lila’s past life is that she came to the Animal Humane Society in Golden Valley from a coalition shelter up in northern Minnesota. I was surprised that we couldn’t learn more about Lila’s background. I didn’t really think there would be much difference in a dog that came from northern Minnesota.
As we were leaving the Golden Valley Animal Humane Society on the day of Lila’s adoption, Lila jumped back when see saw the large, bronze statue of St. Francis. St. Francis welcomes visitors with one hand outstretched towards a bronze dog with a bronze bird perched on his shoulder. Lila relaxed and the bounce returned to her step when she realized that the looming statue was not alive. We decided that this was Lila’s first encounter with a large statue either in or outside of northern Minnesota.
When we opened the door to our mini-van, we expected Lila to hop right in and find a comfortable seat, but she would not budge. We pushed her rear, we snapped our fingers in front of her face, we talked in very sweet voices, but she would not move one inch. My daughter, Laura, lifted Lila up and placed all 60 pounds of dog behind the front passenger’s seat. As we drove away, Lila stood on the floor of the van and looked out the side window occasionally. Lila was not intrigued by the passing scenery but was mostly trying to concentrate on which leg to stand on so that she would not fall over in the moving vehicle. We decided that Lila was not a dog that got to go for rides in northern Minnesota.
After arriving home, Lila christened our front yard with a big surprise that we were glad did not happen inside the house. When we took her for a walk, she looked up at the airplanes that flew overhead as if she had never seen such a thing before. She also watched each car as it drove by. I like to watch her ears as they twitch at each different sound. We decided that there were many new sounds for Lila to get used to now that she doesn’t live in northern Minnesota.
As we were getting ready for bed, we thought Lila would want to be with the rest of the family during the night and join us upstairs. Some silly suburban dwellers let dogs sleep in their bedrooms. When Laura went upstairs, Lila got confused and went to look down the basement steps to see if she could find Laura there. We tried to get Lila to climb the steps, but we soon realized that stairs were something she never tackled before. Again all our cajoling did not work, and Lila slept on the main floor that first night, and she still sleeps there today. We decided that Lila is used to sleeping alone because that is what she must have done when she lived in northern Minnesota.
When there was a thunderstorm, Lila stood next to the house and appeared to have a knowing look on her face like she knew that thunderstorms are something that just happen and there is nothing that can be done to stop them. She didn’t get scared and want to be in the house like some dogs do. We decided that she was used to being outside during storms when she lived in northern Minnesota.
We were so excited to get to know our dog, and we were anxiously awaiting to become better friends. Since Lila developed kennel cough a few days after she came home, she was very lethargic and rested for many days. She did not want to play or go for long walks with us. When we got her to stay outside for a little bit, we thought it was a little strange that she liked to sit on or hide under the bushes. We decided that Lila took naps in bushes when she lived in northern Minnesota.
When we give her little milkbone treats, she happily eats some of them and then hides the others. We can tell that she is going to bury a bone when she just holds the bone in her mouth with a very serious and intent look on her face. After making it known that she needs to go outside, Lila very carefully digs a hole, places the bone inside, and covers up the hole with the top of her nose. She is very neat with her method of burying bones. So neat, that we have not seen her retrieve any of them. We decided that Lila used this trick when she lived in northern Minnesota.
The first time Lila noticed her reflection in a mirror, she barked at what she thought was another dog. It seems as if the television is a new invention to her also. We decided that Lila spent most of her time outside when she lived in northern Minnesota.
I wonder does she miss where she used to live? Did she get to be off her leash all the time and wander about northern Minnesota? Did she have her own dog house to hang out in? Were there other animals around her there? Does she wonder why we put her on a leash and tie her up all the time? Does she wonder why we go with her when she does her daily duties, and why we always carry around plastic bags?
We decided that Lila likes this new beginning, and all the love she is getting, even though she is no longer living in northern Minnesota.
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