My sweet baby boy Frito went for a walk tonight.
While that may not be BREAKING NEWS for most pups, anyone who knows Frito and his story knows what a big step this is for him.
When we adopted Frito he was labeled Special Needs and we knew he wasn't your typical dog. We'll never know what happened to him to make him as fearful as he is, but we were told that Frito would never be the dog to greet us at the door when we come home.
We've had lowered expectations for Frito since day one. When we first brought him home, it took him a full three days to leave his crate. He only ate when I sat on the floor and fed him pulled pork, careful not to look at him while doing so. At the time we lived in an apartment, so walks were a necessity since we didn't have a yard. Frito HATED walks. He would freeze in sheer terror right outside the front door, and when he did walk he pulled with the fierce determination of returning home as quickly as possible. He was afraid of everything: parked cars, trash cans, even the wind if it was too gusty. Suffice it to say we both hated walks.
Last summer we started working on the house we currently live in. We'd come over on the weekends and paint, clean, hang doors, etc. These made for long days so Frito came with us. He didn't do much but hang out in the linen closet, but our house very quickly turned into Frito's house. On the weekend's he knew where we were going. He could tell the minute we turned into the neighborhood. This was great for transition when we finally moved in; he was familiar with the house and knew he was supposed to be here.
Since moving into the house meant we had a yard, Frito's walks became less frequent. He was more than happy to observe the outside from our big picture window without actually having to partake in being outside.
Cut to last December when we brought Kenny home.
We knew we wanted a friend for Frito to help ease some of Frito's fears the way only dogs can, and Kenny was the perfect dog. Frito and Kenny hit it off immediately and Frito loves having a brother. It takes the pressure and attention off him, and helped him feel more secure.
I envisioned long walks with my two dogs, walks that would wear wall of us out. It didn't happen. Kenny walked happily. Frito didn't. He still hated it, and I didn't want to force him. So I walk Kenny, and Frito stays behind. I hate doing that so after I get home from walking Kenny, I take Frito for what we call a "Baby Frito Walk". He gets very excited when I put his leash on, and he charges out the front door, and then he freezes and gets the terrified look in his eyes that breaks my heart. We don't make it past the sidewalk. So we turn around and go back inside, and we all clap for Frito for going on his walk which makes him all wiggles and wags.
Tonight, Terry suggested all four of us go on a walk. I figured we wouldn't make it to the end of the block, and at least with Terry along he could carry Frito while I walked Kenny.
Frito walked the whole time. A full 30 minutes through the neighborhood. He paused once when we rounded a corner, but you could literally see him work through his fear and subsequently over come it.
I don't expect it to happen again tomorrow, or even ever again and that's ok. Because tonight, Frito went for a walk.