Mali has been with us now for 11 months...we have all been enriched and grown.
One of the big changes that I have noticed is that Mali can just be a dog now. When she first joined us, she would study intently everything I did, every move I made - and then tried to do it herself. Now she comes and tells me what she wants or needs. She has learned that if I leave, I will return. If I leave and she hasn't had a good walk before hand, she may show me her displeasure by putting the trash can in the dog bed - or my bed! But no damage, and if she feels fed, and exercised and has "relieved herself" before hand, there is no fuss at all - and isn't that what should be done before being left at home?
But yesterday, the 22nd, we went to visit with my cousins and take a walk in Crofton Park. And although she had met 2 of the 3 cousins before - briefly, at home - when the car door opened in a place she'd never been and there were these 3 "strangers" standing nearby, her old fears came back. She trembled and retreated and made herself "immovable". Chi, who has calmed down in his approach to people - not jumping up and being over excited - since Mali joined us, eagerly greeted my cousins and walked off with them as if they were long time best buds. I went back alone to the car, and Mali came out. We started our walk, and one of the cousins had headed back because of the snow and ice on the path. She walked along with Mali and I, and we had a good talk. Mali even relaxed enough to "relieve" herself. Mali did quite well until Chi came running to us and she started looking for the car to run for safety again because she knew it was close by.
So we still have to be cautious about groups of people and new places to walk...but making advances as she trusts us more and more.