We spent our 3,000 mile night with a special family. They are under a lot of stress from a terrible brain disease that their young son has. But it was heartwarming to see all the love of their friends and family surrounding them as they go through this tough time in life. Nevertheless, they found room in their hearts and home for us as we passed by and fed us “Kentucky Fried Chicken” for the first time in KENTUCKY! Hehehe!
The little pasture the horses were in was fenced by a very powerful electric fence. As we were catching the horses Bella was running around and checking stuff out like normal, running back and forth under the fence, when she timed it just wrong and got zapped. She let out a yipe that caught both Jeannette and my attention and then took off like she was shot from a gun. We desperately called her as she made a bee-line for the street. She heard us and came to us. When she got to us she was shaking and obviously terrified. It took us several minutes to get her back to the barn. She kept freaking out and attempting to run for the street, trying to get away from what ever scared her. When we finally got the horses tied and we sat inside the door of the barn holding and petting her to try to calm her down. She shook violently even with us loving on her for almost an hour before she calmed down just a little. I’ve never seen a dog so scared in my life. The look in her eyes was like she wasn’t even there, like her emotions just shut the whole world out. It was really scary and sad seeing her like that. After an hour, she was still looking for a place to bolt to, had a completely glazed over look in her eyes, and was absolutely not responding to anything, let alone any commands. We were concerned she would run away out of fear if we rode, so we asked if we could stay another day to try to get her back to normal. Our hosts very graciously let us and I put the horses back in the pasture while Jeannette comforted Bella.
Once the horses were taken care of we took Bella inside and she layed down still shaken up by her shock. I know now why it is so important to follow the directions with a shock collar (a MUCH less strong shock) and how bad it could be if you went a little fast with them. They check out and run and they don’t care where or how far they go- they just run. I think it says a lot for our pup that she did come to us in that moment of fear. We spent the day hanging out with her and our hosts, and in between her recuperating naps, we took her outside and tried to help her to build confidence. She was so terrified of going outside that we had to carry her out the door and just sit with her in the grass while she shook. It took several times of that throughout the day for her to relax a little and realize that just being outside wasn’t what caused her pain. That night our hosts had a BBQ for us and their friends, so we got to hang out and visit while the kids loved on Bella which she enjoyed a little. She showed a lot of improvement so we thought we would try again tomorrow.
We had to tie Bella up while we got the horses ready in the morning, taking lots of time to pet and talk to her while we worked. Once we were packed up, I decided I would walk with Bella and be on the end of her leash for support. As we got a mile or so from the property she started acting a little better. At three miles Jeannette and I decided we would let her off the leash and see how she did. She did good but she still wasn’t quite right all day. She was timid, less responsive, and still had a wild and distant look in her eyes. Not near as bad as the day before but it still wasn’t our normal Bella yet.
I wasn’t feeling good (again), so when a man drove by in a horse trailer and yelled his address out the window and invited us to stop, we gratefully accepted! Our host was Glen Gray and his family, and after getting his trailer home, he then rode his mule up to meet us and guide us in. As we were getting unloaded his daughter Molly and daughter in law Ceslie came down to join us. We spent the night in the sleeper compartment of his trailer after a shower and a hearty meal with his family. Glen and Ceslie were very excited to help us and they have done a great job caring for our needs in their area and getting publicity for Hearts Up Ranch!
In the morning Bella seemed to be back to normal which very much relieved us. It was nice to have our sweet Bella back with a normal happy look in her eyes. As of this writing, she just got shocked again by an electric fence this morning. But this time, she heard it, sniffed it, and touched it. Natural consequences. At least this time we think she understood where the shock came from. She yiped, ran, came back to us, then walked away with her tail up (her tail was between her legs for more than 24 hours last time). She was a little nervous for a short time, but within a half hour, she was back to normal. What a relief after last time! Hopefully, she now understands where the shock comes from. Animals can hear electric fence, so we hope she has learned this tough lesson and will avoid it from now on!