The box…

I came home today to the excitement of having a big Crate and Barrel box waiting for me. I ordered a new coffee pot, and it had arrived. I love coffee, and my coffee maker was shot, and pathetic according to a good friend who is a master of all things coffee. I carried the big box into the kitchen and began the agonizing process of getting through all the wrapping to the actual coffee pot.

The dogs were all outside when I bought the box in the kitchen. I didn’t think about it, It didn’t occur to me that it was a trigger, a symbol, a reminder from his past. Tristan was halfway through the kitchen door when he saw it, terrified he froze and backed up. I acted calm, like it was not a big deal and I moved the box from the kitchen. I could see his sweet face through the glass door, very concerned look on his face. There he sat, he would not come in, I tried leaving the door open and walking away…nothing, still he sat outside looking in. The schnauzers went back out and I tried using the “treats” strategy. Nothing.  I waited, just to give him time if he needed to get his head around it, calm himself down. When he is upset he yawns repetitively, paces and gets the “look”.

I thought it would help, I thought I could just click the leash on and we would walk in the house together. I thought wrong. He took one look at the leash in my hand and belly crawled frantically across the yard shoving himself under a bush. I put the leash down, and slowly went to him and kneeled down beside him. He was trembling, shaking so hard. I did not touch him but I laid down next to him close as I could and just started receiting the first thing that came into my head which was the song “I walk the line” (I know, I know, blame my Dad the Johnny Cash fan!) Why didn’t I pick a nice soothing song like that Sarah McLachlan number  they play during those heart wrenching SPCA commercials that goes on, and on, and on.

I was saying the words to the song in a soft voice almost like I was reading a lullaby…“I keep a close watch on this heart of mine, I keep my eyes wide open all the time,I keep the ends out for the tie that binds, Because you’re mine, I walk the line…”  I could see the back door from where I was lying and both schnauzers had their noses pressed against the glass watching over their big brother, “I find it very, very easy to be true, I find myself alone when each day is through Yes, I’ll admit I am a fool for you, because you’re mine, I walk the line…”  then I saw my neighbors back porch light come on, lord I wonder what she must think.  ” As sure as night is dark and day is light, I keep you on my mind both day and night. And happiness I’ve known proves that it’s right, Because you’re mine, I walk the line…”  Minutes pass slowly and finally Tristan relaxes his tense body and slowly lays his head down on my arm. It was over, without moving his head he looks over at me as I slowly move to get up,  I  manage to carry him inside like I have done so many times before. I am reminded that sometimes we all just need a little help, no matter how far we have come, no matter how much we have changed… things can scare us unexpectedly and we just need someone to be there.



You’ve got a way to keep me on your side
You give me cause for love that I can’t hide
For you I know I’d even try to turn the tide
Because you’re mine, I walk the line







  1. Shera says:

    You are such an awesome doggy mom! According to Cesar Millan, the dogs take their cue from our energy. Acting calm is always the best thing to keep them calm. 🙂

  2. Moody says:

    Oh that poor baby.
    He must’ve been so terrified, thinking it would all start again.

    You did great reacting so calmly to everything, removing the box from his view and trying to calm him down however you possibly could.
    Poor, sweet Tristan.
    I bet he’s been licking his paws a lot after that.

    Oh and don’t worry about what your neighbor thought, that’s the least of your concern. Tristan is what’s important, not what your neighbor thinks. LOL.

    So glad everything turned out ok.
    Do you have any idea what might’ve happened to him that involved a box?
    Does he react like that to any size of box, or just the big ones, big enough to put him in?
    Hopefully, you can slowly “train” him to not fear the box any more. Maybe if he could watch you “destroy” it, it might help him get over the fear. It would show him you’re “stronger” than the box and won’t let it hurt him. When you fold out all the flaps and flatten it, you could try to let him come sniff it and maybe walk on it. That might help too.
    Try with a smaller one first, to see his reactions, and move on up to the bigger boxes once he’s comfortable with smaller ones.
    It’ll probably take some time, but he’s got plenty of that now.

    Good luck on it!

    Big smooch to the both of you.

    • dogl2324 says:

      Hi Moody!

      You know you are right, he did comfort himself that night by giving his paws the once over! The neighbor is very good to me, but i am sure she was like, what is that crazy girl doing now! 😉
      I think in the end it was just that something changed, his environment changed and it changed the room that has the door that he goes in and out of…the ONLY door he goes in and out of….so I think it must have just triggered some fear….or else he associated it with something from his past. I ended up putting the box in a corner in a different room and he eventually went over to it and I just encouraged him to “check it out buddy”, and he finally went over to it and it was no big deal. Whew. 🙂

  3. Leslie says:

    Poor sweet boy. I’m so glad you’re there for him!

  4. Linda Troy says:

    So glad that you were able to love Tristan back to calmness. So glad your other dogs are OK, now, too. Blessings on your journey. Linda

    • dogl2324 says:

      Hi Linda! That is what it amounts to, loving him back to calmness, I love that! Thank you for your continued blessing, I need all I can get! 😉

  5. Bay says:

    Oh poor Tristan! He just breaks my heart. 🙁

    ps – Fellow coffee lover – I would like to send you some kick a** stuff from Seattle. It will CHANGE YOUR LIFE. PM me.

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