The Lap Dog

When Heather first entered our lives, she kept mostly to herself. She was super friendly to anyone she met and always volunteered to be a test subject for back scratches but she opted not to hang around longer than what it would take to score some treats and a few pats on the back. Then, as quickly as she came, Heather would set out for a corner in the far end of the room to rest her head upon her paws. Never completely out of sight but just far enough to satisfy her independent self, anyone who was seated nearby could see her sly (but shy!) Scottie eye keeping watch over all in the room.

For years, this has been Heather's signature move: to go somewhere not too close, but never too far. The behavior might seem a little bizarre to some but to rescue moms everywhere, it probably doesn't come as a shock. One can't help but wonder what it was that these pups went through to lead them to develop such habits. They say all it takes is love and patience to restore a dog's faith in humanity - and this is most certainly true - but even I found myself wondering just a few months ago if I'll ever get the chance to snuggle with my baby girl the way I get to daily with the mischievous Mr. K.

One night, Scottie Dad and I were watching TV. Heather and Mr. K were finishing up their dinner for two. After they each inspected the other's bowl to make sure no scraps were left behind, Heather and Mr. K trotted over to see what the humans were up to (and hoped one of us would have dessert ready in the form of a treat!). Instead of sitting at the edge of the couch as she normally does, Heather jumped up next to me and Mr. K. There, she settled in and I tried my best not to get too excited over the fact I had both Scottie dogs next to me for the first time. Alas, the bliss was short-lived and Heather returned to her spot at the other end of the couch not more than 5-10 minutes later.

And so this pattern continued every other night or so for quite some time. I dared not move a muscle every time she did this because I had waited too long to know what it would be like to cuddle with my girl and feared the slightest movement would send her away. Before long, she propped herself up in my lap as Mr. K habitually does. You could see the grave concern in Mr. K's eyes when he saw this occur (for he was sure he lost his spot forever) but he was kind enough to permit this temporary closeness as long as Heather eventually returned to her spot at the other end of the couch.

The more frequently Heather jumps up to be with me and the longer she stays each time, I'm fully encouraged that she has once again found a way to put the past behind her and enjoy life as we know it. I have no doubt she has felt comfortable with us in the Scottie House for quite some time but it is always rewarding to see her settle in at a deeper level with little moments like this. Is your dog a rescue? Tell us about his or her story and share any tips you've learned for fellow rescue moms in the comments section below! P.S. Guess who has been sitting in my lap while I write this post?


  1. Our scotties aren't fact, all ten over the years. But what you describe we've come to believe a scottie trait. That more cat-like, I'll snuggle when I'm ready. They all loved being close, but have never been snugglers. Just occasionally, usually when one is tired, do we get a snuggle.

    Now, Roxy on the other hand is a velcro dog! She always must be touching.

  2. Both Kaci and Kali are rescues and both spent time on death row in a kill shelter. Kali is fearless and loving, but Kaci is fearful. She has a nick in her ear from her time in a pen on that death row. She was in that pen with big dogs and nobody cared because she was a goner anyway. Her parentage is uncertain, of course, but we're certain that she's ½-Westie because of her coat and beard. A fearful ½-Westie??

    1. Kismet, you forgot to add that Kaci is fearful, but very trusting of the members of her pack after 2 years. She was very attached to Kyla in a way I don't think I can get her to do.

  3. yay Heather! a lap dog is much better and much more than any lap top, right?
    easy rider

  4. Our dogs are not rescues but as a breed they are very independent and don't really snuggle. Thunder will sit right by our feet but the other two prefer space. I think it is just personality.

  5. Maybe Heather was just trying to find out if Mr. K would allow her to do that. Challenging the dog that already lives there is as challenging as being a recue and trusting again. Pack Order that is a hard one also.
    Thanks for being a friend
    Sweet William The Scot

  6. Congratulations on getting to this point with Heather. I understand your excitement as you see these breakthroughs. With one of our rescues, Jeannie (RB), it took two years before she quit cowering when she went past us when they came in from outside. Patience does pay off. Here's to more and more snuggling. After all, laps can hold two Scotties if they share the space!

  7. I'm sure you'll get many more snuggles now!