I want to know what goes on behind Walker's eyes.
What is happening in his brain that makes him scared of me? It's not just me - it's anybody. And he's not scared all the time - just some of the time. Right this minute, he's standing in front of my chair, wagging his tail, wanting so badly to be petted, but not being able to take the one step necessary to be within my reach. If I lean forward, he backs up.
Yesterday, he walked right up to me and let me pet him - he stayed with me until he heard Tim coming down the stairs. Then he took off. While he was making up his mind to step toward me, I was observing him from the corner of my eye. Looking directly at him usually causes him to back off. As I watched him at a sideways angle, it was as if he was conducting a cost-benefit analysis. Finally, he must have determined the benefit of being petted outweighed the cost of the discomfort of stepping forward. I could almost see him swallow hard and steel himself - kind of like I did when I had to get my wisdom teeth pulled, "I don't want to do this but I know I'll be glad I did." He stepped up and was rewarded for his bravery with very thorough face and neck rubs which he dearly loves.
He's made great progress since we adopted him. But we want him to be happy all the time - not anxious and uncomfortable most or even some of the time We're taking the advice of Never Say Never Greyhounds. We're participating in the Tufts University Cumming School of Veterinary Medicine VetFax program. We send them lots of in-depth information via e-mail and fax, as well as via video of Walker's behavior uploaded to YouTube.
"This is a veterinarian–to–veterinarian consultation service for animal behavior problems. You and your referring veterinarian provide a written account of the behavior problem via behavior history forms and mail or fax this report to Tufts Animal Behavior Clinic. Dr. Dodman and his assistant will fax or mail a three to six page consultation response to the referring veterinarian in 7 to 10 business days."