Barbie Perkins-Cooper, Author

Living Life in the Country As A Writer, Photographer

Dearest Readers:

Today I want to share more updates about the progression of our little foster child, our Schnauzer-Maltese mix, Cletus, aka “Little Cleet…Cleet.”

I am happy to report that slowly, and I do mean ever so slowly, little Cleet, Cleet is learning that some humans are good and worthy of loving. Now that he is in our home, and comfortable, I have watched him growing, and loving us. A few weeks ago, we had a prospective adoptive family for him. Since I am a volunteer for Schnauzer Rescue of the Carolinas, they requested me to do a home inspection/interview. Cletus absolutely detests having a leash placed on his collar and he fights me every time I attempt one. This date was no different, so I placed him in a step-in halter, leashed. He relaxed and walked a bit. Perhaps Cleet, Cleet is aware of my hesitance and fear of leashing him since we kept him on a leash for a week whenever he went outside after running away from us. Now, he simply refuses to walk with a leash, although the step-in halter worked.

Arriving at the couple’s home, I encouraged them to walk him on the leash. He was skittish at first, and then, he suddenly darted towards me, and jumped up on my leg, as if to say, “Help me, Mommy.” I was touched.

Interviewing the couple while Cletus relaxed in the chair, I felt comfortable that all would be well with this couple. They had the tenderness and atmosphere I thought Cleet, Cleet would respond to; however, the next morning, I received a phone call. They decided to withdraw the application and not adopt Cletus.

For about two days, Cletus responded to me, moving closer to me each time I touched him. Could he know that he was about to be adopted? I suspect he knew something was up, so I reassured him that all was AOK and he would still be with us, for a while. Friends have told me that we should adopt him, but we have so many animals now, I am hesitant; nevertheless, I believe if Cletus could express what he wanted, he would say ‘I have a home…right here…with the boys and this family.’

With each day I am seeing new changes with Cletus. On one occasion, I was sitting in the den, with the other dogs around my shoulders (resting on the back of the sofa) and at my feet. Hank simply loves to curl around my feet. Perhaps to keep my feet warm? Who knows. Out of the corner of my recovering right eye, I saw Cletus, moving ever so slowly towards me. His head moved to the left, then the right…quickly, he dashed towards a toy and ran back into the breakfast room, with the toy in his mouth. This was a first! Now, Cletus wanted toys. He dropped the toy in his bed, deciding to find another. Carefully, he trotted to the den and the basket of toys. He snooped around, found a colorful rope and trotted back to his bed. I watched him for a few minutes, as he carried three toys to his bed!

Another bit of encouragement — a few nights ago I placed Cleet, Cleet on my bed. He turned his body in several circles, noticing several pillows on the right side of the bed. Quickly, he jumped on the pillows and flopped down. Shakespeare wasn’t too happy about this, but a few minutes later, the two of them had their heads resting on the other, bonding as doggies do when they are comfortable.

Resting my eye, I heard a growl, realizing it was Cletus. I patted him and he moved closer. I moved my hand, and when I did, little Cleet, Cleet licked my fingers! Another first! A few minutes later, he was playing with my fingers, gently gnawing at them!

There are still occasions where little Cleet, Cleet will withdraw and refuse to respond. Last night while resting my eye again, I slipped my hand on him, patting him gently while singing a song to him. “I think you need a new name,” I said. He lifted his head.

“How about Barney?”

Cletus ignored me.

“Well, sweet little Cleet, Cleet…what is a name you will respond to?”

No response. Sometimes this sweet little bundle of charm can be quite stubborn!

“How about Barnaby, Cleet…Cleet?”

Cletus lifted his head, stood up and moved closer to me.

“Hello little Barnaby.” His body was resting right next to me, as if he was glued to me!

Perhaps now he has a new name. Many of my friends have said I needed to change his name. My response – not until he tells me the name he wants. At first, we called him Cletus. He gave us funny looks, so we called him Benjamin. He liked it for about a day. Today, I’ve addressed him as Barnaby and each time, he’s looked at me — deep into my eyes — something he’s never done before.

Could it be that sweet little Cleet, Cleet and I are finally communicating, or could it be that he has observed how independent and somewhat sassy I can be — when something fails to please me? Maybe he’s taking notes from my behavior? Yes, that is just what this household needs, another opinionated, stubborn, feisty and independent family member!

I suppose that will be another discussion — for another Happy Tail with Sweet Little Cleet…Cleet…the little boy who wants to find his own home, happiness and name.

Hello, Barnaby!


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