i went out of town for a long weekend and had a friend dog-sit the boys. but i wasn't comfortable leaving winnie with a "stranger" who isn't too familiar with animals, so i boarded her at the v-e-t. it was the scenario i was most comfortable with, and i knew it was the best for everyone to leave such a high maintenance dog with professionals. but i had no idea how much it would change her.
when i went to pick her up, she walked up front on her leash, looking nervously at everyone. but she didn't seem to recognize me, even though i was calling her name. as she got closer, i knelt down and let her sniff me, and as soon as she realized mom was there, she tucked herself into my lap. she was saaaaaaved! she was so calm in the car, no longer nervously pacing. and when we walked in the front door, she sniffed for half a second, then skipped off happily, realizing she was home for good. she bounced all over the boys, and they were happy to see her too. but the biggest change is that she is so much calmer all the time, and it's stuck. she runs at a normal pace, not a frantic flee. and she's going outside on her own, rather than me having to corner her on the couch and carry her to the door. she doesn't bolt off the couch when i sit up or reach over to pet her. big, big progress. the biggest since she first crawled into my lap at the dog park.
dash always seemed to make noticeable progress whenever something "eventful" happened, like a meetup or trip to the groomer, but these didn't do much for winnie's progress. it took me leaving her alone for four days and then coming to her rescue, and now she's a new dog. she's finally realized that she's safe, she's home.