I adopted little Lumi on 19th January, 2019. She was born on 1st November, 2018, so she was 11 weeks when I picked her up. I decided to call her Lumi, because I always loved the name Lumen, a measure of luminescence. And Lumi just fit her better. She was so little.
And she was so scared. She shivered and shook with nerves as she was picked up, and to this day, she still shivers and shakes when she is outside the safety of known environments. It makes your heart ache with care for the little creature.
I was so excited to adopt her. I was shaking too. It was a big day.
I took her home in a little travel crate in a cab. And it must have been quite the trauma to be taken from the company of her litter mates to the loud madness of Shoreditch. I felt awful, but inevitably she would have to be used to this, if this was to be her home.
Once inside my apartment, I opened up the travel crate, and let little Lumi make her own way out to my living room floor. She stepped out slowly, cautiously, gingerly. She held her head low meekly.
She didn’t do much those first few days but sleep. She didn’t eat or drink or bark or play or do anything at all. It was not until her second day that she finally even peed, and to my delight, she did it precisely on one of the many pee pads I’d scattered around the house. To this day, she prefers to go on pee pads than to pee outside.
However, I thought something was wrong with her. I was used to puppies that were over-excited and hyperactive and affectionate. And here was a dog that didn’t react to humans or food, didn’t engage with me or anyone else, didn’t do anything other than hide her head in the crevice of her bed. Was she autistic?
I admit I took it personally. What was I doing wrong?? Was I so unlovable as a human? Had I adopted a defective puppy? It was a hard first few weeks.
I took solace that at night, of her own accord, she crept into my bedroom and slept on the cushion I left on the floor at the foot of my bed. And bit by tiny bit, Lumi came out of her shell. She shivered slightly less around me. She spooked less readily when I moved. She poked her head out more with curiosity from her bed.
The first really magic moment happened when I wasn’t even there. Two weeks after she arrived, I had to go for a couple of days to Paris. My wonderful cleaner Mihaela puppy sat for me. You have to imagine my shock when she sent me a video of her taking Lumi to the park. Until that moment, I had to carry Lumi in my arms (as she wouldn’t walk on a leash) and she was completely non-reactive to everything. However, in this video, there was this bright dog cheerfully dashing after other dogs in the park, yanking at the leash and running around with her tongue out. “Who replaced my depressed dog with this delightful creature!?” I exclaimed to myself.
I realised that it was the presence of other dogs that brought Lumi out of her shell. So I scurried around and found a place that would take Lumi into doggy day care for a few days, so they could assess her. And again, I was sent videos of this sociable enthusiastic puppy that had nothing in common with the lethargic apathetic fluffball I knew.
I found a local puppy day care provider (Canis) that would pick Lumi up from my apartment at midday, and drop her off at 5pm, for £15/day. Lumi was in heaven. I’d look at Canis’ Instagram feed and feel overjoyed at the sight of little Lumi so happy and playful, usually cradled alongside some large beast of a dog. My girl does like those big alpha dogs…
To my delight, as time went by, Lumi became more curious, more confident, more loving. Within a day of trying, Lumi was walking right by my side on a leash, stopping when I stopped, running when I ran. A few days later, I could take her off her leash in the park, and she scurry off to tumble with other dogs nearby, but always running back to me for assurance, then skipping back to bury her nose up another dog’s butt, then dashing back to get a pat on the head from me.
We now play together in the park, and she sparks such joy in my heart. More so, she makes me laugh out loud at her cute stag leaps, at how we chase each other and play hide and seek together, at how much she now seems to love me.
Lumi is indeed the light of my life. She follows me to the bathroom, she watches me shower, she falls asleep on my chest as I lie on the sofa, I hear her cute little snores when I wake up in the morning. She’s my little companion.