Everything upsets Parisse. I've had five veterinarians examine her, but there's been no definitive diagnosis. The veterinary ophthalmologist (yes!) said her vision seems to be normal and she hears. But she runs and cows at the slightest provocation. I mean, once I tried taking her to a dog park and a chihuahua approached, maybe one-fifth her size, and Parisse hunched down in the corner and never moved until we left.
I've always assumed she's autistic - there is canine autism - because she avoids all contact with both humans and our other dogs, she doesn't know how to play and seems to live in her own little world several rooms away from the rest of us.
Lately we've been noticing that she's approaching more and often jumps on the sofa with a human and is downright cuddly (for her). It's been an amazing transition just to get that far. I've also noticed that if I say "car" she will readily leave the house and jump in. If I say "walk" her butt anchors to the ground and I can't move her, can't drag her, can't budge her no way, no how.
Today Youngest Grandson and I took all three dogs to the dog park. Because "car" was involved there was no problem getting Parisse loaded with the others. When we arrived, surprise of all surprises, she leapt out and strained at the leash to "play," our other word to avoid. There weren't many dogs there (good) but there were two large labradoodles, two small labrador puppies and a couple other mixed breeds. Parisse joined in. She ran and ran and ran. I was so shocked - pleasantly - and happy to see her act close to normal. A couple times I noticed her crouching in total submission, flat to the ground, but mostly she was in motion and sort of trying to engage.
I don't know why she's changing, but this is the sort of thing that makes my heart sing!