Sue, Blueberry and Honey
I would like to let you know how you were able to help my family during the recent floods in Brisbane, Queensland. We have two dogs, a four-year-old Groodle named Honey and an 11-year-old Labrador-Kelpie-cross named Blueberry.
When we were first warned that there would be minor flooding in our neighborhood, I evacuated to my mother's unit with my two children—just in case the roads to our neighborhood might be cut. We have a high-set house that has not previously been affected by flooding, but my husband, Mark, stayed to help low-lying neighbors move things to higher ground. He thought he would be able to take care of the dogs as well.
Later that evening, predictions about the flooding levels got worse and I was worried the dogs would not enjoy being trapped in our house for a long time so I managed to get back before the roads closed and pick up the dogs with the hope of taking them to their regular doggy daycare the next morning. By the next morning, many of the roads in Brisbane were impassable, including the ones to doggy daycare, so the dogs had to stay in the unit—along with one of our neighbors, four children, two dogs and an unfamiliar cat!
I began a rigorous routine of regular outside visits to ensure the dogs did not disgrace themselves in my mum's unit. On Wednesday my mum's unit lost power, like more than 100,000 Brisbane residences. The only way to get the dogs outside from the third floor unit was via the internal stairs rather than the lift. Honey, who had not been particularly keen on the lift, would not even go near the stairwell. I was at the end of my tether. With the stress of the flood, not knowing if my husband would be safe, four rambunctious youngsters, keeping the dogs away from the cat at all times, and the fear that the dogs would soil my mum's no-animal unit, Honey's refusal to go down the stairs was almost the last straw. Fortunately, I had just seen an episode of your show about a dog that had a fear of shiny floors.
I called on all the calm assertive energy I could muster and channeled it into a patient waiting game, allowing Honey the time and confidence to enter the stairwell, but also insisting she move forward and not take a backward step. At any rate—not sure if I got the technique exactly right—but it worked and Honey is zooming up and down the stairs without much problem.
It was a tipping point. If I had not been able to successfully get Honey out of the unit, it would have made the forced stay that much harder to bear. So thank you Cesar, you made a really valuable contribution to my family at a time of great stress.
Our house remains accessible only by boat and may be isolated for several days but we are incredibly fortunate, unlike many other Queensland families who have lost everything.
Thank you again. Now that the power has been restored to my mum's unit, I discover that I once again will need to draw on the calm assertive skills you have given me. Since the lift has started working again, Honey has now developed a new fear - of the lift (or at least that giant crack between the lift and the level) and now only wants to take those dreaded stairs!
Brisbane, Queensland, Austalia