Bonding has been revolutionized!
Ilona, as you know from my last bonding updates, has a deep hatred against my poor little fingers and is determined to tear them off of my hands. 😂
I started wearing socks on my hands to protect them and that helped somewhat, but she still bit through the socks and caused me no end of frustration.
BUT that was before the gardening gloves arrived! Mama bought me a pair just before we left Georgia. I didn’t get a chance to test them out until earlier this month. I was quite sure that they would be no hinderance to the Teeth of Doom, but put them on anyway and let Ilona out of the cage.
Imagine my great suprise and glee when Ilona jumped onto my hand, glanced at my gloved fingers and then dashed up my shoulder to play with my hair.
The gloves have been a bonding saver. Ilona basically ignores my fingers when they are covered by the gloves. When she does try to bite them, it doesn’t hurt at all and I don’t react.
Since I’m not always cringing, waiting to have extrememly sharp teeth burried in my fingers, I’m not jumpy and worried like before. Me being calm means that Ilona doesn’t feel threatened and thus doesn’t feel the need to attack me.
(Sugar gliders pick up on human emotion very strongly and react accordingly.)
So bonding with Ilona has been quite a success at long last.
Yiska is…still a challenge. We had made quite a bit of progress in Georgia and he was finally begining to trust me enough to come to me without hesitation. But then the whole chaotic move happend and I had very little contact with him for two months.
The good news was that he had become more comfortable in his cage and he would actually come out when people were around. As long as he was inside of the cage and people were outside, he was fine and much less skittish than I’d ever seen him.
The bad news was that he’d relapsed into his old terror of humans. If I got anywhere near him when the cage was opened, he’d dash back to the sleeping pouch or the shadows and hide there until I left. 😕
I was afraid that I lost all of the progress that I had worked so hard to gain over seven months. It was rather discouraging.
But then one night when I really needed something good to happen, I opened the cage to get Ilona for bondong time. And, to my surprise, Yiska came right out of the sleeping pouch when he heard my voice. I held my arm inside the cage and, to my deep shock, he walked onto my hand and sat on my arm for a long time. That’s only happened once or twice and it was so encouraging!
He lets me touch and pet him as much as I want when he’s sleeping during the day, but at night he is completely different and hates it.
I’ve also been carrying them around in the bonding pouch for a few hours a day. They both sleep like rocks and are so adorable. Ilona loves to get chin rubs while she sleeps. 😍
The verdict on bonding with my rehomes? Slow. Very slow. But we are making progress and that is what matters. You can’t rush trust or force anyone – animal or person – to love you. It is a process and, as I always say, paitience is your greatest ally.