One year ago today, a sweet little black girl came into my life. It’s hard to believe the Ninja has been around for a year, especially with her snoring next to my chair as this post is being drafted. I’m so used to her noisy “snorfling” noises, I don’t think about it but it’s true she sounds like a fireplace bellows, one of the many things that has endured her to me.
I remember that day like it was yesterday. We were going to see how Sam would react to the idea of a ‘baby sister’ and how she’d react to him. Sam had been an only child for nearly 5 years and although he was very connected to Puck, my pill of an Old English Sheepdog and he got along with all dogs, it was somewhat disappointing to see he was pretty nonplussed by the Ninja. She was still a tad feral (she refused to accept any of the high value treats directly from my hand preferring that I toss them in her direction) but she was nonetheless, quite curious about me. When Jeanne (the poodle rescue coordinator) asked me if I was ready to take her home, I was floored. I thought we were just meeting again so she could see if we would be an appropriate new owner. We had been approaching the adoption in very small baby steps as is Jeanne’s rule.
I first met Elsa, formerly known as Love, who was one of a group of poodles seized from a Northern Colorado puppy mill operation after the owner died. She had been moved through the rescue network through the Greeley shelter. They had contacted Jeanne, the head of the Poodle Rescue group (and who also is a breeder of show quality standards) to see if she could place the seized dogs. Hope, Faith, Charity and Love were the females, and there were 2 males. I had hoped for another male, but Jeanne convinced me opposite sex dogs would probably be better in this case and Jeanne is not someone to argue with, so a female it was. The dogs were originally seized in early summer and each one was completely unsocialized, filthy and matted messes when rescued. Elsa was evaluated and Jeanne spent the next couple of months getting her ready to be adopted which included full health screening, spaying and slow gentle socialization. I met both her and Faith and decided Elsa (aka Love) was the girl I was interested in as she appeared to have the most potential. We met her at her foster home and while she was reluctant to be pet, she was curious enough to come fairly close to catch a whiff of me. We spent a long time with her and she pretty much ignored Sam after the initial meet, sniff and greet. She was wary, but I could see this girl had possibilities written all over her. She was tense and fearful but there was something about her that I just couldn’t dismiss. She received high marks from the Greeley Shelter’s evaluation and was considered to be rehabilitate-able, despite her feral-ness.
When I called Jeanne initially, she told me this process would take a while. She is extremely deliberate with all her dogs, be they rescues or the fabulous show dogs she breeds. These dogs needed patience and s-l-o-w, gentle socialization. Totally understandable but it felt like Christmas Eve for a 3 year old. I wasn’t sure I could wait! When at last the opportunity to meet with her arrived, I took it. And I called her every week. I’m sure she was sick of hearing from me but I just didn’t want this opportunity to escape. I had missed other dogs far less challenging and I wasn’t going to let this one go without putting up a
pestering valiant effort. Score one for me since I must have worn poor Jeanne down and surprisingly she agreed to let Elsa go home with us a year ago when I thought we were only being evaluated again. I was thrilled beyond description, Sam was slightly less enthusiastic but we all bundled into the car and made our way home. She handled the ride decently well and her leash manners were remarkably good. Now this is where the story takes a slight detour.
If you’ve been following our journey for a while, you’ll recall that two weeks to the day, Elsa started having Grand Mal seizures. Prior to that Indian Summer day, all was going according to plan. She was shy but we knew that would be the case. She didn’t know anything about being a dog. Didn’t even know how to take a treat from your hand. It took repeated attempts We packed her off for the emergency vet for treatment. She was fairly dehydrated due to the seizure activity and they kept her overnight. I didn’t know if the seizures could be stopped and whether she could stay with us. That episode was terrifying and we were not optimistic. But she had won my heart and I was committed to doing whatever I could to make this little girl succeed, physically and emotionally. We were sent home with anti-seizure medication which she has been on ever since. Our vet suggested we also put her on CBD oil and thus began my education about this highly promising supplemental treatment. Although we’ve had a few ups and downs and she has had some break-through seizures, she is doing well and her vet seems mostly pleased with her progress.
Yes, she has oodles of ‘quirks’ but we’re dealing with them. I know that with love, patience and constant health surveillance, this little pill of a dog who is as sweet as she is funny will continue to provide all who meet her with such joy and happiness. Now if we can just do something about her latest habit of barking for no apparent reason in the house and tormenting her brother. But that’s for another day. Today we celebrate!
Today an extra treat, ear scratch and loads of attention (hmm, that sounds a lot like every day) is in order for the “Gotcha” girl. Welcome to the Ranch, sweet girl. We love ya. [I’ll provide recipes for the quiche and coconut/peanut butter treats next week]
And while we’re celebrating, today is another special rescued girl’s Gotcha Day. Miss Ducky over at Heart My Dogs is also celebrating her own Gotcha Day. Don’t furget to give her digital treats and ear scratches. Both these special girls were lucky to find mums who adore them while they provide their families with constant laughs and love. Happy Gotcha Day, Ducky! Now let’s P.A.W.T.Y. with the girls! Happy weekend.
Live, love, bark! ❤︎