Gotcha Day

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.

So when does the pawty start?

Live, love, bark! ❤︎

79 thoughts on “Gotcha Day

  1. Happy gotcha day sweet girl! Her story is so similar to Annie’s, from being part of a large group of neglected dogs from a puppy mill to not being socialized or have any understanding about what the good life could be for a dog. Every day is a blessing with our old girl and every day she shows more improvement. We are so glad you found your happy home!

  2. When you know that’s your dog, you just know. It has been so lovely to follow this journey with the Ninja and I love to read how she’s coming along. Oh and scratches for Sam so he doesn’t feel left out.

  3. Happy Gotcha Day, sweet Elsa <3 It seems you have found the best family ever and we are so glad that you did! We're also glad to read about your purrogress with CBD oil. My brother Bobo, who lives with my mother, has seizures too. He is treated with Homeopathy and he has fantastic results too 🙂 Pawkisses for a Happy Day to you all 🙂 <3

  4. Happy Gotcha Day to you both! Thank you for sharing the life story to date, and what I hope will be, with that new complimentary treatment, a grand life to come. Come what may, we are all in it for the love of our companions.
    Toodle-pip and purrs

  5. I know I’m a day late, but Happy Gotcha Day, Elsa! I’m so glad you have found a furever home with humans that will love you unconditionally! I hope you let Sam join in the celebrations.

  6. Happy Gotcha Elsa and Mom! This must be a popular time of the year for Gotchas, as I’ve seen a few other posts like this recently. Today’s the day (the 17th) I brought Ody (and his late brother Spilly) home 8 years ago. One of my co-workers rescued the mama and kittens from an abandoned apartment room they’d taken refuge in shortly after they were born (where the landlord was going to go to more desperate measures to rid the building of the unwanted “pests”), and I got first pick when they turned 7 weeks old…

  7. Great Gotcha Day story of ups and downs and love-conquers-all! Enjoy, sweetie! Looking forward to the recipes. ….so Mom can read them, swear she’s going to try them, and then….nothing. Ugh.

    Love and licks,

    1. Thank you, Cupcake. Moms really do try to make treats (I know I’m guilty of the best intentions thing too) but then life gets in the way. Look for the recipes later in the week then lie in the parking lot until she pinky promise-swears she’ll make ’em.

  8. Happy gotcha day sweet Elsa! You are adored all over the country! May your years to come be bright and beautiful! Licks from Teddy and Luna too.

  9. I can’t believe it has already been a year since Elsa moved in with you! She has done great with you even if there have been a few setbacks. Happy Gotcha Day, Sweetie!

    1. Thanks for the well wishes. As is often the case with life in general, we take the bad with the good and hope there’s far more of the good. She really has been a delightful blessing and I’m looking forward to tons more fun with this Ninja-girl.

  10. HaPpY Gotcha Day Elsa! We have loved following your progress this past year and are so glad you found a home at the ranch. Many more years of happiness to you and the furmily.

  11. From Charlie and hope Happy the best day of the rest of your life. We are both rescues. We love how well you are doing. May you and your family have the best day.

  12. Oh my where has the year gone!!!! Happy Happy Gotcha Day sweet Elsa! Your Mama is a true Angel and so are you! You have come so far and are so deeply loved, as you DESERVE to be! We love all of you and are happy you are enjoying your special day! BTW your Mama is sooo beautiful and we love your Daddy too! He could be brothers with our Daddy!! xoxo

  13. Happy Gotcha Day Elsa!! We love hearing your Gotcha story, and your journey! We are so very glad you found such a special family!!
    Jakey and Bilbo

  14. Happy gotcha day. I’ve gotten my dogs from loving homes that could no longer keep them but I’m sure rescue dogs are very rewarding

  15. How could anyone have the audacity to suggest you would need to be evaluated to determine worthiness to take home Love. I must have a talk with this Jeanie person!… 😉 Happy Gotcha Day to everyone at the ranch. P.s. To Sam: hey big boy – suck it up and let sissie shine today. There’s plenty of love to go around for all.

    1. Jeanne has her dogs at heart, first and foremost and wants them place in loving fur-ever homes. I love rescue groups that put dogs first. Too often, they just try to find them a spot without considering the prospective new family’s suitability. Not everyone should have a poodle. While smart as whips, they can have issues that not everyone finds enduring (I’ve yet to find them but then again what does that say about me?). We’re all pretty happy with this fur-mily and Sam continues to be patient and adorably kind with her. I watched them actually ‘play’ together earlier this week and it really warmed my heart. Now if only Elsa didn’t play quite so hard. Talk about competitive! LOL

  16. Aw, HAPPY GOTCHA DAY ELSA!!! I know you’ll have a super-fun and happy day because your Mom is as dedicated to you as I am to Miss Ducky – once known as “Ducky Doodle Demon Dog” – another black pup.

    Thanks for the shout-out and link-up Monika! As I said yesterday, our two rescue girls have come a LONG way since they became part of our families. My “Gotcha Day” post for Ducky will post early tomorrow morning.

  17. Happy 1st Gotcha day Elsa an Lady Monika (yur so purrty!) an thee hole furamill!What an amazin story. mee finks Buudha Kat made sure you, Lady Monika adopted Elsa so shee wood have a food life despite her quirkss an seizeyss! An Sam yur a good big Brofur to Elsa gurl…pawty on mee furendss…pawty on!!!!
    ***nose bumpsss*** Siddhartha Henry xxxx an {{{hugsss}}} LadyMum 🙂

  18. Such a wonderful and heart felt story. I tend to adopt rescue cats that others overlook. Consequently I get more health issues initially. Kudos to you for sticking with her through this all. I know how heartbreaking it can be and we won’t even talk about the expense! Healthy pets are all that counts.

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