Today is Ducky’s Gotcha Day. It doesn’t seem possible that a year has passed since I saw my little girl on Greenville County Animal Care Services’ “Urgent” list; and after talking to Sam, drove up to the shelter and adopted her. I wasn’t sure how we were going to make it work, especially for Callie and Shadow. I only knew that I could not let Ducky spend another anxious moment in the shelter. Sam and I had lost a piece of our hearts to this little pup with the cutest ears we had ever seen. One way or another, we would find a way to help her fit in with our senior fur-babies.
In preparation for this special blog post, I spent an entire afternoon reading my first blog posts about Ducky. I recalled all the frustration, the guilt of having turned Callie’s and Shadow’s lives upside down, having to cancel a much-needed four-day weekend at my friend’s mountain retreat, having my patience pushed WAY beyond its limits; and I recalled the heart-wrenching decision to start looking for a new home for Ducky. Yet, what I kept reading between the lines was love. Love for a little dog who was, still is, and always will be part demon and part angel. Love for a little dog who needs a family to love her and be loved by her. Love for a little dog who needs a human (or two) willingly committed to making her feel safe and secure.
Ducky has come a L O N G way since the day we adopted her. She has for the most part overcome her separation anxiety, thanks largely to the staff at A Dog’s Day Out, Inc. (the doggie daycare facility we leave her with six days a week). They have given her love. They have allowed her to learn good doggie behavior from the other dogs. They have worked with her on her many anxieties. And, they have worked with her on her obedience training when I’ve asked for the help.
She still has moments when she’ll growl and snarl at Shadow, but when we tell her “no” or “enough” she usually stops. We have learned to accept the “sibling rivalry” for what it is and just manage it. We have learned to accept Ducky the way she is. The resource guarding is an issue we have been managing — or trying to at least — since day one. Ducky isn’t the only one who has an occasional case of “the mines” — Shadow is guilty of it too at times.
We may have rescued Ducky by adopting her from the shelter and ensuring — as best we could — that she would have a future; but she rescued us, and her older siblings, as well. She has made it impossible for us to be complacent; she has taken us from a “ho-hum”, couch-potato lifestyle and has made us a bit more active. She has made us laugh, made us cry, stressed us out, and entertained us with her antics. She has taken Callie’s and Shadow’s sedentary lifestyle and turned it upside down by persistently nudging them to play with her. They love their naps during the day, but they also love playing with their little sister at night. I can see at times that Shadow doesn’t know whether to “trust” Ducky or not, but she is doing a better job of avoiding “arguments” with her little sister. I really believe that both she and Callie have grown to love Ducky over the last several months, despite the sibling rivalry. I know for sure that Ducky loves both of them.
Yes, Ducky, you HAVE come a long way in these last 12 months. You have brought us much more joy and laughter than we could have hoped for that first month. You have found your forever home, your forever family, and you know now that you belong with us. We love you just the way you are, but we are also committed to helping you outgrow your anxieties and fears. We want you to be happy and carefree for the rest of your life.
Happy First-Year Gotcha Day, Ducky!! We Love You, Sweet Girl!!