March 5th is my darling furbaby's "Gotcha!" date. Because I don't know her exact birth date, I've decided I'm going to start just celebrating her Gotcha Day instead. I can't believe it's been two years already. Time has really flown by! I adopted Cher from the Humane Society of Missouri's Maryland Heights branch. I had been thinking about adopting my first dog as an "adult," and had been doing research about different adoption locations in Saint Louis. I was actively stalking a large number of dogs at various shelters, but when I saw Cher's photograph on the HSMO website, I knew I had to meet her. On a chilly day in March of 2013, I dragged one of my oldest friends, Becky, with me to Maryland Heights to meet this white and brown cutie. I have to admit I was mildly distracted by a Boston Terrier mix in the male dog kennels, but when I finally found Cher in her kennel, I knew she was the one. I also knew she would be a lot of work. She was jumpy, eager, and just a teensy wild-eyed. The only story the employee could offer is that she and her nearly identical brother had been reported as street dogs, and they had been living in the HSMO kennels for a few months with no one stepping forward to claim them.
I remember reading Cher's paperwork and thinking, "Okay, it says she's over a year old. This can't be that bad. My childhood dog was 11 months old when we adopted her." Boy was I surprised when she continued to exhibit what could only be classified as puppy habits for the next few months! I also remember coming home from work one day and it registering that she had clearly grown in size since I'd adopted her. After only having had her in my care for 4 months, she developed a gum infection. When I took her to the vet, he asked how old she was. I said the HSMO told me that she was at least a year old when I adopted her. He said, that in his opinion, she couldn't have been older than 6months old based on her teeth and demeanor. I felt quite a bit better! She had been so crazy when I first brought her home that I thought maybe I'd taken a little terror in and not a dog. What really had happened was that I brought home an almost-puppy. I like to joke that if I had known I was getting a puppy, I may have just went ahead and adopted a puppy because I lived through the minor hell that it is raising one on your own.
But! Things have gotten so much better over time. She's learning her manners really well these days, and although she has little mood swings just like her momma, she's a darling. I use her for a pillow more often than I might like to admit. We play rather violent versions of fetch in my tiny apartment. We "talk" to each other - she makes a lot of weird vocalizations, especially while she's yawning. And overall, she makes being home feel like home.
She also is a great source of entertainment:
Despite all her crazy antics, I love her and can't imagine life without her now.
Happy Gotcha Day, Cher!