Today is December 3, 2012, aka the second anniversary of my dog Sandy coming into my life, aka her “Gotcha Day”.
What is a “Gotcha Day”?
One of the shows on the HGTV cable channel that specialized in over-the-top backyard makeovers filmed an episode for a young American family where all of the kids had been adopted from Asian countries like Cambodia, Vietnam etc. The orphanages where the children had been living did not have birth records on file for any of the children so their actual birth dates were unknown. To address that, the parents instead celebrated the date on which each child had joined their family. They called that date the child’s “Gotcha Day”. At the time, my roommate and I both commented that it was a very cool and unique way of addressing the situation.
Some time later, I mentioned that I was planning on celebrating the date that I had adopted my dog, Sandy, which was December 3, 2010. My roommate first expressed surprise that I was planning on doing such a thing (it had not previously occurred to him to recognize the first anniversary of the date that he had adopted his dog named Max) but then he recalled the HGTV episode mentioned above and suggested that I declare the date her “Gotcha Day”. So, December 3rd is now Sandy’s “Gotcha Day”; the day she became part of my family and my life.
Two years later
Two years ago I stressed about whether adopting her was the right thing for either of us. I had no way of knowing if we would bond, if she would like (or even tolerate) me, what food she might prefer, if she would run away at the first opportunity, if she and Max would get along, if I was giving her enough attention, if I was giving her too much attention, if I failed to correctly discipline her, if……. There were a lot of ifs.
Driving home that evening with her sitting in the back seat of my truck I wondered about what I should do if she suddenly started freaking out, if she began to urinate on the seat, or get car sick and throw up, and then I braked suddenly because I had failed to notice the red traffic light. She fell forward onto the center console and we both looked at each other in total shock – I honestly think that we were both lost in our collective thoughts and I was as equally jolted by her near arrival in the front passenger seat as she was by her sudden forward motion. No surprise that she refused initially to exit the vehicle, likely figuring it was a safer location while she gathered and reshuffled her thoughts.
We got through that evening successfully and quickly bonded. Every now and then she will look at me and her facial expressions make it seem as if she’s updating some mental checklist to determine if I’m still making the grade as her pet parent, but I live for those moments because they remind me that loving her and protecting her and enjoying her in my life is a daily responsibility. Two years later, I’m constantly amazed by how easily we communicate with each other. I know her likes and dislikes, her morning ritual, her various quirks. I still get a kick out of how she bolts outside and howls melodiously whenever she hears an ambulance siren (even when she does it at 3am). I love how she comes inside, sits beside me for a quick hug, and then heads back outside again to continue playing or basking in the Arizona sunshine. Seeing her adorable under bite still melts my heart and makes me fall in love with her all over again. I honestly believe that God brought us together; the circumstances were so unusual. With her at my side I am indeed truly blessed.
And oh yeah, I celebrate her birthday too; it’s January 26 😉
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