My beautiful Katie turned 7 years old yesterday! I can not believe how time has flown by and she has gone from a scraggly, sickly pup to a gorgeous red-head in her senior years! Katie had been a source of pure joy in my life from just about day one! Truth be told, though, she is the one that chose me……not the other way around! I wasn’t looking to add another 4-legged baby to my family, but she literally gave me no choice in the matter, whatsoever! So, in honor of her seventh birthday, here is her story:
It began on a very stormy day about six and a half years ago. My best friend was driving on the country road he lives on heading in to town. We were about to be hit by the outer bands of a tropical storm. It was already raining pretty heavily and the winds were starting to kick up. As he pulled up to the stop sign to turn the corner, he noticed a dog just off the side of the road in the field – she was drenched and looked scared and lost! He went on in to town, but couldn’t stop thinking about that poor animal out in the storm. When he returned home, he looked for the dog and she was still there – a little closer to some brush, but still out in the weather that was getting really bad, really quickly! So, he stopped and called out to her. She came running and hopped right in the truck. He took her home to shelter her from the storm and planned to see if he could find where she belonged after the weather broke. After all, if one of his dogs got lost in a storm, he would hope someone would do the same to protect them. When he got her home, she was very timid and scared. It was obvious that she had been severely neglected and was starving! He fed her and cleaned her up and gave her a safe place to sleep for the night. Then, as planned, he attempted to find her owners. Given her condition, it was not surprising that his efforts didn’t result in finding her home. After some time, he simply assumed that she was dropped off there or wandered away from a bad situation. So, he set out to find her a new home……….and his first thought was ME! WHAT? REALLY? I already had an elderly cock-a-poo, my precious Puddles, who had been going through major health issues and needed a lot of attention and care. But, I had many friends and family who kept urging me to get a companion for Puddles and acclimate a new dog into my home while Puddles was still with me.
So, I was invited over to meet this little rag-a-muffin! She was very loving and sweet, but extremely timid and shy. I thought that she had a good disposition for my home because, like I said, Puddles was quite old, set in her ways, and calm, quiet. She didn’t need a rambunctious puppy annoying her and giving her any stress. Puddles went with me on the visit and they seemed to take to each other very well – it appeared to be an instant friendship! So, I played with her for a while and she seemed to be comfortable with me, too. I tried to come up with a name for her — she had red hair, so I wanted an Irish name and I wanted it to be a human name. So, I sat on the retaining wall and talked with her about names. I said things like, “how about Shannon – do you like that name?” and went through a list of names that I thought might fit her. She gave me no reaction or indication that she thought any of them were to her liking. Finally, I said, “you know what? I always thought that if I had a daughter, I would name her Katie Elizabeth – after Katherine Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor. What do you think of Katie Elizabeth? Would you like to be called Katie?” Well, she got all excited and jumped up on my lap and gave me a big kiss……………..so, Katie it was!!!! I then said, “well, Katie, would you like to come live with me and Puddles?” – she, again, got all excited and danced around and headed for my car!!!! And so the three of us – Puddles, Katie, and me – got in the car and went home.
This is Katie the night I met her – she is having a star-struck “I’m in love” moment with my friend’s Great Dane, Midas
Until Katie came into the family, Puddles was Midas’ one true love, then Katie stole his heart
But Puddles remained his first and bestest sweetie until the year they both passed away within a month or so of each other!
When we got to the house, Katie instantly took over! She ran through the house like she was on fire – she was wide open!!! My friend said she never made a sound at his house and was very well-behaved, but she wasn’t in mine more than a few minutes and she was barking at everything in sight and jumping on and off every piece of furniture and bed and rolling around on the carpet and furniture like a mad woman!!!! She did the same in the back yard!!!! It wasn’t an “anxious” type of reaction — it was an absolute “this is my new home and I’m just so happy I could explode” type of reaction! It was like she knew my friend’s house was a temporary safe haven, but this was home and she was making it her own as quickly as she could! Poor Puddles didn’t quite know what to make of it — she just sat there watching her act like a wild child on way too much caffeine and looking at me like “what is her problem?”!!! Once she settled down, all was fine, but man, those first few days of her getting settled in were exhausting!!! For all of us!!! hahahaha So, yes – she chose me and my home to be where she felt she belonged and chose her own name and that was IT!
I took Katie to see Dr. Cindy at All Animals to find out if there was anything I should be concerned with exposing the frail Puddles to. There was nothing in that sense to worry about, but Katie did have some serious medical problems. She was severely malnourished, had a non-contagious form of mange, and had an extremely serious urinary track infection, among other things. She was lucky to be alive! It took a lot of medication, treatments, and loving care to get her healthy! She was small, scraggly, and scruffy looking – her hair was short and wiry and she looked more like a terrier of some kind than anything else! Once we got rid of the mange and her health turned around, she started to grow…….and grow……..and grow……..very quickly! And her hair started to grow out and get soft and long and beautiful!!! It became obvious, then, that she was a Golden Retriever mix. I suspect that she is perhaps mixed with a Sheltie – along with the Golden features, she also has some strong Collie/Sheltie features and is much smaller than a normal Golden. We estimated her to be about 4 or 5 months old at the time.
Regardless of what breeds she has in her blood, she turned out to be an extremely beautiful girl – I call her “the pretty one” – Katie, Katie, Pretty Lady!! And she is just as sweet as she can be. She’s a social butterfly — she loves every person and dog she comes into contact with and they all love her!!!
Along with the medical attention, I also took her to Bon-Clyde for obedience classes and she has a framed diploma to prove that she completed her training and has graduated from school!!!
Katie and Puddles became the best of friends – they loved each other to pieces! As time went on, Katie became very protective and nurturing of Puddles. As Puddles became more and more confused and was not able to see or hear well, Katie would “herd” her to help her find her way. It was so precious to watch. There were times I would be in the den on the computer and Katie would come in all upset and whining at me to follow her into the living room where I would find Puddles on the couch acting like she wasn’t sure where she was or how to get down to the floor. She became the mother hen watching over her dear friend who was slipping away from us. She seemed “lost” and broken hearted when Puddles was no longer there to love and watch over.
So — here is Katie — the birthday girl — my beautiful red head — through the years:
During Katie’s first few days in her new home
Please let me in…….
Katie and her new best friend, Puddles – they became inseparable!
Katie starting to grow and her hair starting to fill in – at first, she was just about Puddles’ size, but she quickly passed her up in height and weight!
Katie and me with our hero – Dr. Cindy! She has cared for and saved the lives of all my girls at one time or another, but in particular with Puddles and Katie!
We LOVE Dr. Cindy!
Katie loves her back yard……taking in some shade!
The beautiful Miss Katie!
Katie loves her pool time!
And then, she loves to dry off in the sun!
Enjoying some birthday cake at Rae-Zor’s on her 6th birthday!
The birthday girl on her 6th birthday, last April!
Katie with her current sisters – Megan and Amy – enjoying a warm summer day!