Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Happy Birthday Toffee!

My baby girl is 7 today!!
What happened to the time?!

I still remember the day we went to picked her up, way back in August 2005...
The spontaneity of it made it that much more special.

We just got back from a visit with my aunt in Nova Scotia. She had 5 shelties at the time, and all they did was bark bark bark bark bark. I found it annoying, but not as much as my mom did. My mom said, and I quote "We are never, ever getting a sheltie." And what do we do the very next day? We got a sheltie.

We were looking for a dog/pup for me. Some people in the agility community were helping us out. My mom got two emails that day, one saying there was a sheltie/border collie mix, 2 years old at the Moncton SPCA and then another saying there was a ~5 month old sheltie in Oromocto. Of course, I, who has been wanting a sheltie for a very long time, and a puppy is just way better than a 2 year old said I wanted to see the sheltie. So off we went, got in the car, and it was the first time I was aloud to ride in the front seat (without my mom telling me to get out and get in the back...) and drove off to Oromocto.

I don't know what my mom was thinking "Let's just go and look at her." Baha! Like you could bring a dog/sheltie crazy 11 year old to see a sheltie and not bring her home! We played we her, threw balls for her and chased her around. We brought her outside, which she was terrified of the grass. Yes, we got her at a pet store. I know, I know, slap us now. We like to say we "rescued her", so people think we got her at a shelter. I mean, we did in fact rescue her, just in a different way. :) We're thinking she's from a puppy mill, but of course they didn't say where exactly she came from....

 She`d been cooped up in that case in the back of the store for who knows how long, her litter mate - 1 sister had already been homed and it was just little wee Toffee all by herself, with her floppy ears and her great big chocolate eyes staring back at us. How could you not fall in love at first sight? I sure did...

I started jumping up and down, up and down beggin mom to let me take her home, but again, silly mom didn't bring any money -who doesn't bring money when bringing an 11 year old to "look" at a puppy? So we put her back, got back in the car, drove all the way home (45 minute drive), got her purse, got back in the van and drove all the way back. When we got back in the store, and when I looked at her, it was like I'd known her all my life. I truly believe we were meant for each other.

I'd never been more proud in my entire life. I struted her around like I had just won the olympics. She was *so cute*. Gah, she still is :) Her big floppy ears really give her a funny look. I didn't care that they weren't the breed standard, I didn't want to tape her ears. They give her so much personality now, I can't imagine why anyone would want to do that anyway!

Mom and I couldn't decide on a name...I remember a few...Chicklet, Summer, Bouncer (<<?? hahaha). We were walking through the grocery store not long after getting her and I walked past those "Ah, Caramel" cake things. I thought "Caramel!" because of her color. Mom sort of liked that name and we turned it over in our minds for a little while. We were sitting on the front steps of our house later that day and we talked about how I'd probably end up calling her "Care" on the agility field because "Caramel" is a mouth full. So mom suggested "Toffee", which has the same idea (the color), but is easier to say. I liked it right away, and that's what we ended up naming her. Years later I decided on her Unofficial Kennel Name which is "Sweet as Toffee".

She really is a sweet little girl - full of love and enthusiasm.

Toffee and I have really been through it all. She came into my life when I needed her most. She helped me grow and helped me mature and helped me learn. She helped me learn a lot. More than any person could have taught me. Agility training may have been really easy for her to understand, but the whole "Dogs are good" thing...well, she didn't really grasp that. We had a really hard time with her around other dogs. She was so unbelievably reactive to everything around her, I could hardly take her out anywhere.

It was fustrating, especially all the trouble we went through with Snooker, my first dog who we had to rehome because she was so aggressive. (She's doing great now, living with a lady who spoils her to death and now she actually gets along with some dogs!!). But I was determined to help her. We went to a Brenda Aloff seminar in October of 2006. I'm not sure if all of the techniques that she showed me helped, but I think it was more of a matter of exposure. A group of us from Fredericton got together once a week through the winter and worked on just being able to "be" around the other dogs. The exercise I remember the most was the crate. Toffee still freaks out when someone - dogs especially, walks by her crate, but that's something I've come to live with.

Our frist Nationals, in 2007

I'm proud to say that now she can be off leash around other dogs and not mind them at all. She even started playing with dogs (very briefly). I can tell she's just so much more happy than she ever was when she was younger. And that makes me happy.

If Toffee has taught me anything, it's that you can do anything you set your mind to. We pulled through her issues and we rose to the top. How? Determination. That's one of the many values that she has implanted into my soul, and I am forever grateful for that.

Our latest Nationals, 2011

She is my heart dog.

Happy Birthday Toffikins!

1 comment:

  1. Wow your toffee story and my lilly story have so many parallels it is crazy! Happy birthday toffee!